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January 1, 2006


DJ Rupture lists 5 problems with album of the year lists.

#2 My second problem with top 10 lists is that when music is hottest and most interesting it isn't concerned with being "the best". "The best" is always retrospective. Good music is always ahead. If you want taxidermy & placards explaining it all, go to a natural history museum.

The Philadelphia Inquirer is less than impressed with the new Strokes album, First Impressions of Earth (out January 3rd).

But First Impressions is not the album that's likely to send record buyers back to stores. On the surface, it would seem to be a commercially viable proposition. But its audience-expanding efforts result in a loss of artistic focus.

2005 best book lists:

NewsOK (graphic novels)
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (books)

The Observer spends a couple of days with the Arctic Monkeys.

The Norfolk Eastern Daily Press lists bands to watch in 2006.

Authors list their favorite book of the year.

Bret Easton Ellis, "Lunar Park."

My favorite book of the year - no surprise - was Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking" (Knopf). It's her most accessible, direct and emotional writing, and I read it in one sitting, shaking. On the other side: Dennis Cooper's "The Sluts" (Carroll & Graf) was hugely satisfying and as addictive as anything he's ever written. It's not only a deeply compelling murder mystery but also a grand summation of all of Cooper's great themes. I also liked Jonathan Safran Foer's 9/11 novel, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (Houghton Mifflin). He pulled off something incredibly difficult with a grace and ease that amazed and moved me.

Edward Champion examines the bias against science fiction by lovers of literary fiction.

Sure, the literary person will pick up Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and go nuts over it because it is categorized in the fiction section or in some sense crowned by the tastemakers as “literary,” little realizing that Philip K. Dick explored similar ethical questions about cloning in his 1968 novella, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (later turned into Blade Runner), as did Kate Wilhelm in Where Late the Sweet Birds Sing and David Brin in Glory Season.

Today's 2005 best music lists:

Aeki Tuesday (albums)
Detroit Free Press (albums)
Fast 'n' Bulbous (albums)
I Love Music (top albums of 2006 heard in 2005)
Indie for Dummies (composite album list, via Chromewaves)
KEXP (listeners' albums)
Nic Harcourt on NPR (songs)
The Oregonian (albums)
Salon (best song downloads)
Take Your Medicine (albums)
ufck (albums)
Voltage (albums)
UK album sales


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