It's listicle season, again. Music, movies, books, what-have-you. Do you bother with any of it? If so, which ones?
For me, the older I get, the fewer I attend to. At the end of December, I'll head over to Metacritic to see which games made the year's top ten. By April (June, at the latest) those should all be affordable, and I'll nab the ones that looked most interesting.
There are book lists I'll glance at, just to see if there isn't the occasional oddball the prestige outfits missed (or ignored). I haven't seen anyone put Aleksandar Hemon's The Story Of My Lives on any such list, so here's me, whacking the dinner-bell on its behalf.
For some reason, I've gone cold on movie lists. I really could not be arsed, and I'm damned if I can put my finger on precisely why that is. I've cooled toward movies, too (obviously). It's not that they're dead to me — I recently enjoyed The Way Way Back, and consider Gravity to be this year's Mandatory-Pay-The-Bucks-And-Sit-In-The-Theatre-You-Won't-Regret-It movie. I could mull over the unique insights and minor quibbles I had with both movies, but neither of these experiences caught me with the emotional urgency of, say, the fourth season of Friday Night Lights.
That's not to sing the standard chorus of “Television Is Better Than The Movies” (although you'll get little argument from me on that score). But I can remember a week some sixteen years ago when my wife and I spent five hours in a hospital emergency room with our infant daughter possessed by a raging fever that could not be tamed, and when we finally returned home with a correct diagnosis and the appropriate antibiotics, I could not fall asleep, so I went out to see L.A. Confidential and was just SO BLOODY GRATEFUL to experience a flickering projection that could pull me out of all that and so immersively into its own weirdo, whacked-out world for a solid two-hour stretch, that OF COURSE I had to write about it. What other response was there?
But movies aren't really that, anymore. Even Gravity, which gets so close to that, serves as a glum reminder of just how much closer Cuaron got to that with Children Of Men (my God, what a devastating movie — still. Here's a list-topper for you: Children Of Men was the movie of the last ten years, and remains as yet unchallenged for the current decade. Discuss).
And then there's Music — holy shit and holy cow, what list could possibly do any justice to the pre-Cambrian explosion of little scenes, little audiences, little bands and the sub-sub-sub-sub-genres that have proliferated like so many digital spermatozoa and ovum? No, we bedraggled listeners have to stake a particular claim on our peculiar aural fixations, and if you just happen to have a list that might speak to said fixations — well, okay, I'll take a look.
Which brings me to PopMatters' 10 Best Progressive (and Metal) Albums, here.
To be continued.