I’m marking each of the singles out of 10. Marks will vary according to my mood and circumstances as well as by the quality of the record. No consistency is intended and none should be assumed – take them as seriously as you like. If you’re registered and logged in, you can give your OWN mark out of 10 to each record, and the aggregate shows up on the FT Readers Top 100 view.

Baby jumps:   1955   1960   1965   1970   1975   1980   1985   1990   1995


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  1. 76
    Alan not logged in on 18 Jan 2014 #

    http://freakytrigger.co.uk/populist/9/ looks like it shows (at the extremes at least) that the less a song a liked, the fewer the votes, and the more it’s liked the more votes it picks up. which might counter (though not neutralise) some mean-regression

  2. 77
    Tom on 18 Jan 2014 #

    A fourth theory – we are not attracting enough new commenters for whom the 90s was “their” era to counteract the consensus effect seen in theory 3. And at the other end, we have commenters sticking around because of the writing and the company – excellent and flattering reasons! – not because of any particular sympathy with the material being discussed.

  3. 78
    Tom on 18 Jan 2014 #

    Or – more optimistically! – we are getting new 90s lovers but they can’t be bothered to work their way back through 700 entries to mark down 60s and 70s hits they don’t care about.

  4. 79
    Ed on 18 Jan 2014 #

    A sixth theory: there are quite a few new-ish arrivals (eg me) who don’t understand how it works.

  5. 80
    Chelovek na lune on 18 Jan 2014 #

    If you put two and two together…

    I find theory 3 most persuasive, in general. Although I suspect as we get further on, with a sharp increase in the quantity of no 1s per year each to come (and the concomitant increase in the proportion of no 1s that were essentially “fanbase buys” that didn’t really cross over to a wider audience), there will be an even greater proportion of low scoring votes yet to come…

  6. 81
    mapman132 on 18 Jan 2014 #

    Ironically, despite my starting this latest conversation, I’ve generally been too lazy to officially register my own vote, even though I’ve commented on every entry since the beginning of 1995. So my own behavior supports the theories of #78-79. FWIW, I consider myself an 80s-90s-10s (but not 00s) guy when it comes to music.

  7. 82
    enitharmon on 19 Jan 2014 #

    How about we consider yet another theory, that the hypothesis that Tom put forward early on that music gets better with each succeeding decade has been demonstrated not to hold true? Not necessarily a bit of sixties jingoism I think; much of what the sixties threw up was very different from what came before but by the nineties the product was very much rooted in that earlier decade. Some may argue, and no doubt will, that developments in recording technologies constitute an “improvement” artistically, but I would argue that that was separate from artistic radicalism. 90s R&B for all its technological gimmickry was still the R&B of the Stax studios and house music, though it had a whole battery of computer technology to play with by the 90s, what still essentially the same thing that John Lennon and George Martin produced with buttons and string, and probably goes back even further to the decidedly un-pop work of Messiaen and Varèse.

  8. 83
    iconoclast on 19 Jan 2014 #

    #82: yes, much as I enjoy reading Tom’s writing, I have to disagree with him there. Of course it depends what you mean by “better” – better made/recorded/produced, perhaps, but I’d have great difficulty in accepting “better” in any artistic or aesthetic sense.

  9. 84
    Andrew Farrell on 19 Jan 2014 #

    How about better beats?

  10. 85
    Chelovek na lune on 19 Jan 2014 #

    Just a brief note for admin: time to add a “baby jump” anchor for 1995, too, up at the top, please!

    Also, the makeover has made the charts based on reader votes….very confused….

  11. 86
    enitharmon on 19 Jan 2014 #

    @34 What about “better beats”? In what way better?

  12. 87
    Rory on 19 Jan 2014 #

    The lovely FT Reader Top 100 and Bottom 100 are broken at the moment with the new design. Or to put it another way: “I Feel Love” suddenly ousted from the top by “Stand and Deliver”! “There’s No One Quite Like Grandma” beaten to the very bottom by “Say You’ll Be There!”

  13. 88
    admin on 19 Jan 2014 #

    is fix. a lot of fixes are coming on line bit by bit…

  14. 89
    Rory on 19 Jan 2014 #

    By golly, that was quick. Nice work.

    Now that we have this new design that puts a prominent grey square next to our comments, I’m wondering how to replace it with a custom icon as many of you have done. Something in our WP profile? I can’t tell where.

  15. 90
    admin on 19 Jan 2014 #

    Those images are ‘gravatar’s that you can setup at http://gravatar.com

    As not many people set them up, we’ll try to hide the block when you don’t have one.

  16. 91
    Steve Mannion on 19 Jan 2014 #

    I added the grey circle (tho will look square on older browsers) thinking it might subtly encourage more avatar usage ha. I don’t mind if we have them or don’t personally although they can be quite useful for poster ID and I am always happy to see little DJ Alan and Sukrat’s Joan of Arc party face).

  17. 92


  18. 93
    admin on 20 Jan 2014 #

    we should add a link to gravatar.com in the ‘add your comment’ bit when people are logged in (and show the current one too obv)

  19. 94
    Billy Hicks on 20 Jan 2014 #

    Regarding the low rating of the most of the 1990s hits, this for me has always been fairly worrying as it feels like the closer we get to my musical golden era the further away most regular commentators are getting from theirs. While I can see Tom’s ratings remaining fair, the Popular in a few years time when every song is getting a 1 or 2 at most from most readers doesn’t sound very pleasant to me.

    Looking at the last couple of years I can see two easy 10s for me in the year 2012, and some strong 8 or 9s at least in 2013. But I fear, for the most part, I might be alone there.

  20. 95
    mapman132 on 20 Jan 2014 #

    #94 If it makes you feel better, I’m 41 years old and think some of the best music ever to grace the top of the UK or US charts has been in the past three years. There will probably be a 10 from me in 2012, and would be a strong 10 in 2011 except that I keep forgetting it only peaked at UK#2 (its close cousin was a UK#1 and will probably get a 9 from me).

    And I don’t think I’m alone as said songs may not be loved by everyone, but I have yet to meet anyone who actively hates them….of course, these may not correspond to your 9’s and 10’s!

  21. 96
    Andrew Farrell on 20 Jan 2014 #

    Better for rapping over, for a start.

  22. 97
    Ed on 20 Jan 2014 #

    Enitharmon @82: I don’t think “music gets better with each succeeding decade” is exactly what the progressive view of pop means.

    It’s more that music changes with each succeeding decade (year, month…), and the changes are a big part of what makes pop exciting and fun.

    So The Beatles were fantastic in the 60s, but sounding like The Beatles in the 80s or 90s wasn’t. Were M.A.R.R.S. and The Prodigy better than The Beatles and the Stones? I am not sure. But I think it’s possible to endorse progress as a state of continual change without necessarily seeing it as a process of continual improvement.

  23. 98
    Tom on 20 Jan 2014 #

    Also the ‘progressive’ view Ed outlines means that the vocabulary of pop is continuously expanding. This is one important part of the discussion we started on the “Wannabe” thread. The progressive view says “pop is constantly changing, hurrah”, but implicit in that turns out to be a sense that pop has to shed its skin and move on – its previous versions become obsolete (i.e. pop works according to the same logic as technology, not surprising since technology changes are a massive, massive part of pop change). The ‘post-progressive’ view – also enabled by technological change – says hold on, WHY does this old stuff have to become obsolete? Why can’t it all still be in play?

  24. 99
    Tom on 20 Jan 2014 #

    (That said the initial comment that Rosie brings up from time to time was part hype, part hope and part trolling. I doubt, at this late stage, that any year is going to top ’79 in terms of the average Number One scores. That being the metric for “better” I implicitly set with the structure of this project, I need to honour my own judgements.)

  25. 100
    Ed on 20 Jan 2014 #

    I can see that the post-progressive view is one possible approach to pop.

    I would feel happier about it, though, if the new music that is apparently consistent with that view didn’t sound like the sort of thing I would crawl over broken glass to avoid: http://www.tinymixtapes.com/features/the-trouble-with-contemporary-music-criticism?page=show

    (HT to Tom for that post, which he discusses at Blue Lines Revisited.)

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