500

3
Dec 08

500: 1-16

FT25 comments • 1,248 views

Introduction

Several years ago I did a thing on Freaky Trigger called “Thousand“: this involved playing through the 1,000 MP3s I’d collected at that point – a very small number it seems now – and writing about them in real time: one play per song, one draft, hit publish, that’s it. It was a notebook more than anything else and not especially worth revisiting – since my blog didn’t even have comments at the time I don’t know what I was trying to achieve!

I liked the idea of that kind of on-the-hoof writing though and have looked for another opportunity to do it with a little more point and structure. The Pitchfork 500 seems like a good one: it’s a book laying out a history of pop from 1977 by way of 500 songs chosen by the editors. They’ve made every effort to make the book more than just a list – it’s implicitly also a story (of how music developed) and a statement (of what matters in music) and a musical experience (it’s sequenced as a playlist). It’s ambitious and thoughtful and if it’s wrong sometimes it deserves the honour of people working out why it is. So I think you should buy it. I also wrote a dozen of its 500 entries, so I’m not completely neutral here, but I have no inside knowledge about how the book was put together.

This series of posts – which will be intermittent, as I don’t often have uninterrupted two-hour writing/listening chunks – is simply me listening to the 500 songs, in order, and jotting down what I think. I’m also reading along, and sometimes that’s informing the notes I make. Where I’ve nothing to say about a song I will indicate that I’m skipping it.

Hope you enjoy it.

»
More

10
Dec 08

500: 17-31

FT16 comments • 615 views

A quick recap!

This is a series of posts “liveblogging” the Pitchfork 500, reflecting the book’s dual purpose as criticism and playlist. The ground rule is that I do the writing in real time as I listen to the music: no edits after that (except of typos). Posts in this series are intermittent, because I don’t have a lot of uninterrupted writing time.

Disclaimer: I write regularly for Pitchfork and contributed a dozen pieces to the book. I have no insider knowledge of how tracks were selected, had no say in the selection, and any commentary on the book’s purpose etc. is purely speculative.

In this episode: the book shifts focus to funk and disco, and then looks at what British punk’s originators did next…

»
More

18
Dec 08

500: 32-46

FT4 comments • 636 views

A quick recap!

This is a series of posts “liveblogging” the Pitchfork 500, reflecting the book’s dual purpose as criticism and playlist. The ground rule is that I do the writing in real time as I listen to the music: no edits after that (except of typos). Posts in this series are intermittent, because I don’t have a lot of uninterrupted writing time.

Disclaimer: I write regularly for Pitchfork and contributed a dozen pieces to the book. I have no insider knowledge of how tracks were selected, had no say in the selection, and any commentary on the book’s purpose etc. is purely speculative.

In this episode: Reggae gets its first look in, and the awkward squad of post-punk gives way to mutant disco…

»
More

14
Jan 09

500: 47-63

FT12 comments • 745 views

A quick recap!

This is a series of posts “liveblogging” the Pitchfork 500, reflecting the book’s dual purpose as criticism and playlist. The ground rule is that I do the writing in real time as I listen to the music: no edits after that (except of typos). Posts in this series are intermittent, because I don’t have a lot of uninterrupted writing time.

Disclaimer: I write regularly for Pitchfork and contributed a dozen pieces to the book. I have no insider knowledge of how tracks were selected, had no say in the selection, and any commentary on the book’s purpose etc. is purely speculative.

In this episode: The book looks at what the world of rock was up to when punk hit, and splits the difference with a trip into New Wave.

»
More

26
Jan 09

500: 64-77

FT6 comments • 472 views

A quick recap!

This is a series of posts “liveblogging” the Pitchfork 500, reflecting the book’s dual purpose as criticism and playlist. The ground rule is that I do the writing in real time as I listen to the music: no edits after that (except of typos). Posts in this series are intermittent, because I don’t have a lot of uninterrupted writing time.

Disclaimer: I write regularly for Pitchfork and contributed a dozen pieces to the book. I have no insider knowledge of how tracks were selected, had no say in the selection, and any commentary on the book’s purpose etc. is purely speculative.

In this episode: Hip hop! Hip hop! Hip hop! Plus a smattering of post-punk and post-disco, and a listening session is rudely curtailed.

»
More

11
Feb 09

500: 78-97

FT9 comments • 692 views

dexys A quick recap!

This is a series of posts “liveblogging” the Pitchfork 500, reflecting the book’s dual purpose as criticism and playlist. The ground rule is that I do the writing in real time as I listen to the music: no edits after that (except of typos). Posts in this series are intermittent, because I don’t have a lot of uninterrupted writing time.

Disclaimer: I write regularly for Pitchfork and contributed a dozen pieces to the book. I have no insider knowledge of how tracks were selected, had no say in the selection, and any commentary on the book’s purpose etc. is purely speculative.

In this episode: A series of post-punk splinters, conceptual artists make good, and the birth of New Pop

»
More