Is this your CD collection?: they stole our idea!! Well, ILM’s long-running “12 CD” trope, anyway, which here gets a Guardian style going-over. It’s quite a funny article but leaves a bad taste in the mouth – I bet Stuart Jeffries’ collection (like yours and mine) is full of a right load of rubbish. The general assumptions you can see lurking behind the article – that pop music shouldn’t be this comfortable thing you put on at dinner parties – need thinking about too.

And on cue, I get an e-mail from Maura discussing this, and commenting in part that the Top 10 irritates her because most of the critics seemed not to leave their “comfort zone”. This is probably true – I certainly didn’t, as my ballot will tell you at a glance if you bother looking for it. But why do we have this idea that “comfort” is such a bad thing for music to aim at? Part of it is maybe that in the times of greatest stress or anguish music can’t actually do much at all – Chuck Eddy, in his comments here on the state of music after 11 September, makes the very sensible point that the vast majority of people’s tastes just got back to normal in a few weeks. Music is a sticking plaster or an aspirin, nothing stronger than that – so maybe we push away pop’s comforting aspects because they inadvertently remind us how small it is.