Love them or loathe them, as we approach the end of the 00s Pitchfork are the driving force behind the North American Indie scene, and a lot more besides that. They can make bands, they can break bands, and, for a lot of people, they are the ultimate arbiters of what is good music and what is not. A ‘Best New Music’ stamp can send sales of a previously unheard of artists flying through the roof, whereas an indifferent or derisive review can leave them languishing in that obscurity for the rest of their careers.
Such cultural influence means they have a lot of haters, people don’t always appreciate the slightly self satisfied, pretentious writing style (orthat Kid A review) or the slightly blinkered range of music the site chooses to cover, but I wouldn’t consider myself amongst them. They’re not flawless, granted, but they’re always amongst the first sites I’ll check out of a morning and I usually find myself enjoying the album’s they lavish praise upon. They’re not the last word in music journalism, but they’re definitely the first stop if you want to know what’s ‘happening’.
The ‘noughties’ aren’t all about Pitchfork though, even Pitchfork knows that. With that in mind they’ve set about trying to deconstruct and assign some meaning to this most eventful of decades that we’re still hurtling out of.
One of the ways they’ve decided to do this is by making lists, lots of lists. Currently they’re trying to reduce 10 years of pop music to 500 tracks; it’s not an easy task, and it does seem a little pointless when you first think about it, but browsing through the list you release that it’s probably a worthwhile endeavor if only for the unabated nostalgia the list brings your way, not to mention how old you’ll feel, no matter how old you are, when you realise that Madonna’s brief pre-leotard, pre-Ritchie, pre-Earth Mother adopting, cowgirl Music period was nearly 10 years ago. Ten!
So far it’s a pretty strong list, there’s a criminal lack of metal or any other music of a hard variety, but if you know Pitchfork you probably knew that would be the case anyway; despite this there is a strong variety of music represented in nearly every other genre, including a very strong pop contingent, much to the horror of their hipper readers I imagine, but it is good pop music. It could just be a ploy to convince everyone that they’re not really that pretentious or art-school, but regardless, it’s good to see a few Milkshakes, Toxics and Irreplaceables littered amongst the more willfully obscure indie curios.
If you’re a user of that great inventions of the 00s, Spotify, then you can peruse (most) of the list so far by adding this playlist dedicatedly compiled by bph from Rllmuk forums. It makes for great listening and you can get all bleary eyed as the sounds and memories of past 10 years caress your ears – or maybe you’ll just end up commenting how bananas this shit is, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Spotify Link: Pitchfork Top 500 tracks of the 00s
MP3: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – Daft Punk
MP3: Trill – Clipse
MP3: We Are Your Friends (Reprise) – Justice vs Simian (A Cross The Universe version)