Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's A Wonderful Lie

In one of the most spectacularly pathetic pieces of music journalism I've seen in a long time, which given the average quality of the field is quite hard to achieve, London-based music blog Gigwise (a meaningless collection of unrevealing articles and reviews about artists everyone already know inside out) have issued their list of the top 50 Worst Albums of The Decade, topped by the UK's favourite media targets Katie Price and Peter Andre.

Of course almost all "best ever in the World" style lists compiled by any mainstream media are nonsense, usually headed by whoever is currently getting the most public attention at the time, but when you're talking about the best, having the most popular at the top, although perhaps not entirely accurate, is reasonably easy to justify on the basis that their popularity must be due in no small part to their talent.

So by the same token, it stands to reason that in the majority of cases, the least popular bands must be making the worst music? Apparently not the case as Gigwise go ahead and name 50 high-profile and wildly popular artists in their list, including Nickelback, Kaiser Chiefs, Oasis, James Blunt, Hard-Fi, Queen and Razorlight.

While some might readily agree that any or all of the artists on the list are not worth the adulation they normally receive, or that the specifically named records are not their respective best works, it seems ridiculous to claim that all 50 are worse albums than the hordes of no-talent nobodies and copycats who have tried and failed to "make it" several times over.

This list is a carefully constructed ploy to achieve two specific but closely related aims. Firstly, to garner attention by claiming genuinely widely-liked records and artists are misconceived and in reality poor; trying to suggest they are a worthy musical voice and know better than everyone else. And secondly to incite the kind of petty bickering regularly present in the comments section of most blog-based websites. To make statements so contentious that readers can't resist commenting, unwittingly clocking up the hit counter.

Right up there with estate agents advertising properties they've already sold, chain stores putting products they never had in stock in the first place in their flagship sale sections, and magazines putting the most talked-about faces on their front covers, this was a deliberate attempt to haul in the punters, and flies in the face of true journalism with such offensive disregard that it makes Rupert Murdoch look like 'X-Files' daredevil truth-finder Fox Mulder.

This would normally be where Gigwise are told they should be ashamed of themselves, but it's their total lack of shame that allowed the publication of this farce to begin with.