Thursday, September 9, 2010

Best of Pitchfork's Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 20-1

There isn’t too much to say about the tracks that made the top 20 in Pitchfork’s Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s. It is a solid group of songs and I enjoy every one of them. There were some very cool surprises among the bunch like Belle & Sebastian’s sad-bastard-music classic “The State I Am In”. I also like the choice of My Bloody Valentine’s “Only Shadow” which certainly influenced countless future shoegaze bands. However, there were some selections seemed very suspect. The fact that Nirvana’s seminal 90s benchmark “Smells like Teen Spirit” didn’t crack the top 10 seemed like it was simply Pitchfork sticking their noses out at all the similar lists that had the track at #1.

Nirvana only made it to #13 but their iconic music video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” gives the impression that it should have been higher.

Neutral Milk Hotel makes the cut with their unique take on folk in “Holland, 1945”. The 1999 album, In the Aeroplane over the Sea, from which it comes could make a case for being best album of the 1990s. Below is a very powerful and very rare live performance from notorious recluse Jeff Mangum that shows the passion which keeps people talking about Neutral Milk Hotel despite their limited catalog.

In spite of some of these excellent choice, I have to vehemently disagree with "Gold Soundz" being chosen as the top tack of the 1990s. It’s not as much of a touchstone as a lot of the other songs that made the list and, hell, it’s not even the best Pavement song. “Cut Your Hair” would have made a lot more sense in my opinion yet strangely wasn't even mentioned is the 'also see' tracks. So what would my pick for #1 be you ask? It would have to be Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android”. I’m not going to rant and rave about it because I think the videos below speak for themselves. There is the groundbreaking animated video, a mind-blowing 1997 appearance on Jools Holland, and a newer version from their tour in support of In Rainbows.

Here is a very cool video of Pavement in 1994 performing "Gold Soundz" which was chosen as Pitchfork’s #1 track of the 1990s. It comes from the album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain whose album cover is the main image for this article. Again, it is a great album and a great song but I just don't see it as the definitive song of the 1990s.

The entire top 20 can be heard with this player:

No comments:

Post a Comment