August 22nd, 2012 / 10:13 pm

Did I call it or did I call it? Pitchfork’s People’s List

The People Hath Spokeneth:

I predicted:

5. Dismemberment Plan: Emergency & I
4. Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Under the Sea
3. Radiohead: OK Computer
2. Arcade Fire: Funeral
1. Radiohead: Kid A

Turns out I was way off regarding Emergency & I, which ranked only 103rd. But otherwise—not too bad, eh? (Shoulda just gone with more Radiohead!)

Joan of Arc, unsurprisingly, did not crack the Top 200. Also unsurprising, Kanye West is the only black musician in the Top 20! (Outkast adds yet more “diversity” to the list at #35.) And wouldn’t you just love to see a breakdown by color/sex? (Someone get on that!)

In total, 27,981 people voted. Why, that’s almost the number of hipsters who live in Logan Square, Chicago!


Update 1: Can’t believe I missed this nugget:

If anyone ever feels like getting me a present, I want that top graphic on a T-shirt. (DIY on organic cotton, natch, not sweatshop.)

Update 2: Here’s some of that analysis I wanted: “Pitchfork’s ‘People’s List’ Is a Scandal” (Slate):

I’m referring to the list’s gender breakdown. If I’m not mistaken, there are just 23 records by women artists in the top 200, and only two in the top 50. And that’s a generous count, making room for co-ed acts like The xx, Beach House, and Portishead. Again, we can look to the self-selecting voting base. According to Pitchfork’s own stats, 88% of the poll respondents were men. “The Dudes’ List” might have been a more accurate title.

More and more.

Update 3: Confidential to Anatolia: no, I didn’t submit a ballot. The more I looked at the thing, it seemed to me mainly a demographic-identifying scheme. (Not that the whole internet hasn’t become that, anyway.)

Update 4: Bitch Magazine‘s opinion on the list.

Tags: , , , , ,


  1. Jimmy Chen

      no surprises

  2. A D Jameson


  3. mimi

      strawberry jam #44

  4. A D Jameson

      I had a feeling when I heard it that it was the 44th best album of the past 16 years.

  5. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Watch out, Spin magazine! There’s a new music readership in town that’s encouraging the homogenization of music!

  6. A D Jameson

      Pitchfork eclipsed Spin long ago, I bet.

  7. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Yeah that’s a good point. I feel so out of touch!

  8. A D Jameson

      Let’s you and I start a music review site and overtake them!

  9. Dan Watson

      Yo La Tengo #57… Sleater-Kinney, *nowhere*… that’s not a good sign.

  10. A D Jameson

      Yeah. I have a friend who likes to argue that Sleater-Kinney is the Greatest Band of All Time.

  11. Scott Riley Irvine

      What a pitiful position for The Glow, Pt. 2. And to think I expected the Pitchfork kids to raise that one a lil bit higher.

  12. j orloski

      27,981 people voted. How much lower then expected do you think this was?

  13. j orloski

      did you expect crazy results from a “taste maker” website’s users’ top list?

  14. P P Bloxham

      ok computer, though.

  15. mimi

      LOL “DIY on organic cotton, natch”

  16. A D Jameson

      I was surprised by the number. I figured it’d be a hundred million, or some other huge figure. Props to P4k for transparency, I guess.

      I wonder, though, if that counts actual submitted ballots, or just people who registered to do so? I did the latter (I wanted to see what was going on), but not the former (I couldn’t care less).

  17. A D Jameson

      We should be grateful it’s even there.

  18. Lincoln Michel

      I’m actually almost shocked at the white bread 90s indie tastes here if only because it seemed like Pitchfork got slightly embarrassed by itself a few years back or so and made a conscious effort to hire writers to review hip-hop, metal and some other genres.

      Completely bonkers that this list, during a time of hip-hop air wave dominance and musical creativity, could only muster one lousy Kanye in the top 25.

  19. douglas riggs

      i think people like to overemphasize the ‘power’ of Pitchfork and this submission figure seems about right to me. Visit enough of the country and you realize most people have no idea who the fuck Neutral Milk Hotel is let alone the Dismemberment Plan.

      Pitchfork may have a disproportionate amount of sway in a very slim demographic, but that is that slim demographic’s problem, not the other 99.whatever% of the population’s.

  20. A D Jameson

      What I find odd about the number of responses is that it pales in comparison to other known P4k numbers. See this article, for instance: the site was attracting 230,000 visitors/day in 2007. I imagine it’s more now? Also, the 2007 festival sold 48,000 tickets—and it’s only grown since then. (And attracted more and more corporate sponsorship.)

      What I find so awful about this People’s List thing is it’s hubris (which I think obvious). I wouldn’t really mind if they’d called it “The Hipster’s List” or “The What Some of Our White Male Readers Like List.” But they have to pretend, like they always do, that their personal taste is universal, and therefore justified.

  21. Golgonooza

      Still snoozin

  22. reynard

      this is exactly why i don’t read pitchfork, only white people could invent a band as boring as radiohead

  23. O

      Congratulations. You have shitty taste in music, just like 28000 other people.

  24. Trey

      keep wondering what will happen if I do this, have had several beers, here we go: can htmlgiant recommend me some music?

  25. Trey

      suddenly feel excited about the prospect of listening to 3 or many more new bands and liking them, about memorizing lyrics to 10+ new songs

  26. A D Jameson
  27. A D Jameson

      I liked The Bends and OK Computer when they came out, and still do (especially The Bends). After that, though, they really started to lose me, and I haven’t heard anything I’ve liked by them in ten years now. Because I, too, find it boring.

      Johnny Greenwood’s solo stuff, like the There Will Be Blood soundtrack, that I like better.

  28. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Trey, we should do a room some time. Best way to share new tunes.

  29. Trey

      totes, there are a few bands I’m passionate about that I don’t think many people listen to

  30. Frank Tas, the Raptor
  31. A D Jameson

      I was secretly hoping the results would be totally different than the P4k party line, yes.

      One irritating thing about this poll was how it was rigged to make it easiest to vote for albums P4k had already chosen in their year-end list.

      The whole thing is so obviously about justifying the taste of the entity known as P4k—hence all the ridiculous “People’s List” rhetoric.

  32. William Owen

      I’ve been listening to a lot of ARMS, Rosetta, The Paper Chase lately. Looking back at some Unrest as well, that’s been good.

  33. Trey

      thanks everyone (and if anyone in the future decides to recommend, thanks to you too)! going to try to give everything mentioned here a listen tonight

  34. Matt_Margo


  35. reynard

      ok computer is ok

  36. A D Jameson

      I like it, but hardly think it’s the be all and end all of music. Or the greatest album of the past 15 years. I really don’t get why so many people consider it a sacred text.

  37. Trey

      I listened to all of Moriarty’s 2007 album today (“Gee whiz..” something something). some of the songs I really liked and some I got kind of bored listening to. I will probably listen to Cottonflower a lot of times in the next few days though. good recommendation.

      I listened to Annie Gosfield’s Lightning Slingers and Dead Ringers today as well. this I thought was quite good if maybe not something I would listen to very frequently. kept thinking how cool it would be to listen to during the dinner part of a dinner party.

  38. A D Jameson

      Cool! Yeah, I feel the same way about the Moriarty album. Some of the songs are novelty songs and don’t hold up extremely well. But others are real classics. And the whole thing has a real charm, pretty good for a debut record. Their second album is out, though I haven’t listened to it as much yet as I did Gee Whiz.

      I find all of Annie Gosfield’s work very impressive. I first heard her through her Tzadik records. Here’s another one I especially like:

      Cheers, A

  39. Trey

      hi frank, I listened to these this evening. I thought shoppers was particularly rad, I listened to silver year and it was really great. the zoo kid song was alright, I usually like that style of music and I didn’t dislike it, but maybe I wasn’t in the right mood or something, who knows. betty and the werewolves is pretty rad as well, but I didn’t get extra excited about the album I listened to, and I didn’t finish the whole album. I’m going to try to listen to them some more. bigger princess and kate ferencz, I liked both of these videos. going to track more of them down soon. thanks man!

  40. Mike James


  41. Mike James

      GWAR is the best band ever to be introduced to me via the Beavis & Butthead sega genesis classic, “Beavis and Butt-Head”

  42. A D Jameson

      I’ve never seen GWAR in concert, but I’d sure like to!

  43. fangbin818

  44. Daniel Lichtenberg

      You guys should do an HTMLG people’s top 200 books. If only just to compare readership whiteness.

  45. A D Jameson

      This isn’t the same thing, but a while back I did ask people for this. And here are the results.

      I don’t know how that list breaks down by color, but I can tell you that there 32 stories by men were named, as opposed to 22 stories by women. (I find the P4k list most egregious for its gender imbalance—see the Bitch article for more on that.)

      Meanwhile, there’s also this, over at Big Other. Although note that was something other than a “best of” poll.

  46. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I just grabbed all the Grenadine back catalog. Mark Robinson makes some of the best guitar sounds.

  47. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Shoppes is one of my most favorite recent bands. Unfortunately I think they only existed a year or two (just broke up recently)

  48. Daniel Lichtenberg

      Yeah, the single most surprising thing to me was Joanna Newsom’s rankings. I just assumed she would be taken more seriously.

  49. A D Jameson

      Newsom at least got three albums in, and almost cracked the top 100. Meanwhile, my beloved Chan Marshall had only one album included (You Are Free), and that only at #149.

      Unless I’m missing something, the list includes no all-women bands. So no Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, Wild Flag, Heavens to Betsy, the All Girl Summer Fun Band, Bratmobile, OOIOO, Shonen Knife, Tegan and Sara, Chicks on Speed, Dum Dum Girls, Plumtree, The Donnas, The Pipettes, Dixie Chicks, Electrelane, Vivian Girls, … (Actually, as far as I can tell, the list includes no bands where female members outnumber male.)

      And it may be just me, but any indie rock list that omits Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill/Le Tigre is total bullshit.

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