Oh piss off, pop-pickers

What makes a record one of your ‘all-time’ favourites? I’ve been pondering this over the last couple of days, having nothing better to do and all that, and I’ve struggled to come up with a satisfactory answer. In the past, I ‘ve always been able to trot off a list of ten albums that I really rate, but I’m not sure in what capacity they have earnt that title. For example, on that last would be Nina Simone‘s ‘Here Comes The Sun‘, which is a beautiful album, particularly for this time of year. However, I can’t remember the last time I played it. The same is true of R.E.M.‘s ‘New Adventures In Hi-Fi‘, which I own four different copies of, but which I haven’t played for some time. Yes, I can’t deny that I think they’re brilliant records, but should what I play on a regular basis not offer a clearer definition of my favourite music?
Had I been sampled across the first few months of the year it would have seemed that ‘The Good, The Bad & The Queen‘ was my favourite record by a long shot, at times almost like it was the only record ever made. I genuinely love it, and it may soon make it into my all-timers list, but if you’d asked me at the time if it was one of my all time favourite albums, I’d have snorted in your face. I suspect the whole idea is starting to rankle as a result of the constant obsession with lists in UK music magazines of a certain ilk. I’ve recently been enjoying Artrocker and Plan B, two fine, fine titles full of engaging, intelligent and fucking fun writing about music. Meanwhile, Uncut, Mojo and Q are happy to keep rehashing the same stupid lists with alarming regularity. I’m getting to the point where I couldn’t give a toss about the ‘best records of all time’, I just want to keep expanding my record collection and finding albums that make me smile, nod and talk utter shite to other people. Is that one better than this one? Who gives a shit?
I did try to draw up a list of ten prior to writing this to see if it’s something I can realistically do, and I struggled. Blur‘s ‘Think Tank‘ made it in last time I settled on ten, and it’s probably still there or thereabouts, but I’ve been playing ‘Blur‘ much more in recent months. I haven’t played ‘Blue Lines‘ for yonks, and so I’m now less sure about how much I actually love it. I think Elvis Costello‘s ‘My Aim Is True‘ is still safe, as it gets a regular dusting down and never fails to entertain. I’m sure the Super Furries deserve to be in there, but I’m not sure which album it should be. Miles Davis‘ ‘In A Silent Way‘ has been a favourite for some time, but again, it hasn’t been played all that much recently. And so it went on. Very few albums were certainties, but hundreds were possibles. Even in my sad little muso world, I just can’t be arsed spending the time trying to figure this out.
I will tell you what my current favourite is, and that’s the Maps album, ‘We Can Create‘. Is it in my top ten?

What top ten?

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