I shouldn’t pay a Rolling Stone year-end best-of list any mind, but Attackerlady sent it to me and it’s getting on my nerves. Everything about it demonstrates why you simply can’t trust this magazine. David Fricke, Will Hermes, Christian Hoard, Melissa Maerz, Jody Rosen — I do not believe you believe these are the 50 best records of the year, in this order. You do not believe that the Coldplay record ought to be #7 and the new GN’R ought to be #12 but the No Age record — one of the freshest, cleverest and most creative of the year — ought to be #50. You do not believe that Duffy and the Jonas Brothers made a better record than Nas. You do not believe that Ra Ra Riot are in the same league as AC/DC. Even if you are not actually ranking these records, and you’re just compiling a list of 50 noteworthy releases of 2008, the idea that there is some definition of "noteworthy" that covers all these — nope, I don’t believe you believe that either.
What this is, instead, is the music-listicle equivalent of the 1984-vintage Democratic Party, a cynical amalgamation of interest groups to be appeased, fooling no one, on display as obviously less than the sum of its parts. Such little respect do you have for your readers that you expect us to believe you’ve carefully considered the merits of Vampire Weekend, Lil Wayne, Jackson Browne and Lucinda Williams. In your efforts to cobble together something inoffensive to anyone you have disappointed everyone. Marketing is not criticism. Your emotions are nothing but politics. I’m offended that you are making me act this earnestly over something so stupid.