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Friday, February 06, 2009

Pitchfork 100 Best Tracks of 2008, Pazz & Jop '08 and now this: My top 10 picks in pop from the last year

This year-end list is late -- many weeks late. Music fans practically had to be experts in copyright law to successfully blog your YouTube faves this last year. Behemoth record companies made it the year to make poor choices. Warner, for instance, disassociated from YouTube all music ever recorded its the label. And then Universal tried to squash its customers -- fans like me.

What kind of fan am I? I am the kind who will buy releases. So when I purchased a CD from Free Kitten on the Ecstatic Peace! label, I asked for and received their permission to upload to YouTube my copy of a track. The permission came directly from the label. Universal stepped in, being the multinational company that it is (perhaps multi-galaxy company based on its impressive name). I guess Universal efficiently and relentlessly publishes all of the music from the various labels it owns, from here to the most distant sun.

It's surprising, but after several months, I actually won the content claim slapped on me by Universal. Thanks to eventual win, I can do what I wanted to do in the beginning: Point to it and say check this out, it's really cool, and people like me will want to go out a buy the entire album, go to the shows and buy the t-shirt. And fans like me will curse the day their favourite band ever had to make a decision that involved in the machinations of Universal, Warner or other outfit globally staffed by lawyers who want jab at me, their customer, the fan of the band who's on their roster.

I wonder what the bands think. For fans, eventually it's just like, whatever. Legalese fatigue. It eventually makes you uninterested in sharing music you like with your friends. And that might be the most important feedback UniWarner can get. But I'm not expecting a thank-you to follow the fuck-you.

Whatever -- read on below for my list of what I was a big fan of in 2008.

It's hard not to notice that in my top ten or so there is strong evidence of many fans who like me persevered in the face of a YouTube browbeating. As I said, I'd like to hear what the bands have to say, but I almost suspect that in 2008 the stories of the fans are better than those of the musicians they choose to promote on YouTube. If only their stories were known. I'm sure that these fans stories are more exciting that my dealings with the copyright lawyers. I'm thinking of...


So here are my top picks - 10 plus 5 more...

No Age - Eraser



Award: Artist of the Year - "Nouns," multiple single and ep releases, a great tour and memorable spot on Craig Ferguson make No Age my favourite artist in 08.
Un-award: Teen Creeps was my pick for best song of the year, but the lead single Eraser (above) helped make MTV subversive again with a video that didn't ever seem like it was going to start and it still wrapped up in a very punky three minutes.
Why YouTube gives No Age props: Features a virtually note-for-note version of the album Nouns, consisting almost entirely of uploaded fan videos... >>> Go now to the No Age "Nouns" playlist
Why YouTube lets No Age down: Pitchfork.tv posts prime material exclusively

Nouns playlist

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