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Joel

On the Possibility of an A&F Top Albums List

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Are you questioning the value of a list comprised entirely of U2 and Arcade Fire albums?  smile.png

No, I'm questioning a list comprised entirely of U2/Over the Rhine/Sam Phillips albums. smile.png (With Arcade Fire listed as a "runner up.")

 

 

LOL at both of these.

 

 

I know I'm being a little fuzzy on how I think this should be done, which is not very useful if I'm also currently acting like the de facto leader of this potential thing, but again, a list of artists would also not be at all dissatisfying to me, especially if it were accompanied by short essays encouraging people to consider the spiritual aspects of the work of artists whose work is not often considered from that angle.

 

Anyway, keep talking about this -- and I will, apparently, continue to reply with extremely vague defenses of all possible iterations of this list.

Edited by Joel

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No, I'm questioning a list comprised entirely of U2/Over the Rhine/Sam Phillips albums. smile.png (With Arcade Fire listed as a "runner up.")

 

 

Heh. You said this about a million times more graciously than I could. 

 

I also see the value in lists for songs OR albums, I lean heavily toward the latter. (Just like I wouldn't want to have a "top 25 movie scenes" about something over a list of actual movies.) Yes, yes, I know it's not the same, but I can't divorce songs from their albums (even if it's a great song from a lousy album).

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(Just like I wouldn't want to have a "top 25 movie scenes" about something over a list of actual movies.) Yes, yes, I know it's not the same, but I can't divorce songs from their albums (even if it's a great song from a lousy album).

 

Amen.

 

It's hard to say this without stepping on toes, but when I joined A&F in 2004, the music forum was in many ways the snaggle-toothed stepchild of the movie forum. Over a period of just a few years,  the overall tenor of the music discussions elevated considerably and the place almost started to hold its own. It may never have the heft and vigor of the movie forum, but to nominate individual songs-- or more specifically song themes-- in a list potentially seen by so many, is a huge step backwards for the music forum, imo. 

 

The kind of artists who occupy our discussions here, create 30-40-minute song cycles (a length that is in no way arbitrary or confined to modern pop music, btw) that are released as albums. Any critical discussion that veers outside this fact to singles, is going to come off looking like a My Favorite Playlist vote. In critical terms, it would be Return of the Stepchild

Edited by Greg P

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OK, so we're all agreed that this will be called "IMAGE's Top 5 Best Real True Christian Bands" and the order will be:

 

1. U2

2. 1980s U2

3. 1990s U2

4. U2 during the "Elevation" tour

5. Arcade Fire

 

 

====

 

But seriously. Here are my thoughts on the matter:

 

1. No diss to the movie people at all, because they are doing it how they want to do it, but I would very very strongly not want to do something that involved voting. I would almost rather set up a rule like "if you've been a member since year X and/or have X number of posts*, you get to pick an [album or whatever] and write about it."

 

(* or even X number of music posts, though I don't know how to find that information)

 

 

2. This would mean it would not be "top" 25 list, but a list of 25 things. Which I think is totally fine and I like better anyway, because subjectivity.

 

 

3. Some kind of theme would definitely be helpful, even if it was just something vague like '25 albums that gracefully and artfully deal with/wrestle with with faith/God.' (this is a dumb title, but I think the idea is OK.)

 

 

 

Just some thoughts...

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OK, so we're all agreed that this will be called "IMAGE's Top 5 Best Real True Christian Bands" and the order will be:

 

1. U2

2. 1980s U2

3. 1990s U2

4. U2 during the "Elevation" tour

5. Arcade Fire

 

I will be surprised if anything elicits a larger laugh from me today.

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OK, so we're all agreed that this will be called "IMAGE's Top 5 Best Real True Christian Bands" and the order will be:

 

1. U2

2. 1980s U2

3. 1990s U2

4. U2 during the "Elevation" tour

5. Arcade Fire

 

 

Come on. Get serious. We're not that bad. I'd like to think we're sophisticated and perceptive enough that you've got #1 and #2 in the wrong order.

 

But otherwise, yeah, that's just about right.

Edited by Overstreet

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OK, so we're all agreed that this will be called "IMAGE's Top 5 Best Real True Christian Bands" and the order will be:

 

1. U2

2. 1980s U2

3. 1990s U2

4. U2 during the "Elevation" tour

5. Arcade Fire

 

HUGE GUFFAWS. But you forgot Sam Phillips. And Radiohead. And Hold Steady. k. done deal.

 

1. No diss to the movie people at all, because they are doing it how they want to do it, but I would very very strongly not want to do something that involved voting. I would almost rather set up a rule like "if you've been a member since year X and/or have X number of posts*, you get to pick an [album or whatever] and write about it."

 

I don't know if a list like this will be made here or not, but the first thing that popped into my head -- and I really, really like this idea -- is seeing one Mr. PTC write about DARN FLOOR BIG BITE. I just kinda think that'd be a fun read.

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See, that's what I'm saying! How great would that kind of thing be?

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Let's see what would happen then.

 

If you're an old-timer in the music forum (define however you will), throw down a record you'd want to write about for the nascent, nebulous "25 important records that gracefully and artfully deal with/wrestle with with faith/God."

 

Me? Judee Sill's Heart Food.

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1. No diss to the movie people at all, because they are doing it how they want to do it, but I would very very strongly not want to do something that involved voting. I would almost rather set up a rule like "if you've been a member since year X and/or have X number of posts*, you get to pick an [album or whatever] and write about it."

 

I don't know if a list like this will be made here or not, but the first thing that popped into my head -- and I really, really like this idea -- is seeing one Mr. PTC write about DARN FLOOR BIG BITE. I just kinda think that'd be a fun read.

 

 

 

Let's see what would happen then.

 

If you're an old-timer in the music forum (define however you will), throw down a record you'd want to write about for the nascent, nebulous "25 important records that gracefully and artfully deal with/wrestle with with faith/God."

 

Me? Judee Sill's Heart Food.

 

So, is this going to be the A&F version of the 33 1/3 books series? I'd read it.

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So, is this going to be the A&F version of the 33 1/3 books series? I'd read it.

 

 

YES YES YES THIS

 

 

So off the top of my head, I am calling you out: Josh, Overstreet, Andy, Greg, Jason, Opus, Thom Jurek (I can dream), Christian, Darryl...who else am I forgetting here? 

Edited by Joel

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Guys, I don't have time to read this whole thread, but I second Joel in not wanting this to die quite yet.

 

A couple more Top 25 lists in Image's 25th anniversary year would be sweet.

 

I'm just wondering if film lovers are as averse to listing certain classics films  time and again as they are about listing U2, Sam Phillips, and Bruce Cockburn.

 

But if we don't limit the list to self-identified Christians and we delve into some interesting backwaters, I wonder if we could still come up with a pretty respectable list.

 

No?

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I'm still on board too. Joel, maybe we should nudge a few of the quieter, but more music-centric members via personal message, Facebook, email, Twitter... Or, can we get this thread pinned?

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Is it still Image's 25th anniversary year?

 

I am bringing this up again.

 

"25 'Spiritually Significant*' Albums of the Last 25 Years" maybe?

 

(* or another term if this one has fallen out of favor)

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Well, is it really necessary, now that Songs of Innocence has arrived and we're all so unanimous in our admiration and gratitude? ;)

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Yes, it's still Image's 25th anniversary year, and yes, I would love to do precisely this sort of list.

 

I think it could be an absolutely fascinating exercise -- I've never seen anything quite like it.

 

I nominate you, Joel, to take the lead.

 

The question would simply be: do we do this like we do our other lists -- and the answer to that seems to be, "Why not? It's not perfect but it works pretty well all things considered...."

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I can take the lead, but I don't think I could handle the nominating, voting, etc. I don't think I have the time to put into that process. Here's what I propose.

 

1. This will be called "Arts and Faith's 25 Great Albums from the Past 25 Years.." (or something) (1989-2014.)

2. However, there will be no voting, and the list will not actually be 'ranked.'

3. There will be no criteria for inclusion apart from the somewhat nebulous, flexible, but mostly well-understood-by-A&F-members designations like "spiritually significant" -- or even more generally, each person will just choose a record from the last 25 years that they really, really love or believe deserves significant attention from the readers of Image/Arts&Faith.

4. Any somewhat regular contributor to the A&F music board, past or present is welcome to contribute.

5. Each person who wants to do this will claim an album and write 1-2 sentences here about why they want to write about it. Discussion can ensue if necessary.

6. In the event that we don't have 25 people who can contribute from A&F, I'll reach out to other people associated with Image/A&F (eg Jeff Keuss, Chad T Johnston, etc) to pick an album and write about it.

 

My desire not to do a ranked list with voting really stems from my own belief that writing about music is about subjectivity, desire, and love. I want this to be a list that readers can turn to and say "I trust Jeff Overstreet/Josh Hurst/whoever, and I want to know what records they think I need to hear and why they are great."

Edited by Joel

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Hi Joel (& all!):

 

Greg and I just spoke about this at some length. We are open to the idea that a group of people would offer up 1 or 2 albums each to the list of "25 from the past 25 years." There are few things we want to bring up:

 

1. It may not be fair to consider this a "Top 25" list, given that it's not subjected to the same democratic process as the others. We do think the result would be awesome, but wonder if it should be called something like, "25 Great Albums from the Past 25 Years."

 

2. We wonder if we could split the list into 2-4 chunks and feature a handful of albums at a time on Good Letters. Each post containing a link to the full list-in-progress (as it's unveiled) on our site.

 

3. We wonder if it's realistic to expect 25 separate people to volunteer? I think we've have more like 15 people write for past A&F lists.

 

3. We would need a volunteer leader--Joel?--to keep track of 1) who wants to volunteer, 2) what albums they want to write about (preventing duplicate reviews on the same album, or three people writing about the same band, and so on), and 3) collecting the mini-reviews. At Image, I could handle copyediting reviews and webizing them for the blog and/or site. I just want to be clear about what the Image staff can and can't accomplish. This sounds great and would need to be a highly collaborative project.

 

What are your guys' thoughts?

 

Warmly,
TM

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1. Totally.

2. Seems good.

3. Probably not but we could see what happens.

4. This is the only part I'm a little reluctant about because while I do want to see this happen, this is--now that I actually think about it-- particularly bad timing for me to actually take the lead. I'd be enthusiastic about doing it in January or February, but probably couldn't do it before then. So that could be a hitch, unless someone else wants to take the lead.

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Weeell, our anniversary officially ends on 12/31. So I'm not sure what to say. There haven't been a lot of people chirping up about this, so maybe we could stretch to January???

 

Would be nice to get some responses from folks interested in writing for this. 

 

Anyone?

 

Always appreciate the effort you guys put into these projects!

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I've been quietly following this. I'd like to help, but I honestly feel a little unprepared for this. I tend to rarely pay attention to lyrics in music, since my brain zeroes on the actual notes first (and often exclusively). I've been thinking over my favorite albums and how spiritually significant they are...and I'm having a hard time with this. 

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I'm not terribly interested in a voting-process list because music is just too vast an ocean for much consensus. I think it would require a lot of attention and discussion, and so long as my life is divided between a full-time job and graduate studies, I don't have time. Similarly, if we're asked to write much about the albums we champion, I probably can't commit to that. 

 

I do plan, however, to write a long essay on the "most spiritually significant album" of my lifetime... for an MFA assignment. And someday I'll probably publish it somewhere...

Edited by Overstreet

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Assuming I qualify as a regular contributor to A&F, I would be very interested in writing for the list.

 

My main caveat is that while I have listened to (and written about) quite a few "spiritually significant" albums, they tend to be releases from independent or smaller artists.  I could easily name my favourites and make a case for their significance, but I doubt they've reached the ears of very many people, and in a list of only 25 albums, I'm not sure how many would warrant a spot.

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while I have listened to (and written about) quite a few "spiritually significant" albums, they tend to be releases from independent or smaller artists.  I could easily name my favourites and make a case for their significance, but I doubt they've reached the ears of very many people

 

That would be exactly the point of doing this!

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