Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Problem With The Top-Whatever of Anything

I find myself driving down some back street in Saco yesterday listening to the classic rock station WBLM, "The Blimp" when something catches my ear.

No, it wasn't a deep cut from Led Zeppelin III, or that tartish bitch Celeste pitching her abomination of a morning show with the once cool Captain, but an advertisement for the radio station's "Top 500 Albums of All Time."

Let me break it down for you: You either go on their website or call in or ... fucking mail in something, breaking down your very favorite classic rock albums of all time, and some fucking intern at the radio station will tally up the votes and I guess the station will pick some weekend coming up where they will break down the list of fucking 500 (that's a five, with two, TWO! zeros...) albums. Now, I doubt they'll play each album in it's entirety because that would take way too long, but I'm sure there will be tracks from each record.

My problem is that radio stations like The Blimp feel that their listeners care about what the ... best 500 classic rock albums are. We don't. We don't even care what the top 100 best albums are. It'd be a stretch at 50, to be quite honest with you. So why are you going through all this bullshit to list out 500 albums?

"Holy shit, Billy Squire came in at 278?!" Someone will say, and then put the barrel of their shotgun into their mouths and kill themselves because life has come to a grinding halt for them. No. No that situation will not occur because this is all meaningless promotional bullshit. The design, on some level, is to get people to do exactly what I'm doing right now, which is talk about the station. Though I'm certain few people are taking the same approach I am. It's most likely like this:

"Wow, did you hear that BLM is going to play the top 500 albums of all time?"


"Well they are."

And there you have it. BLM further shoots itself in the foot by posting the results online, negating the listener from having to sit through everything, which in the end, robs the station of it's core duty, which is getting yokels to sit through poorly acted, tedius advertisements on it's station.

I really hate Top-Whatever Lists, for the same reason I hate Christmas: The beauty and the magic is lost on the actual day, because as comedian Lewis Black suggests, it's all in the anticipation. Christmas time is all about running around and buying gifts for people and waiting for them to open them, at the same time wondering what other people got you. You look at Christmas from Thanksgiving and it's a beautiful mecca on the horizon. Top-Whatever Lists work on the same basic principle. Because when we get to Number 1, we all collectively say:

"The Blizzard of Ozz was the number one album?" The equivelant to getting a pair of fucking wool socks on Christmas Morning.

(Editor's Note: James originally ended the article there, with the Ozzy reference, but then he went on forty-five minute tirade around the office talking about how The Beatles 'Sgt. Peppers' album will likely be number one, and kept crying 'bullshit' and then kicked over a rack of coffee mugs in our break room. He then left the building. If anyone knows how to get in contact with James, let us know. There's a pile of broken mugs, and a busted computer chair the janitorial staff would like to talk to him about.)

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