Yes, I did my Pitchfork Top 100 List, like everyone else. […]
It’s frankly astonishing how much of this list is selected by sheer nostalgia. You can probably tell exactly how old I am, and where I’ve lived, and how my taste evolved, by looking at this list. Several albums are on there, not because I listen to them a lot, or even think they’re objectively great albums, but because they stand in for certain years of my life. The Sigur Ros / White Stripes / Strokes albums basically sum up my experience of the summer before I moved here (also, if you moved to New York in 2002, the spectre of Julian Casablancas was unavoidably part of your experience). The Enon is there because it was one of the first records I bought in New York, and Interpol because it was one of the first shows I went to (also because I hated New York for the first year I lived here, and would listen to “NYC” a lot while contemplating this). Gulag Orkestar and Seven Swans are there because I used to have an iPod alarm clock, and these were the albums that I woke up to, every morning, for a year. Peaches was constantly playing at the sex-positive lady sex shop I worked at, and that is also the only reason I can justify having Illinoise there. (It was that or James Blunt, for the tea house at which I was a waitress, in terms of speaker music, and I fought like a demon to have Sufjan supplant Blunt; if I could have, I would have had the Carla Bruni album which we used as a compromise on there, too.) Or the Polyphonic Spree and the Postal Service. I’m not proud, but that was who I was, that was what I listened to.
The whole meta-discussion around nostalgia-memory versus inherent goodness sort of throws a lot of shade on the transcendental sense of good in esthetics. Everyone truly (and goodly) reverts to an ends-based (teleological) argument for their musical history, which is awesome. It also makes all this ranking stuff a very involuted and funny joke.