“The Once and Future King,” or, “A Review of a Review”

For those of you who frequent the mainstream blogosphere, you’ve likely become accustomed to lists and top-10’s and best-of’s, etc., etc. that seem designed to stir up controversy rather than settle debate. Spin’s “125 Best Albums of the Part 25 Years” is no different. Remember when Rolling Stone put out their “100 Greatest Guitarists of All-Time,” and put David Gilmour at 88, I believe? Well, clearly there are arguments that support such an artists ranking far higher than that, but it is difficult to get too angry about their top 3, which were, in ascending order, Clapton, Allman and Hendrix. (If I hear one more person complain about how Clap gentrified the blues I’m gonna shit.) Very difficult to get too riled up those choices.

So, before I begin to opine with irritating aimlessness, I’ll say that these lists have their merit. Never mind who or what gets lumped in the middle, that’s simply a matter of taste. The cream that rises to the top is typically universal – or, as close to universal as one can get. Spin ranked U2’s 1991 masterpiece “Achtung Baby” as their #1 album since 1985. This dirty hipster takes no issue with that in the slightest. What he does take issue with is the article that accompanies the nomination. The author, Charles Aaron, – a brave soul who is not afraid to attach his real name to his work – delivers a difficult message to decipher. With a heavy hand he cites U2 as “bumbling through periods of bloat and self-delusion and irreverence” following the release of “Achtung Baby.” Simultaneously, Aaron asserts that the band were “flailing and directionless” during the time when they released 1988’s “Rattle n Hum.” I wonder if these “serious” music journals, unlike the Dirty Fucking Hipsters of the virtual world, demand that their journalists raise their noses at all costs, if for nothing else, for the sake of letting the artists they cover (and from whom they earn their paper) know who the real boss is.

U2's Achtung Baby

U2's Achtung Baby

Nevertheless, I think they have hit the nail on the head in giving the nod to U2, even if it may not be the best U2 album of the past 25 years; “Joshua Tree” was pretty goddamn good, and produced one of those sounds, triggered those particular emotions that will never and could never be duplicated. -DFH

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