Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
on 15 January 2014
Got the book for Christmas and was delighted, there is some brilliant stuff in there that I didn't know and that has been fantastic discovering. Much of what I do know I thoroughly agree with being in this book, especially taking into account they are aiming to cover a wide range of styles.
That being said, I do have some criticism of the list, or at the very least inconsistencies.
Taking into account the very fact they are sourcing from all types of especially Western popular musical tradition (featuring quite a bit of punk, reggae, hip-hop, hard rock, disco, etc.) there is a glaring hole in the middle of progressive rock's representation in the list. The tracks from the major "prog" bands listed are relatively commercial and not necessarily the best examples of their style of music nor their most influential and rated work. Either Yes's "Close To The Edge" or Genesis' "Supper's Ready", between them the zenith of progressive rock, should have been in the list. Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (part 1)" arguably as well.
In other artists they sometimes seem to shy away from the obvious tracks and select some more obscure album tracks, like in the case of Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927", a song I would hesitate to select on a Randy Newman compilation, which is selected above his essential "Rednecks".
Frank Zappa's selected entry is also a strange choice, as much of his other music has been infinitely more influential and ground-breaking.
Most glaringly perhaps, Simon & Garfunkel's "The Only Living Boy In New York" selected in favour of one of the absolute must-includes in even a much-reduced list ("Bridge Over Troubled Water" itself), does appear to make a little bit of a mockery of the selection criteria. Perhaps the reader is expected to know above mentioned classic already (the reason for which perhaps "Yesterday" didn't make the list)? Then why include "Hound Dog" or "Thriller" - it leaves me confused as to what the criteria are then?
On top of that there are some artists missing that should have made the list, speaking as objectively as I can: Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" or "Amorok", Tangerine Dream's seminal "Rubycon", Chicago (any of a selection of work from 1969 to 1974), Billy Joel, Supertramp (almost anything from their "Crime of the Century" album would have fitted well), Santana, Tim Hardin (I was surprised he wasn't in the 1001 list, and flabbergasted at his absence in the extended list in the back), Jackson Browne, commercial pop-rock bands like Toto, Survivor, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, and Gerry Rafferty not even in the extended list of 10,101 songs at the back is baffling!
And I don't think lack of space in a relatively small list of 1,001 songs is the reason, as they saw space for example for the non-essential "Where The Wild Roses Grow" by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, a minor chart hit that would not have changed an iota of pop history.
All in all, the selected panel have included a wide range of artists which is great but I still see too much from what their individual influences have been, and it is clear some types of music are perhaps over-represented and other types under-represented, or misrepresented.
A very enjoyable list nevertheless.