Friday, December 10, 2010

Pitchfork Staff Lists

Pitchfork has an excellent section on their site called Staff Lists.  These are more  or less  rankings over songs, albums, music videos, etc. picked by Pitchfork writers, usually broken down by year or decade.  I just read this blurb about 1979 and thought it was a perfect description of the song and video.

21. The Smashing Pumpkins
[Virgin; 1996]
It seems very wrong to reduce an important band's highest-charting single to one sound, but sorry, that whooshing progression that repeats through "1979" is amazing enough to hang a whole career on. That floating guitar figure seems to hold all the wistfulness, sadness, hope, and redemption that the Smashing Pumpkins wanted to get across in the 1990s, and everything else-- and they released a ton of great music then, don't let the last 10 years obscure that-- was pretty much gravy. Somehow that riff and the song's title-- '79 was a pivotal year for Corgan's generation, signaling the end of the last decade that would be spent only in childhood-- must have motivated Billy Corgan to speak in straightforward and human terms. Here he wasn't whining, he wasn't throwing a tantrum, he didn't want to be the voice of a generation or be someone's therapist. Instead, he put together a cluster of images that was more about an undefined feeling than a message, and it happened to be the most universal sentiment he'd ever manage. "1979" was Billy Corgan asking, "You know this feeling?" and the second you heard that guitar line the immediate answer was, "I do-- tell me more." --Mark Richardson

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