There’s this meme going around where you go here, type the year of your high school graduation into the search box, and get the list of top 100 songs that year. Then you indicate the ones you liked and hated. Given music tastes of the other bloggers I read, this meme tends to devolve into a claim that the list in question is a milestone in unbelievably crappy music. My only participation here is to note that 1997 distinguishes itself with an especially bad top ten, and when #11 and #12 are included you pretty much have songs that are on heavy rotation in hell itself. After that the list is mostly just mediocre with some actual good songs mixed in.
Anyway, it seems like the three categories (liked/hated/don’t care) in most implementations of this meme are insufficient. Were I to mark up the entire list (which I’m not, because I’m
lazy busy! At work!), I would use the following four classifications:
- Songs I haven’t heard, don’t care about, or don’t recognize from the title/artist.
- Songs I might have liked, except everyone was playing them my freshman year at college and I got really sick of them.
- Songs I dislike.
- Songs I hate with the intensity of a thousand burning suns. A single strikethrough line is insufficient for something like R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly;” I need something like a mushroom cloud I can superimpose on the list.
I can’t argue that 1997 was the worst year, as Scott Lemieux’s list from 1990 clearly trumps mine in awfulness. I did start to wonder if every year would, taken on its own, look especially bad, since we forget about all these mass-produced songs that are ubiquitous for a few months and then (thankfully) vanish forever. To prove this theory, I decided to look at a year from an era that supposedly produced a lot of great music: The Top 100 Songs of 1968.
Wow. Those… those are actually pretty good. Damn.