Space Awesome Playlists, Judges’ Awards and Lists O’Plenty: The Road Trip! Thursday Night Bar Fight Results
What follows are the results of this week’s Thursday Night Bar Fight, in which we used a Survivor-like setup to try to create a group-sourced 10-album playlist for a two month road trip. There’s a surprising amount of ground to cover, so let’s get right to it.
First things first: Thank you, everyone.
I can’t remember the last time one of my posts turned out as fun as this one did. This has nothing to do with the post and everything to do with those that participated. Only two posts in League history have had more participation in the threads, but neither of those was as entirely good-natured as this one was. This being St. Pat’s day, know that I am tipping a pint o’ Guinness to all of you for the superb amount of fun everyone brought.
All in all, over four hundred albums were nominated. If you include those that were disqualified or were brought up in subsequent discussions the number is just over five hundred.
Because of the sheer volume of comments, I should probably take a moment to let everyone know how scores were tallied. As per the original rules, you could nominate up to ten albums. Each album nominated received one point, unless you wanted to throw all of your weight behind one single nomination – in that case that album received three points. If another person’s nomination appealed or grated, you were allowed to up-vote or down-vote with praise or smack. Each positive comment counted as one additional point; each negative on counted as a negative point. In addition, the judging committee of one reserved the right to award points(or take them away) for particularly poignant reasons given for including or dismissing a nominee. Greatest hits collections and non-soundtrack anthologies were not allowed and were subsequently disqualified.
Judging rules I made early on while scoring include the following:
- Albums mentioned in an offhand manner in the threads were not counted as nominations.
- Votes and vetoes to particular albums were counted. Blanket votes and vetoes (e.g.: “I down-vote all Springsteen albums nominated!”) were ignored.
- Vague nominations (e.g.: “Something by the Beatles.”) were not counted.
- If you already had a list of ten nominations, then all other nominations, no matter how space awesome those lists may have been (and they were), did not receive nomination status. Because of this up-votes for those albums were ignored, unless the album was nominated elsewhere.
- If you listed a choice of two albums by the same artist (e.g.: “Either Exile on Main St. or Sticky Fingers”) then I automatically counted the first one mentioned. However, if later in the thread many people were +1-ing your second option, I went back, changed your nomination to the second one listed, and cursed your name.
Since you were all so great about taking the time to make this a great Bar Fight, I decided to take the time and present a variety of different lists, data and awards – all of which follow after the break.
The Official 2013 League Road Trip Album Play List
1. Graceland, Paul Simon – (20 Points). And you know what? It wasn’t even close. Not only did Graceland have a score almost double what the second highest nominee racked up, it didn’t receive one down vote. Not one.
2. Moving Pictures, Rush – (11 Points). Rush shocked pretty much everyone by not only making the list, but also reaching the number-two slot. A huge disappointment for those of us hoping that word of a Rush exclusion would reach fan sites and trigger a releasing of the hounds. Someone let Jonathan know it’s safe to come out now.
3. Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd – (7 points). If you had asked me to guess which Pink Floyd album was going to make the cut, this would have been my third guess – but probably still my first choice.
4. American IV, Johnny Cash – (6 points). Live at Folsom Prison had more nominations for the Man in Black, but American IV had the votes.
5. Bitches Brew, Miles Davis – (6 points). Davis was no doubt the biggest vote getter from the Jazz side of the aisle.
6. Flood, They Might Be Giants – (6 points). A nomination almost by sheer force of will. Along with Team Rush fans, Team TMBG just seemed to want it more than everyone else.
7. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, The Beatles – (6 points). Considered by so many to be the Citizen Kane of albums, this was the single album on this list that I expected to be here when I came up with the idea.
8. Unplugged, Nirvana – (6 points). Narrowly beat out Nevermind by Nirvana and Unplugged by Clapton. Impressive!
9. Rumors, Fleetwood Mac – (6 points). When I was in elementary school you couldn’t turn the radio on and not here a song from Rumors playing. Seriously, I think this might be the only non-compilation rock-pop album that I have heard every single played track on the radio at one point or another. (Excluding things like Beatle-Marathon days, of course.)
10. The Trinity Sessions, Cowboy Junkies – (6 points). For me, the biggest surprise of the playlist – but a welcome one.
The Journey Home Playlist
There were, as it happens, ten albums tied for 11th with five points each. So I officially declare this to be the playlist for the ride home from Leaguefest 2013. In no particular order:
- Aja, Steely Dan
- Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Ludwig Van Beethoven
- Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd
- Fumbling Toward Ecstasy, Sarah McLachlan
- Kind of Blue, Miles Davis
- Live at Folsom Prison, Johnny Cash
- Making Movies, Dire Straits
- Mothership Connection, Parliament
- The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, Bruce Springsteen
- My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello
I have to say, I’d be perfectly happy with either playlist.
I have a few other lists to share, however, as well as some Bar Fight awards.
Thirty Artists & Thirty Albums That I Am Stunned Did Not Receive A Single Nomination
Seriously, if I knew we’d have 400+ nominations I’d have bet $10 on any of these artists or albums getting a nod. Hell, knowing this place I would have bet at least $1,000 that at least one of these would get a nomination – and I would now be out ten Benjamins. In order of the degree of my shock, I herby present to you:
30 Surprisingly Snubbed Artists
- Frank Sinatra
- Any Solo Beatle
- Tom Waits
- Ella Fitzgerald
- Velvet Underground
- Aretha Franklin
- Patsy Cline
- The Doors
- Simon & Garfunkel
- The Cars
- James Brown
- Hank Williams
- Richard Thompson
- Lou Reed
- Public Enemy
- Sam Cooke
- Pearl Jam
- Willie Nelson
- The Pretenders
- Buddy Holly
- Los Lobos
- Peter Gabriel
- Bonnie Raitt
- Jeff Buckley
- B.B. King
- ke & Tina Turner
Honorable Mention: Any of the great Motown acts
30 Surprisingly Snubbed Albums
- 1999, Prince
- Moondance, Van Morrison
- Getz/Gilberto, Stan Getz & Jaoa Gilberto
- Tommy, The Who
- Saturday Night Fever, Various Artists
- Village Green Preservation Society, The Kinks
- The Wall, Pink Floyd
- Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon & Garfunkel
- Purple Rain, Prince
- Horses, Patti Smith
- What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye
- Synchronicity, The Police
- Out of Time, R.E.M.
- Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Outkast
- So, Peter Gabriel
- West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein
- Book of Dreams, Steve Miller Band
- The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Lauryn Hill
- Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs, Derek & the Dominos
- Elephant, White Stripes
- The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem
- The Black Album, Jay-Z
- A Hard Day’s Night, The Beatles
- Band on the Run, Paul McCartney & Wings
- The River, Bruce Springsteen
- Odelay, Beck
- Songs In the Key of Life, Stevie Wonder
- Muswell Hillbillies, The Kinks
- In Color, Cheap Trick
- Secret World, Peter Gabriel
Honorable Mention: Leaning to Crawl, Pretenders
THE ENTIRELY, COMPLETELY, ABSOLUTELY OBJECTIVE AND IN NO WAY SUBJECTIVE AT ALL INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
The Judges Circle Award
This award is given to those album playlists that so delighted the committee that we’re noting them for actual future road trips. Consideration was given to those lists whose selections were eclectic, a good mix of known and seldom heard, and filled with albums that could go multiple listens without getting stale. (Readers only; League Contributors not eligible.)
Honorable Mention: No Public’s List
The “What The Hell Is Wrong With You People?” Award
This award recognizes those nominated CDs, which, were we on an actual road trip, the committee would have never, ever, ever have allowed in his car.
- Escape, Journey
- How To Avoid Huge Ships (Audiobook), Read by Lou Ferrigno
- Violator, Depeche Mode
- Moving Pictures, Rush
- The Grand Illusion, Styx
The Eternal Gratitude Award
Given to those nominations where the committee had never heard of the artist prior, checked them out on Spotify, and now believes being introduced to them was worth the time invested in this Bar Fight. They are presented in no particular order.
- Will Oldham
- Swedish House Mafia
- Rory Block
- Martyn Johnson
- Kurt Elling
- June Tabor & the Oyster Band
- Porcupine Tree
- Anya Marina
- The Wailin’ Jennies
Bar Fight Random Lists
Albums With More than Two Separate Nominations
- Five Nominations: Graceland, Sgt. Pepper
- Three Nominations: Live from Folsom Prison, Wish You Were Here, Moving Pictures, Aja, Brandenburg Concertos
Artists with More than Two Different Albums Nominated
- Artists with Five Albums Nominated: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Talking Heads
- Artists with Four Albums Nominated: Springsteen, The Who, U2
- Artists with Three Albums Nominated: Beethoven, Bob Dylan, Jethro Tull, Johnny Cash, Led Zepplin, Metallica, Miles Davis, Radiohead, Steely Dan, Warren Zevon
10 Artists Who Really Could Have Used Some Consolidation
These are all artists that missed being on the final playlist, but who would have made the 6-point cut had their different works not spilt their votes.
- Bruce Springsteen (12 points)
- Beethoven (10 points)
- The Who (9 points)
- The Rolling Stones (8 points)
- Talking Heads (8 points)
- Elvis Costello (7 points)
- Steely Dan (7 points)
- John Coltrane (6 points)
- Liz Phair (6 points)
- U2 (6 points)
The All-meh List
These artists all got the same amount of smack as they did praise, and therefore came out with a score of exactly zero:
- Tori Amos
- Jack Johnson
- Sleater Kinney
- My Bloody Valentine
- Nick Drake
The “Don’t Call Us…” List
Artists who actually scored a negative total score:
- Adele (-8 points)
- Guns & Roses (-2 points)
- Dave Matthews (-1 point)
The All-DQ List
The most popular of the disqualified nominations:
- Legend, Bob Marely 4 points (DQ for being a Greatest Hits album)
- Repo Man Soundtrack, Various Artists 4 Points(DQ for Going Over 10 Nominations)
- The Immaculate Collection, Madonna 3 Points (DQ for Greatest Hits album)
A List of Random Surprising Factoids
- League readers ain’t haters. There were 347 up votes for qualified nominations; there were only 53 down votes.
- People still know who Jethro Tull is. In the past twenty years, I have not heard a JT song on the radio, have not read a blog post, magazine article or newspaper story about JT, have not seen JT featured on iTunes, and have not heard one person mention them under any circumstances, ever. And yet Ian’s boys rack up not one, but three separate album nominations! Did not see that coming.
- A lot more people listen to jazz than I would have thought. Depending on how loosely you want to define “jazz” there were between 20 and 25 jazz albums nominated – which is roughly 20 – 25 more than I would have guessed.
- A lot less people listen to hip-hop than I would have thought. With our demographics, I was sure that hip-hop would loom large. But we had maybe 5 or so nominations for that genre? Maybe?
- The lists were, top to bottom, surprisingly awesome. Sure, there were some albums here and there I didn’t care for in some of the lists, but multiple albums that I really liked surrounded them. I was sure I’d hate, like, 50% of the lists people posted. But instead there wasn’t one that I didn’t find myself thinking, “Yeah, I could totally go with these ten picks.”
The Bar Fight Comments Rescue
Early on when I was trying to note where I wanted to award positive or negative judge’s points based on comments, I found myself highlighting some comments that stuck out for me. In a post so full of fantastic comments by so many people, I don’t’ want to pretend that this is a greatest hits list. But rereading the comments I’d highlighted just now, they seemed worthy of sharing nonetheless.
BlaiseP, explaining to the judges who Porcupine Tree is: Porcupine Tree / Steven Wilson are completely unique. It’s always unfair to lump bands/artists into genres but Steven Wilson is what Roger Waters might have been if he had not become such a lugubrious smeg.
Russell, on his reasoning for nominating Sheryl Crow’s The Globe Sessions: Because not only is it a legitimately great album in its own right (my favorite of hers, and I’m a fan), but it was the absolute best break-up album during a particularly bad break-up of mine and listening to it would give me a perfect excuse to gripe to everyone in the car about what an asshole that guy was. Also, all of my other ex-boyfriends.
Mike Shilling, in the middle of a Catholic-related pun-throw down with Marchmaine: You realize that this means Waugh.
Anne: Jesus Christ Superstar is also good to clean house to.
Maribou on her Rush up-vote justification: Not only am I Canadian, I once 100-percented the Rock Band version of Tom Sawyer on “Expert”.
Zic, replying to Burt’s jazz-smack: You, sir, may not ride in my car. For I live on the edge of hard-core group improvisational music; art made in the moment, here and gone, ephemeral as the spring flowers. I’m not even convinced it should be recorded, but should be thought of spontaneous composition, released and let go; recording it seems a sin, but I revel in that sin nonetheless.
Pinky, comparing the albums of Beethoven and the Boss: The Ninth ain’t bad. I like the Fifth because it has four great movements. I went with the Seventh because I like all its movements and it’s a little fresher for me. But 5/7/9 is really the same as Darkness/Born to Run for me; a slight change in my mood could bring any of them onto my top 10 list.
Jaybird on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon: I might be the only person on the planet who calls himself a Floyd Fan who hates Dark Side of the Moon. Hates it. I hate Time. I hate Us and Them. I hate Breathe. I hate Money. I hate hate hate that album. … Dark Side of the Moon is shrimp cocktail. Dark Side of the Moon is grilled salmon. Dark Side of the Moon is green and black olives.
Pat: I will upvote The Eagles, even though every time it comes on I’m gonna quote The Dude.
Burt on The Eagles: Punk said of the Eagles, “These guys aren’t gods. They’re just dudes like us. They don’t even look like they’re having fun or getting laid all that much. All they’re doing is serving up packaging for big record companies and selling out. You don’t even need to play your instruments all that well to be a musician — what, it’s three chords and go, right? Anyone can do that.”
Brian Houser, displaying some impressive iTunes-fu: I chose based on my song ratings and play vs. skip ratio in iTunes. The winners have at least one five-star track each, and an average score above 4 stars. Unfortunately, some of my favorite tunes are left behind because they appear on an otherwise weak album.
dexter to Hanley: James, for an evil libertarian you have very good taste in music.
Thanks once again to everyone