Tag Archives: Father John Misty

Lists by Committees and Hipster Beards

Father John Misty Guardian music writer Dorian Lynskey took exception to me joking on Twitter that his album of the year was stereotypically Guardian. It was that picture of Josh Tillman’s archetypal hipster beard that did it.

I know it was a cheap shot, but…

I do recognise the Guardian’s end-of-year list is very diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity, but the top ten in particular is starting to look rather samey in terms of actual music. Aside from the odd exception like jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington it’s very heavy with introspective confessional singer-songwriters where the music takes second place to the subject matter of the lyrics. Now I’m sure they’re all worthy records; nothing I’ve heard has been unlistenably bad, and one or two (for example Joanna Newsom) sound interesting enough to investigate further.

But many other genres exist that are unrepresented save perhaps for a token in the lower reaches of the list.

This might be another example of the weakness of the list-by-committee approach I’ve criticised in the past. All the more eclectic individual choices get squeezed out by the majority consensus, which in this case seems to coalesce around those confessional singer-songwriters.  Perhaps they should use E Pluribus Hugo next year?

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