Rolling Stone is weird. Sometimes I look at it and I just think, "I don't even know who you are anymore." The relationship is taxing. Spin is weird too, but in a different way. Spin is that strange, confused teenager on the cusp of adulthood, trapped between discovering music on their own in the confines of their college radio station closet DJ booth and asking what's playing over the stereo at Hot Topic. That's my preface. As I start to think about my favorite albums (pretty easy this year actually) and songs of 2010, I'm especially interested in what's being thrown around by the music publications and internets. Sometimes, I uncover something I missed (Stereogum's top 50 reminded me that I had yet to check out jj's album), others I just find something to criticize. Spin's reads like a generalized pseudo-hipster review. I can agree to quite a bit of it, or shrug and say that several are overrated (though not horrible). Rolling Stone's, at first glance, is a Grammy-esque broad celebration of meh. But, when you look a little closer, it's a big steaming pile of oddball. It's just...le strange. Like the magazine has become such a cluster of taste and mainstream money making appeal that its best of lists lack an inherent focus. Singles from Ke$ha in the same breath as Gil-Scott Heron? Kid Rock and Taylor Swift lauded next to Yeasayer? Whaaaat?
One thing I can say? Both publications listed Kanye West's album at number 1. Thus, I can't criticize too much. Check out Spin's 40-best albums of the year here. See Rolling Stone's album list here, and read their brief, to the point reasons for their 50-best singles choices here.