First “Best of 2008” Album List Very Wrong, Very White

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paste_logo2.gifKids, this right here is more proof that sometimes it’s better to take it slow than rush to be first. Stereogum points out that Paste Magazine is the first major publication to drop their “Best Albums of 2008” list, and while there are some good and interesting albums all up and down it, the order (and the omissions) are kind of head-slapping. Here’s their Top 10:

10 Deerhunter – Microcastle (Kranky)
09 Lucinda Williams – Little Honey (Lost Highway)
08 Sun Kil Moon – April (Caldo Verde)
07 Girl Talk – Feed the Animals (Illegal Art)
06 Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
05. Okkervil River – The Stand Ins (Jagjaguwar)
04. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar)
03. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (XL)
02. Sigur Rós – Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust (XL)
01. She & Him – Volume One (Merge)

You read that right: She & Him, #1 album of the year. My current top two faves, TV on the Radio and Portishead, landed at #50 and nowhere, respectively. And we all know how I feel about Sigur Ros. But there’s something even more nefarious about this list, and that’s its blinding whiteness.

Out of all the Top 50, I count only five albums with non-white contributors: two by Santogold, and one each from Lil Wayne, Thao Nguyen, and the TV on the Radio guys. Of course, one could note that three of those had major involvement from white people as well. Musical taste, and lists of this sort, are, obviously, subjective, and I don’t mean to levy any charges of racism at the fine folks at Paste. But I will levy charges of closed-minded stupidity. If they had named this the Top 50 Folk Albums of the Year, I might be more sympathetic, but clearly they’re making a half-hearted attempt to be musically inclusive. It’s symbolic that Girl Talk’s Feed the Animals landed at #7: while it’s a fine album of attention-deficit mashup ridiculousness, capturing some of the euphoria of his live shows, it mostly features hip-hop vocals, so it’s by far the highest placement of any non-white contributors on their list, if you want to think of it that way. I guess Paste likes their hip-hop well enough, but only if it’s scrubbed clean of its original thumpiness and layered over some classic rock?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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