SPINning the "Best" (?) Albums


I love best-of lists, but a recent article in SPIN magazine titled "125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years: a couple of SPIN's editors rank the most influential releases since the magazine's beginning in 1985" has my head spinning.

"Best" is a judgment call that would have been hard enough to make with clearly delineated criteria and a much shorter time span to choose from. And even though the editors tried hedge their bets a bit by including "influential" in the subtitle, that almost made it worse. Some of the albums definitely fall on the best side of the continuum, others are clearly more influential. Not that the two are mutually exclusive ... actually, sometimes they are. Madonna is by no means the best singer but she is inarguably, one of the most influential. She didn't make the list.

I definitely agree with some of the magazine's choices. I agree that Prince, The Smiths, Green Day, belong on the list. I agree that Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, White Stripes' Elephant and Beck's Odelay definitely belong in a list of the best/most influential albums of the last 25 years.

I don't, however, agree that U2's Achtung Baby should be No. 1. Better or more influential than Radiohead's OK Computer or Nirvana's Nevermind? Hell no.