This morning, as promised, Pitchfork went live with the results from The People's List, their souped-up version of a Reader's Poll, tracking their audience's favorite records released over the lifespan of the site. It's full of interesting widgets and USA Today-style infographics. They've got all sorts of clickable tabs embedded in the visually appealing interface. You can sort through the ballots of nearly 28,000 participants, zeroing in on poll results as filtered through specific metrics like voter age, genre preference, year of release, city lived in, hat size, sandwich loyalty, which Radiohead member participants thought was "The Cute One," and if there was only one record that would make you buy more sneakers than you currently do now, which one would it be?
While we're not entirely sure that we agree with their contention that "the surprises far outnumber the expectations," it is an awful lot of info. People will likely be assigning crack-pot theories to the results for days to come. We however, looked at it for a half-hour or so, and came away with these 13 things of note.
Individual Lists are a Billion Times More Interesting Than the Conglomerate
The things everybody likes are way more predictable than the things beloved of only a small number of people. This is not a surprising concept, because everybody likes them, but it's what makes the combined Top 200 sort of a non-shocking drag to scroll down. But once you start perusing the Staff Lists, you find all sorts of weird idiosyncracies and deviations from the conventional wisdom. Think about how much Ian Cohen loves Jimmy Eats World next time he tears your favorite new record to shreds! (Here's mine, by the way.) -JK
Women Really, Really Hate Making Lists
Perhaps the most immediately striking thing about the whole feature is the gender breakdown: of the 27,981 total voters, only 12% of them were women. Twelve! The list-making tendencies of nerdy dudes everywhere have been well documented, of course, as have the tendencies of the women they love and who maybe, possibly love them back, to roll their eyes at such behavior, so I think everyone knew it would be skew male, but this is just fucking crazy. Twelve percent! -MC
The Semi-Surprising Age Breakdown
Maybe it's because of the easily social site shareable interface that P4K whipped up for this thing, and its grab-and-post Tumblr-ocity, but color us a little surprised that the majority of voters for this poll are under 25. This goes a long way towards explaining why 2010 is considered a better year for music than 1997. That is NOT how we remember it. (Are you saying that well-adjusted adults have started to outgrow compulsive, arbitrary list making? is that what you are saying???) - JK
People Under 30 Have Basically No Interest in Even Indie Rock’s Recent Past
Ok, that’s not entirely true. It’s nice that everyone, regardless of age (including the awesomely creepy 10-15 bracket), is on the same page about In the Aeroplane Over the Sea being really good, and I suppose it’s also nice, though certainly less nice, that people of all ages like those Radiohead records so much. But jeez: For people under the age of 30, the oldest record not by either of those bands to make the top 20 is that one Sigur Ros record I’m not even going to attempt typing, and that thing is sung in a made-up language, so I don't even know if it counts! You guys, if you’re reading this, you should really listen to Belle and Sebastian. Also, and this is for everyone, even the olds: Have you ever heard Superchunk’s 1997 album Indoor Living? It is literally hit after hit after hit. -MC
Oh, And Along Those Same Lines, Apparently No One Cares About Those Last Two Pavement Records?
Now, fine: If you're not able to get down with Terror Twilight, I am perfectly willing to accept it as a mere generational difference. But Brighten the Corners, an album that opens with the unbelievable one-two punch of "Stereo" and "Shady Lane" and then goes on to include songs like "Blue Hawaiian" and "Starlings of the Slipstream"? That's just not really OK. -MC
But Some People, Aged 31-35, Still Totally Stand By
That Hum Album with “Stars” On It! an Album by Hum, and Not Even the One With "Stars" On It!
I don’t fully understand what the “Distinction Index” is, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with people of a certain demographic feeling more strongly about a record than other demographics. And man, people between the ages of 31 and 35 are still going to the mat for Hum’s Downward is Heavenward, which I find insane and insanely heartwarming. - MC
Houston and Minneapolis are the only cities where OK Computer didn't win.
One of the more fun things to do with the People's List is try to attribute miniscule difference in voting preference to real, distinct regional peculiarities. The only two cities mentioned that did not consider OK Computer the pinnacle of the last 15 years are Houston and Minneapois. Houston picked Arcade Fire's Funeral because of the extra magic people who've never seen snow grant to desperate teenagers making window-high tunnels in it. Minneapolis is the world's leading exporter of carrot flowers. These things are probably true. -JK
Brooklyn's Taste is the Most Pretentious in the United States
Using the distinction index on our own fair borough, we see that our top two peculiar album loves are Wiliam Basinki's The Disintegration Loops and Scott Walker's The Drift, one an abstract meditation channeling the horrible corrosive effects of time, the other prominently featuring a mic'ed slab of meat being rhythmically punched. They are our favorites and we def. listen to these records ALL THE TIME, even when we have company over. -JK
But I'll take that any day over Philadelphia, who's top region-specific pick was Rage Against the Machine's Evil Empire.
Ha ha. Suck it, Philly! -JK
People Who Most Identify as Fans of “Experimental” Music Mostly Just Mean They Like Radiohead and Animal Collective
Among the Top 20 for people who are fans primarily of experimental music, 9 of them are by either Radiohead or Animal Collective (or Animal Collective members). And one of them is Illinois by Sufjan Stevens. Hmm. -MC
Despite Their Best Efforts, P4K Has Not Been That Successful in Creating Devoted Fans of Non-rock Genres
They deserve credit for upping their hip-hop coverage significantly over the years, have been champions of uncommercial genres like black metal and dubstep, and generally made an attempt to put a spotlight on strange records from all over, but the people who read Pitchfork are pretty much just into indie rock for life. Nice try? -JK
Even on the Nexus of All That is Indie, and Even With Major Record Labels in the Worse Shape They've Ever Been, Only 56% of the Top 200 Records Came From Indie Labels
We just thought it would be higher is all. -JK
Wrapping Our Heads Around Merge Records as the Most Dominant Indie Label Going
5 percent of the People's List consists of albums released by Raleigh's Merge Records, including two of the top 5 (by different, though not dissimilar artists). When we think about truly dominant indie labels, our minds still sort of turn to 90s-cemented names like the Matadors, Sub Pops, and 4ADs. That might kind of, sort of, date us at this point? -JK