Worthwhile daveweigel.com initiative

So: I’m just now finishing one of the busier work weeks in months. 20-odd posts at the Economist. 20-odd posts and two articles at the WIndy. (The features in The Guardian and Reason were written a while back.)

What do I do with this site? It’ll focus mostly on music and media and stuff I like, I think. Over the year I want to do a few lists of that same stuff, as if I were an editor at Vanity Fair or something: lists of the X best that or Y most influential this of the decade. The first one I tooled around with last night was “the musicians of the decade.”

My working list:

T-Bone Burnett
Jack White
The Neptunes: Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo
The Wainwrights: Loudon, Rufus, and Martha
Kanye West
The Elephant 6 Collective
Death Cab for Cutie

What they all have in common, except for LWIII and T-Bone Burnett is that they did the bulk of their work in this decade. What those two guys have in common with the rest is that they produced the defining music of the decade more than once. Here, for example, are songs that Burnett produced, one per project, between 2000 and 2009.

Joseph Arthur – “In the Sun” (2000)
The Soggy Bottom Boys – “I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow” (2000)
Sam Phillips – “How to Dream” (2001)
Lauren Hill – “Selah” (2002)
Tony Bennett and KD Lang – “What a Wonderful World” (2002)
Mitch and Mickey – “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow” (2003)
Alison Krauss – “You Will Be My Ain True Love” (2003)
Sam Phillips – “Reflecting Light” (2004)
Autolux – “Turnstile Blues” (2004)
Cassandra Wilson – “Closer to You” (2006)
T-Bone Burnett – “Earlier Baghdad” (2006)
Brandi Carlisle – “The Story” (2007)
Joe Anderson – “Hey Jude” (2007)
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – “Gone Gone Gone” (2007)
John Mellancamp – “Trouble Land” (2008)
T-Bone Burnett – “Kill Zone” (2008)

He also produced the Walk the Line soundtrack, which I don’t particularly care for, but if you’re willing to consider it, there’s another cultural artifact you can credit him with, along with the album that became the Gilmore Girls soundtrack (one of the decade’s best shows), one of the decade’s instant standards (that would be “In the Sun”), two bizarre experiments of varied quality (the Across the Universe soundtrack and the Plant/Kraus record), and what I think is the best-selling bluegrass album of all time in the O Brother soundtrack.

Obviously I need to spend more time with his stuff, and have the hardest time artistically defending Coldplay, who I saw on the Parachutes tour and was pretty meh’d out by. I’ll be working this from time to time, though.

One thought on “Worthwhile daveweigel.com initiative

  1. deathcab for cutie? for the indie rock slot, i’d wish for a band with more distinguished contributions. deathcab epitomizes all that is bland in indie rock – many albums that sound like they could be the same album. the decemberists seem to capture the beautifully-out-there. and broken social scene, how mumbling can still be catchy.

Leave a Reply