The Irish Times brigade of rock critics have made another terrible list! Yes, you'd think they would have learned by now wouldn't you, but the critics who have been responsible for some of the best broadsheet music writing just cannot seem to get it right when it comes to lists.
Their Top 40 Irish Albums here is a largely predictable and safe mix of dated 80's and early 90's Irish rock which obviously had a profound effect on some of the writers at the time the records were released, but it's stupifying to think that much of it is remembered yet alone deemed memorable today. Perhaps having so much time on their hands 'back in the day' when they were hungry, leather-jacket and paisley-shirted clad hacks might have something to do with it? The fast-paced life of a multimedia rock critic these days obviously leaves these redoubtable men with very little time on their hands to get close to, or live with an album they way they could back in the good old days when there was only a handful of releases coming through the letterbox, and a full-scale arts section like The Ticket was something you couldn't even dare to dream about when you were clattering away at a typewriter or a word processor!
But whatever the reason for the slant towards boring, dated albums, the fact that such unspeakable shite such as The Blades, Something Happens, High Llamas, Stars of Heaven, and the most overdubbed live album of all time from Thin Lizzy is in there, as well as far too many albums from single acts (has anyone under the age of 40 even heard at least one Microdisney album, let along two? Has anyone outside Dublin actually sat through two Blades albums? Has Van Morrison really released three decent albums? Do The Undertones deserve two berths?) and career worst albums from Snow Patrol and The Frames, as well as one of the weakest Divine Comedy discs (was it included as a classic 'I heard of them before they were massive' gambit?) are in there ahead of dozens of great albums made in the last 15 years (any number of acts from David Kitt to Kila, Redneck Manifesto to Jimmy Cake, Ann Scott to Mundy, Damien Dempsey to The Walls/The Stunning, The Immediate to Pugwash, Delorentos to Cathy Davey, Luka Bloom to Little Palace, Duke Special to Jape) says much for the vintage of these men and the wisdom in getting their heads together for a good old list.
I'm a relatively old fart too, but I wouldn't be shouting it from the rooftop by praising indescrimate shite such as Stars of Heaven and The Radiators. Even the Hothouse Flowers had more to offer than these atrocious acts. Still, at least they got their number one right and at least they remembered that some good albums have been produced in recent years by the likes of Therapy, Bell X1 and, er, that's it.
It's interesting to note too that there is literally nothing from the 60's and very little from the 70's, whilst the folk and trad worlds get a token mention with a live album from Hayes and Cahill that nobody has ever seen in a shop, and a token mention for Planxty. Should they not have at least invited Siobhan Long into their private members club? Or would she have remembered something from the last 12 years? The elctronica and dance fields are also ignored, save for David Holmes' dated but still slightly vibrant collection of stretched samples "Let's Get Killed".
There's a good oul arguement going on at On The Record about it now. It's highly recommended reading.
Anyway, lest we all fall asleep in memory of the good old days in search of the next U2, the list is:
1 MY BLOODY VALENTINE: LOVELESS (1991)
2 U2: ACHTUNG BABY (1991)
3a A HOUSE: I AM THE GREATEST (1991)
3b THE RADIATORS: GHOSTOWN (1979)
5 VAN MORRISON: ASTRAL WEEKS (1968)
6 MICRODISNEY: THE CLOCK COMES DOWN THE STAIRS (1985)
7 ROLLERSKATE SKINNY: HORSEDRAWN WISHES (1996)
8 THE POGUES: RUM, SODOMY & THE LASH (1986)
9 THE UNDERTONES: THE UNDERTONES (1979)
10 WHIPPING BOY: HEARTWORM (1995)
11 ASH: 1977 (1996)
12 THE BLADES: RAYTOWN REVISITED (1985)
13 THIN LIZZY: LIVE AND DANGEROUS (1978)
14 U2: THE JOSHUA TREE (1987)
15 THERAPY? TROUBLEGUM (1994)
16 PLANXTY: PLANXTY (1973)
17 DAVID HOLMES: LETS GET KILLED (1997)
18 THE STARS OF HEAVEN: SPEAK SLOWLY (1988)
19 nSTIFF LITTLE FINGERS: INFLAMMABLE MATERIAL (1979)
20a THE REVENANTS: HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOUR
20b THE STARS OF HEAVEN: SACRED HEART HOTEL
22 U2: BOY (1980)
23 THE BLADES: LAST MAN IN EUROPE (1984)
24 MY BLOODY VALENTINE: ISN'T ANYTHING (1988)
25 SINÉAD O'CONNOR: I DO NOT WANT WHAT I HAVEN'T GOT (1990)
26 VAN MORRISON: MOONDANCE (1970)
27 SNOW PATROL: EYES OPEN (2006)
28b RORY GALLAGHER: LIVE IN EUROPE (1972)
30 VAN MORRISON: IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW (1974)
31a BELL X1: MUSIC IN MOUTH (2003)
33a THE FRAMES: FOR THE BIRDS (2001 )
33b SOMETHING HAPPENS: STUCK TOGETHER WITH GOD'S GLUE (1990)
35a MARTIN HAYES & DENIS CAHILL: LIVE IN SEATTLE (1999)
35b THE HIGH LLAMAS: HAWAII (1996)
35c THE UNDERTONES: HYPNOTISED (1980)
38 DAMIEN RICE: O (2002)
39 THE POGUES: IF I SHOULD FALL FROM GRACE WITH GOD (1988)
40 MICRODISNEY: CROOKED MILE (1987)