Friday, August 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Pitchfork’s ‘People’s List’ cause for self-reflection

By
From page B1 | August 24, 2012 |

decicco column sig
Earlier this month, music website Pitchfork.com decided to celebrate its first 15 years by hosting a “People’s List,” a listener-submitted poll culminating with a list of the top 200 albums from 1996 to 2011.

The results, issued Wednesday, revealed British alt-rockers Radiohead with the top two spots, three in the top 10 and five total in the list — no alarms and no surprises there. Only Kanye West matched them for appearances as all five of his LPs made the cut.

The outcome generated controversy, too. Slate.com and the Los Angeles Times music blog Pop and Hiss called the People’s List out for its lack of gender and racial equity. Slate’s Jody Rosen called the list a “scandal.”

Looking at the numbers, the first album to include a woman as a band member checks in at No. 3, with Arcade Fire’s co-lead singer Régine Chassagne. The first by a nonwhite is West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” at No. 9. The highest placing by a female solo artist is Björk’s “Homogenic” all the way down at No. 51.

It’s even possible to break down the results regionally. San Franciscans selected Radiohead’s “OK Computer” in the top spot just like the overall list, West’s “Fantasy” at No. 7 and no female solo artists appear in the top 20.

A few more stats from Pitchfork: just shy of 28,000 listeners voted, listing more than 116,000 albums.

My response to Slate and Pop and Hiss’ knee-jerk reaction is to have one of my own, as there are points to the contrary that deserve mention.

Of those 28,000 voters, a puny 12 percent were female. Stats were not kept on the voters’ racial backgrounds.

So, in what is colloquially a male-dominated industry, an audience of roughly 25,000 men chose albums primarily performed by white men? You’d better call Ripley because I don’t believe it.

Without the statistics concerning the racial makeup of the voters, that aspect is harder to discuss.

How Slate can acknowledge that Pitchfork is as much a niche publication as XXL and then criticize it for being one is confusing. Gender equity is not demonstrated by looking at the results of a reader-submitted poll from which the responders are largely males between the ages 16 and 40.

Gawker.com raised a salient point: All of the highest-rated albums in the People’s List also were highly rated by Pitchfork itself. Every album in the list’s top 10 received a grade of 9/10 or higher.

“McDonald’s customers like Big Macs, Bravo viewers like affluent trash and Pitchfork readers like Pitchfork-approved albums,” Rich Juzwiak wrote.

I am open to a measure of self-reflection as well. Of the 100 albums I submitted, nine feature a woman’s name on the spine and seven more are by co-ed groups. Just one album is by a solo artist who is neither white nor male.

I have to agree with Slate that this is alarmingly disproportionate and not at all in keeping with my own values.

So why my strong affection for white dudes? I think it’s human nature — people tend to identify with those who look like them and maybe, subconsciously, I do the same. Musically.

It’s the People’s List, not the Populist’s List. The results should not be viewed as a defense or criticism of Pitchfork. I think it’s pointless and picking the wrong target to criticize a publication for its audience.

The only statistic that spins the focus back on Pitchfork and its staff and away from those who constructed the list is Gawker’s point about the highly rated albums doing best. It does suggest a sheepish mentality by its listeners. I can’t claim to be above it — every one of the albums in the People’s List’s top 10 appears in my own top 100.

It also raises some questions worth asking myself, including, most uncomfortably, do I actually think women and nonwhites don’t make records that are as good as white men?

As someone who considers himself a music connoisseur, my brain tells me I like good music regardless of the performer’s skin color or gender.

Subconsciously, I certainly hope that’s true, too.

To read more of Nick DeCicco’s blogs, visit http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/forthoseabouttorock. Follow him on Twitter @ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Salsa star Domingo Quinones headlines Festival de la Isla

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Green Valley water users appeal court ruling

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

Chapkis Dance brings award-winning moves to Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DA’s departure delays 2012 murder trial

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1

Ducks on the pond, sturgeon in the water

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Jazz invasion Aug. 30 at performing arts center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

How I spent my summer vacation

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Internet cafe measure goes before state Senate

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Housing specialist to speak before Senior Rountable

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Brown approves “dining with dogs” law

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
 
Small fire takes place at Solano College

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

Fairfield police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Aunt of toddler killed pleads not guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Cops greet students at school where plot thwarted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

San Francisco to tally bird-into-window death toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
GPS devices find huge water loss in western US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California plans aid to immigrant minors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
California to appeal ruling tossing death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Stunt blocks traffic on Golden Gate Bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Bodies of 2 men found in adjacent California yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Assembly approves greater disclosure for campaigns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US judge strikes down Florida gay marriage ban

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
American Ebola doc: ‘I am thrilled to be alive’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

No bail for woman in Amish girls’ kidnapping in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Lawyer: Utah restaurant had other chemical burn

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Marathon bombing suspect’s friend pleads guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Indonesian court rejects election loser’s appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Liberia gives food in slum sealed to stop Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Foley case lays bare debate over paying ransom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Pentagon: Islamic State militants will regroup

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Syria opposition: Deadly chemical attack forgotten

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Russian aid convoy advances toward Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Israel kills 3 Hamas military commanders in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Turkey’s Davutoglu named new premier

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Thai army ruler named prime minister

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Record drought saps California honey production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Opinion

Get it straight in Ferguson

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

 
Question of the week: Does school start too soon?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

Editorial Cartoon: Aug. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Are America’s police over-militarized and under-accountable?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

 
Young men helped me, and I thank them

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My whole house shakes when my new neighbors drop their barbells

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Aug. 22-28, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
The voice-overs can’t save ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B2

Review: A sweet Moretz rescues ‘If I Stay’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Emmy hopefuls play the angles to nab trophies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Seth Meyers prizes his new role as Emmycast host

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

‘Doctor Who’ returns with a new season on BBC America

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Julianne Hough dances back to ‘Dancing’ as judge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Jon Hamm hopes Ferguson will come out stronger

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Fade to black: Leonard Maltin ending movie guides

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Raiders’ Woodson returning to Lambeau, faces Pack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Local boxers make weight and are ready to fight

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Serena Williams to face Townsend in Open 1st round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Loose sod at new Levi’s Stadium removed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Phelps back in international comp, advances in 100

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Tigers’ Price throws 1-hitter, loses to Rays 1-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Philly loses to Chicago in LLWS

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Ryu sets course record at Canadian Women’s Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
McIlroy stumbles to 74, worst start in 2 months

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Cal interim AD Williams jumps into new role

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Teams test out a new helmet, but does it work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

Goalkeeper Tim Howard taking break from US team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

Big 2015 Chevy Tahoe remains a rare breed of SUV

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
US housing recovery appears to be back on track

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Airline group forecasts uptick in Labor Day travel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Applications for US unemployment aid fall to 298K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

United lures top fliers with promise of a hot meal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Family Dollar rejects Dollar General offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

S&P 500 closes at a record; Hewlett-Packard gains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Ford recalling more than 160,000 vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bank of America settlement likely to benefit few

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard Ray Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Mary Louise Loveall

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9