‘The culture surrounding music is as important as the music itself’: a statement that is as applicable to the 60s’ convergence of rock ‘n’ roll and social consciousness as it is today, in the internet era. Documenting the culture is an inevitable by-product of engaging with the musicfor purposes of lists like these. What will 2014 be remembered for, musically speaking, in the years to come? Will it be Mark Kozalek’s comically ornery antics or will it be Benji? Will it be Perfect Pussy or Meredith Graves’ incisive social commentary? Will Future Islands be remembered for ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’, or the Letterman performance of the same song?
The most accurate answer is both. The culture is so inextricably bound to the music itself that when deciding where something should fit on a list of the year’s best fifty albums, we’re doomed to look further than its musical quality and venture towards value judgment territory – the persuasiveness of which is swayed by music’s place in the culture at the time of its release, and the place it will occupy in the years to come. Kanye West once said that in thirty years’ time Coldplay will be bigger than the Beatles. That’s his opinion, just as these lists are ours.
Read and enjoy.
– Zia Haffejee, Music Editor
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