I could never pick five of anything based on relative greatness.
  • I could never pick five of anything based on relative greatness.
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Dear Hipster: Top five desert-island album choices? — Hannah (listening to My Bloody Valentine in Talmadge)

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while now, not afraid per se, but reticent to meet this fraught and most demanding challenge. This is the kind of thing that makes friends into casual acquaintances and makes enemies out of people you’ve never met before. Ten of ten hipsters agree that this is a grade-A can o’ worms. But, I can shirk duty no longer. From oldest to newest:

(1) Bach: The Goldberg Variations, by Glenn Gould (1955);

(2) Axis: Bold as Love, by the Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967);

(3) Another Green World, by Brian Eno (1975);

(4) Doolittle, by the Pixies (1989); and

(5) 69 Love Songs, by the Magnetic Fields (1999).

Cool. Now that that’s out there, I will explain my criteria, which, unsurprisingly, don’t reflect any kind of common-sense qualifications.

As an initial caveat, I’ll stress that I could never pick five of anything based on relative greatness. That task demands far too much of even the cagiest hipster. On the whole, I have selected the preceding five albums because they represent, in my opinion, the most hipster musical achievements of the final decades of the 20th Century.

You ask, why do I ignore the 21st Century? Because the current century has been more or less dominated by hipsters, as a consequence of which it’s a lot harder to do something actually hipster when hipsterness is pretty mainstream. Maybe in 20 years or so that will change.

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