I’ve spent lots of time scouring this year’s "Best of" lists, and I thought I should pass along what I have learned.  These are not my recommendations (though I often approve), these are what I have gleaned from the recommendations of media critics.  They are my judgment of the most common selections on the "Best of" lists, noting that I did not check the lists from publications I do not enjoy and thus there is an implicit filter being applied.

So here is my aggregation:

1. Non-fiction book: Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise.

2. Fiction book: Tree of Smoke, or The Savage Detectives.

2. Miscellaneous book: Letters of Ted Hughes.  Everyone loves this, I haven’t read it yet.

3. Movie: No Country for Old MenThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly gets lots of picks, given that it is playing in only two cities.

4. Classical CD: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Sings Peter Lieberson, "Neruda Songs."  Read the excellent Ed Uyeshima review on Amazon, it is first.

5. Popular music: LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver, or possibly Neon Bible, by Arcade Fire.

I still can’t figure out the consensus jazz CD of the year.  Any help?

I might add that the non-meta me basically approves of this list, with two caveats.  First, the Lieberson CD, while quite good, in part received so many mentions because the singer, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, met a young and tragic death this last year.  It was her husband who composed these songs for her.  Second, I don’t myself have clear picks for popular music.  I do a lot of my popular music buying in December, when the "Best of" lists come out.  I did put on LCD Soundsystem this morning but was bored by it on first listening.


Man, I somehow missed the news that LHL died this year. That's so horrible. Her Handel recording from about 2004 (selections from Theodora and Serse, plus an Italian cantata) is simply the best thing ever.

Any recommendation for best charity?

No Country for Old Men--A further thought: If the villain is supposed to repreent pure evil, whatever that means, why doesn't he go into politics, where he could accomplish so much more? That he is confined to randomly shooting people and animals would show that the power of evil is very confined. But the film certainly didn't develop that theme.

re: LCD Soundsystem -

i, too, was bored by LCD Soundsystem on first listen. and not just their most recent record, but pretty much all of their releases have taken time to grow on me. but grow they have! "All My Friends," esp., has a very nice build and a fair amount of hidden subtlety, although the radio edit available on a recent EP snips a bit of the excess off (on the same EP is a Franz Ferdinand "remix," which is really more of a cover. it is worth hearing). "North American Scum" is a nice rejoinder to all the Euro-electronic snobs out there. Also please check out "45:33." The titled refers to the length -- 45 minutes, 33 seconds -- of this track, which was commissioned by Nike as part of their Nike+iPod marketing campaign. It is intended as a workout soundtrack, so it ebbs and flows accordingly. i don't ever work out, so i get a little bit lost in the middle, but the first 10 minutes or so are bomb. it was available as a free download on itunes for awhile; not sure if it still is or not.

Go see LCD Soundsystem live and then you'll realize why you didn't like them at first. Boooooring....

My pick for album of the year would be Of Montreal's "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?" which everyone seems to have forgotten about now because it came out so early in the year... Still, LCD Soundsystem makes my top 10. Listen to Someone Great and All My Friends over and over until you understand why they're perfect. Then you can branch out to the other tracks, if you want to (I usually don't). And I have to disagree about LCD Soundsystem live: They're pretty great, if erratic.

As I remember, Tyler likes My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth and such. My pick for him would be Blonde Redhead's "23". Kinda defines 'over-produced', but a really beautiful listen. Also, the best Deerhunter tracks are fantastic. Try their song "Cryptograms" and then accept that they're not always this good:

You forgot "Crank dat Soulja Boy", which tells the economic truth that "haters get mad ' cause I got me some Baby Apes"

Oh jeez, what did I love this year in music?!? Wow.

The new Radiohead is okay, but no better than their third best. Quite a few annoying tracks. Killers? Throwback melodic music works for me, but lyrics really don't. In a different genre, Patty Griffin was nice but sure didn't blow me away. Nothing I've heard is nearly as good as Neko Case's "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood", or Fiona Apple's "Extraordinary Machine", or Sufjan Stevens' "Illinois", so either this has been an off-year, or I've been too distracted.

At least Aimee Mann has a new one coming soon. That's the pop genius and rock's excellent alliteratrix who will have me hooked 'til Tuesday, 2047.

Best jazz CD of the year - The Bad Plus - Prog.

To clarify: Soulja Boy has some BATHING apes. They are shoes. From Japan.

Good list, Tyler.

Bighow has more than 150 links in its best 0f 2007 tag.

best charity?

can't believe you left out madlibs #83!

To the people recommending best charity - any particular source or reasoning for these picks, like along the lines of a ?

When you name-drop GiveWell, you should mention that you founded the organization. Particularly since you started the conversational thread about "best charities" in order to drop the name of your organization, failing to reveal that conflict of interest seems a little sleazy.

You and your partner have been using anonymous or misleading names all over the web to recommend your charity or denigrate other charities without revealing that you work for the organization. Considering that your organization purports to value "transparency" in charitable giving, your dishonesty in astroturfing to shill for it and to cast aspersions on your competitors don't inspire confidence in your organization.

For anyone interested in learning more about the dishonesty of Elie and the Givewell team, visit Metafilter.

Chris, LHL died in July 2006, not 2007. See though the redesign of his site seems to prevent these posts from being seen. There's a collection of all the remembrances.

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