Disclaimer/Explanation for my Top Songs Blogs
A while ago, I decided it would be fun to compile a playlist of the best popular songs of each decade I have been alive. After spending some time organizing my massive music collection, it made sense to make this into something I could share with others. This was obviously a slightly daunting task, especially if I wanted to make it worthwhile for others to read. I knew that some people probably wouldn’t care all that much, but I also knew that there had to be a lot of people out there like me that would get a kick out of reliving the popular music from earlier times in their life. I know that I personally love the feeling of discovering an old song I loved but have forgotten about, or hearing a song that takes me back to the time in which I originally heard it. Over the course of researching what to include in my playlists, I discovered several songs that I had somehow missed, despite their popularity. Now they are staples in my day-to-day listening, and I would love to bring something like that to others.
So how would I go about it?
I came up with this criteria for which songs to include in my countdowns and which order to rank them in:
1. Straight up, the song HAD to be a billboard charting hit single from the time period specified.
There is a seemingly endless amount of awesome music from any time period, especially with how much music is released in the modern era. As much as I love many songs more than some of what made this list, it just makes sense to only include songs that achieved a high level of fame. This would allow readers to be familiar with most if not all of the songs on the countdown, and increase the chances that everyone will get something out of it. It would also make it more likely that readers would check out the few songs that they may not be familiar with. I realize a lot of people don’t enjoy the kinds of songs that become mainstream popular, and that’s totally cool. But this just made the most sense for taking on such a big project.
2. Novelty songs were typically excluded, unless I happened to really take to it.
A lot of songs in each era become top hits due to having some sort of joke/dance/novelty about them. These are often tracks that don’t fit under the formal formula, but have something to hook people in to make up for the nonsense (see recent hits like “Gangnam Style”) . If I really liked it, it wasn’t disqualified, but this is why you won’t see songs like “Macarena” or “Hollaback Girl” on my lists. It’s cool if you enjoy them, but it’d be hard for me to take my own list seriously if I included songs I disliked for the sole reason that they sold a lot of copies. After all, a best movie list wouldn’t have “The Phantom Menace” or “Transformers 2” just because they both are top-grossers.
3. Once I had narrowed down which songs made the cut, chart success and sales numbers were important to the order.
I spent a lot of time making a giant playlist of songs I felt should be included, intending for these lists to be the top 100. After tons of deliberation and effort, I realized there were just too many songs I wanted to include to accurately achieve that balance between having a list of what was popular, and a list of what I liked. The decision was made to turn them into top 200 lists, and to narrow it down I put a great deal of stock in how successful songs had been. Generally speaking, bigger hits were placed higher up on the countdown. The exception to this is….
4. Final and most important criteria: My Personal Taste.
Look, if you wanted to read a list of what songs were most popular according to just sales numbers, radio plays, or chart success, there’s websites like Billboard.com that will tell you all that. Personal preference is an incredibly subjective aspect of something like this, and I wasn’t about to claim I had made the end-all, be-all list of what the best songs of the era were. I realize that I am not more qualified than anyone else over what deserves to be recognized, but I will say that a lot of free-time and research went into making these lists the best they could be. When in doubt, I put songs I liked over songs I didn’t, but with the caveat that I tried not to let my personal taste replace obvious differences in success. In simpler terms, if a song I love didn’t do all that well on the charts, I wasn’t about to put it over a song that was a much bigger hit unless I felt compelled to. These countdowns essentially became the songs I liked the most out of what made it big.
Too Long, Didn’t Read Version: These lists are a combination of critical quality, chat/sales success, and subjective taste on my part.
So that was it. Don’t expect some smug list trashing pop music for not having merit, and definitely don’t take it all too seriously (I realize that how that comes off from someone who just wrote 6 paragraphs of a disclaimer before you’ve even read the articles). Have some fun, relive some nostalgia, and you’ll get the most out of it. Your list would look different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with mine!
Now, on to the countdowns!