Name: Critical Metrics
If we were to determine what the best songs ever are, how could we do it? Rather, is it even possible to approach such a task and ensure that the end results will be even slightly reliable and/or universal? That is, in which sense is a song “better” than other? Instrumentally? Due to some distinctive production trickery? Because the song had cultural and historical transcendence? In terms of how it performed in the charts? As you can see, it is an endless debate. Still, people being people we want to find a sort of answer to these questions. If we are a fan of a band, having such information at hand always has a sort of self-affirmative effect. And that is where a site like this one steps right in.
Critical Metrics aims to let you know which 40 songs rank among the best in history. It does so by collating a true wealth of information, including “rave reviews, playlists, year-end lists, awards, artist & celebrity picks, and other editorial superlatives” as they explain on the site. The idea, then, is to create a bibliographical database of these songs that have been recommended the most throughout history. This database goes as far as 1890, and over 60,000 songs are featured so far. They have made a deliberate effort to bypass no era or type of song, and that is where the eventual strength of Critical Metrics might truly lie. That is, if they can fire up the imagination and interest of users they could come up with an active community suggesting new songs to be added all the time, and recommending them so that they climb towards the top spots.
These were the Top 10 songs in the “Rock” category when I checked the site out:
NIRVANA “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM “North American Scum” (2007)
THE KILLERS “When You Were Young” (2006)
TV ON THE RADIO “Wolf Like Me” (2006)
GRINDERMAN “No Pussy Blues” (2007)
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM “All My Friends” (2007)
THE WHITE STRIPES “Icky Thump” (2007)
THE BEACH BOYS “God Only Knows” (1966)
ARCTIC MONKEYS “Fluorescent Adolescent” (2007)
SEX PISTOLS “God Save The Queen” (1977)
While both new and old songs are featured, the list showcases that a system like this one might accommodate the tastes of younger listeners best. They are more prone to use the Internet than older music lovers. Rather, they are more partial to immerse themselves in sites that need a social input by their users.
While personally I think it is impossible to weigh up something which is subjective by definition such as music and determine which ones are the top songs ever, I have to say that this initiative is interesting to say the least. And if I had to approach a task like it, I think I would have done it similarly. No – I would have done it exactly like this. Yet always bearing the resignation that the task at hand is an endless one, and that no matter what you do there will always be a margin too wide to be covered for the system to work satisfactorily.