Since time immemorial (ie: 1995), Pitchfork.com has been the music tastemaker for anyone with a beer-making kit and a mustache comb. But what if you're a person with a straight job and a sensible haircut, and don't have time to read Pitchfork religiously but still want to know what the kids are into these days? Designer Edward Segel is here to help with his Year in Reviews 2010, which plots Pitchfork album reviews on an interactive bell curve.
Pitchfork ranks albums on a handy ten-point scale, although they appear to grade on a curve. (The majority of 2010's albums rated a 7.5.) But who cares about the fat middle? The edges are where the action is, and Segel includes handy filtering buttons on the chart that zero in on the fun stuff. Here's Pitchfork's Best New Music picks:
Never heard of Fang Island? [Insert disaffected eye-roll here.] Segel's got you covered — just click on any one of these little musical gems and you'll be whisked right to Pitchfork.com's review, which will tell you what to think. (To wit: Fang Island's sound is "fractured like any post-punk record while also speaking the language of classic rock," but they "aren't total deconstructionists." Thank goodness!)
The chart also includes a search function, which is especially fun when applied to polarizing figures like Kanye West:
Kanye's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" sent Pitchfork into full-on ecstasy, rating not only a perfect "10" but their #1 album of the year honors, too. So what's that straggler hanging out on the wrong side of the curve? It's Kanye's contribution to some silly VH1-sponsored live series where artists break into spontaneous monologues in the middle of performing. (Isn't that what Kanye does anyway?) Yeah, we'd probably give that a resounding "meh" too.