Saturday, December 31, 2005

The 16th Annual Reynolds Top 20 List

Maybe I Should Make This a Podcast Next Year?

“Seriously, you listen to the discs in your car? What’s wrong with you?”
Steve Reynolds (a.k.a me) talking to a subscriber in February of this year.

Hello readers, both new and old. For those of you exposed to the list for the first time this year (of which there are a few), let me explain what you’re holding in your hands. This loosely stapled pack of papers is my annual attempt to sum up the year in pop culture as I see it. Somehow my jaded (and occasionally insane with lovesick-depression) mind has been able to crank out a bunch of gibberish about albums, singles, concerts, movies and TV shows for 16 years now. This process usually makes me a bit cranky and incredible stressed out at the end of the year. (Hmm, maybe it’s this list that makes me act like the Grinch around the holidays, not working near the Rock Center Christmas tree.) So if you’re reading this, you’re someone who I think might share the same sensibilities. Or like my potty-mouthed humor throughout, whatever.

(RT20 veterans, you can start reading again.) So let me admit this: I never expected the response I got from last year’s multi-media edition of the list. Those two CDs of my fake radio show elicited more feedback than anything else I’ve ever done with this crappy little end of the year rag. People listened to those two CDs in their cars, at home, while on vacation and even put it in their iPods. I was constantly amazed, and I thank all of you for the great feedback and compliments.

Of course, all that positive reinforcement is not something I’m used to, or accept very easily. And that just about increased my self-created pressure while planning this year’s edition to new almost-lethal heights. I spent a good deal of time during the summer trying to plan out what my next radio show could be, and how much time it would take and if I’d have to actually pay my voice and production talent this time around (they were cheap suckers the first time around—ha ha). I thought about doing a one disc show of the top singles of the year or perhaps two discs that would cover most of the Songs of the Week from this year. I even thought about an audio documentary about me making this list, but I figured nobody needed to hear me belching, farting and yelling while I type (the people I work with have to live with that five days a week already).

And then I had a couple of things come along that postponed those plans: 1) I spent four months pursuing a book deal (which, alas, had the plug pulled on it in early December) and 2) I’ve taken a part-time job creating a classic alternative radio format that will be launched in early January on the ’net and elsewhere. I can’t go into full details about what it entails, but let me just say this: when you find yourself working on Thanksgiving night at 10pm in an office with no heat, you kind of start thinking, “Did I sign on to do too much? And did my pinky toe just fall off inside my Doc Martens?” So with this extra work, you can see why I would be a little hesitant to try and create something to follow-up last year’s Top 20 radio show. But that doesn’t mean I won’t do one next year.

One final note—this list was the easiest to write since the first one, which I only listed the albums and wrote nothing else. Doing two different blogs over the past year had certainly made the creative muscles in my mind easier to access and get working, once I can pull myself away from watching Miracle for the 138th time it’s shown on Starz. (For those that don’t know, the two blogs are the Reynolds Top 20 which contains all of the previous issues of the RT20, and Zisk, which is an offshoot of the baseball fanzine my friend Mike and I co-edit.) I wrote something once a week for the RT20 blog, and while the Mets season was going, I wrote something everyday for the Zisk blog. Let me tell you, coming up with new ways to say “Braden Looper blew an important game” forces you to up your level of writing and made me able to crank out copy at a stunning pace. (Everything you read after this page was written over a space of six eight-hour working days, which is a record for me. And no, I wasn’t on coke, only Diet Coke.)

Well, that’s it for this year’s babbling explanation. Thanks once again for reading this pile of my loves, likes, neuroses, paranoid fantasies, weird ideas to change the music scene and many half-baked jokes. May it keep you in good company in your bathroom or your train ride home.

It's True, We All Are (I)Pod People

2005's Top 20 Albums

Top 10 Headlines I Hope I Don't Write in 2006

2005's Top 20 Singles

Other Musical Stuff From 2005

Top 10 Visual Aids