Designating something as “the best” can be tricky, especially when it comes to music, which occupies such intensely personal space in our human lives—even among folks who deal with it professionally (or “professionally,” some/they might say).
There’s a place in this world for best-of lists, of course—and a time, too. Usually that time is the end of the calendar year. So, right about now. And sure, weighing the year’s new releases against one another and fussing over rankings can aid in the digestion of the previous twelve-ish months. But often some real truths, and some really good music, get lost in the shuffle.
It’s not that we are categorically opposed to best-of lists, nor that we think any music is too precious to be reviewed or ranked or argued about. It’s just sort of a bummer that lists are so often offered up as the one tool for getting at the real guts of the most important/dumb/amazing/silly art in our lives.
Unbest celebrates the inarguable: the music that impacted us (fans, writers, artists—listeners) in major and totally undoubtable ways this year. Music released whenever, by whomever, that crawled into our lives and lingered—for weeks, months, or maybe just one crucial/weird/fantastic afternoon. Ways that aren’t up for debate in blog comment sections or Twitter feeds or even over beers with friends. No bulleted list will do unbest justice.
Do you have a story about the unbest music you encountered in 2011? It can be music you loved, or hated, or felt weirdly neutral about but somehow still managed to have a profound relationship with. It can be a series of bullet points or an essay or something in-between. We are looking for honest, funny, thoughtful writers of all stripes (professionals and dabblers, and professional dabblers) to share. (If you want to submit but you’re feeling stumped, here are some ideas.)
— Your submission about the music of your choice
- Previously unpublished, please.
- A couple hundred words would be ideal, but longer or shorter is fine.
- You wanna send in more than one thing? Um, we’d be thrilled.
— A good link to somewhere online that readers can hear the artist, album or song you’re writing about.
— A super super brief bio and link to your blog, Twitter account, whatever (if you want, you can also be posted anonymously).
You can also:
— Write something on Tumblr and tag it with “unbest” to get our attention (or just submit it here)
— Did we mention you can submit it here?
Submissions will be accepted until Jan. 31st, 2011 (because, you know, people do still have important encounters with music even in the end-of-year wasteland that is December) and posted on a rolling basis.
The additional details
— We cannot pay you.
— We reserve the right to edit your submission for length and minor style points.
— We cannot guarantee that we will publish your submission.
— You retain all rights to whatever original materials you submit.
— We got the idea for this from The Millions’ Year In Reading series, which is great.
Updated: Dec. 6, 2011.