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The Pitchfork 500: Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present Paperback – November 11, 2008


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The Pitchfork 500: Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present + The Pitchfork Review Issue #1 + The Pitchfork Review Issue #2
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (November 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416562028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416562023
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #888,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Scott Plagenhoef, the editor-in-chief, lives in Chicago.

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Customer Reviews

To this I answer...no duh.
Son of the Rap Bandit
I don't agree with all the songs listed in the book but for the most part I do and I have found some interesting tracks from this book.
Visitor Q
I have learned a lot about the back-stories, relevancy, and/or even hidden meanings about some of my favorite songs.
Erik Calcott

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Erik Calcott on December 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Preface: I am a 40 year old music fan who prefers the "indie" stuff, so I've long been a reader of Pitchfork. Like any review site, however, all ratings are subjective opinion and shouldn't be interpreted as gospel.
That said: This is a great book. I have learned a lot about the back-stories, relevancy, and/or even hidden meanings about some of my favorite songs. Mostly, however, it's turned me on to songs I had never heard. This book doesn't only cover "alternative" or "indie" music, it runs the gamut. (Although, as the years progress, there is more of a slant towards their niche.) For anyone who likes music, this is worth picking up. You'll find yourself re-listening to, no - re-hearing songs for the first time. (How's that for pretentious.) Of course you won't agree with every selection, but it is a worthwhile collection of substantial tunes. Well done.
Finally: It's funny to me that people don't see the irony of giving poor reviews to a book of compiled reviews. It's not the opinion that matters, it's that there are opinions.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Howard on November 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
How would the smug folks at pitchfork review their own book? I'm giving it a 6.0 in their parlance. But first, a few things that you need to know: 1)the book is songs only, 2)virtually all of the p-fork reviewers contributed to this book (including some non-regulars like Douglas Wolk), 3)the inclusions and exclusions will drive you as crazy as some of their album reviews.

It's interesting that p-fork ever created this title. It's such an odd concept: it's limited to 1977 - present, it's songs only, and it eschews some standard record guide tenets. I half expected the preface to berate me for even buying it! You will find some interesting nuggets and some b-sides you weren't familiar with. The book delivers in that sense. I agree with another reviewer who suggested that it needs an editor (much like this review). There are some odd little two page spreads where a reviewer extends on a particular genre of music. These essays were interesting, but some are intended as humorous (yacht rock?) while most are straightforward. The inconsistency seems sloppy to me. I was hoping that one reviewer-voice would emerge from the website and take hold of this thing. Instead, it feels like a mish-mash.

In the end, I would recommend this to music nerds like myself but not to the general public. On pitchfork's website they have lists of "best albums by decade." Those lists are more useful in the traditional sense, and I would recommend them to most folks.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Visitor Q on November 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be very insightful and it is a good conversation piece for when friends come over and see it on the table. It has helped a great deal when it comes to making mix CDs for people. I don't agree with all the songs listed in the book but for the most part I do and I have found some interesting tracks from this book.
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17 of 25 people found the following review helpful By dooflow on November 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
I did learn of some new songs from this, and I'm ecstatic about that. Sometimes I was forced to think about an artist/song in a way I hadn't before. These are fantastic accomplishments. I enjoyed reading it, but was there an editor? The very first entry gets one of its facts wrong; later there's misspellings, at least two instances of subject-verb disagreement, and one sentence that went nowhere and didn't even make poetic sense. Fragments. I appreciate the subjective nature of their reviews (Bellbottoms as the important JSBX song?), but often they are show off-ish, pandering, and cutesy. I like Pitchfork (except for their belief that Springsteen actually matters) but this feels like an undergrad project that an ex-prom committee chairperson put together ("Great job, guys!" even though everything is crooked and amateurish.)

I think you should buy this, I'm sure you'll love arguing with it as much as you agree with it. I did. I just expected some professionalism & care.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carlton T. Barzon on June 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great reading whether you're trying to get into lesser-known pop music or are already a connoisseur. Would buy it again in a heartbeat.
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