1998 Poll Results

By theajaysharma

Ah, yes, the end of the year. As time passes on and on, there are several skills that we self-confessed Anglo-audiophiles pick up and take pride in. Among these learned skills could be the ability to find cheap import CD's... the inherent knowledge that Matchbox 20 are crap... the ability to trace ANYTHING back to the Beatles... but tops among these would simply be the ability to COUNT FROM 1 TO 50 -- a skill that comes in awfully handy 'round this time of year. For this is the season of LISTS. The time when we can put aside our differences, join hands, rejoice, and unify in the notion that when we put our heads together, we can single-handedly determine the best and worst of, well, everything that 1998 brought us.

What follows are the results of the 1998 Excellent Poll. We asked the 150+ members of our mailing list to determine the top releases and newsmakers of 1998 (and a very heart-felt thanks to all who participated.) The results prove that 1998 could very well be remembered as a transitional year into new realms -- instead of a poll dominated by a few select artists (see Radiohead, Verve circa 1997) the best releases of THIS year are a diverse bunch, representing all sorts of musical styles. Enough babbling, let's get to it.

The Excellent Mailing List Top 40 Albums of 1998
Rank Artist Album Points
1 Pulp This is Hardcore 517
2 Massive Attack Mezzanine 409
3 Belle & Sebastian Boy with the Arab Strap 364
4 Spiritualized Live Royal Albert Hall 357
5 Elliott Smith XO 305
6 UNKLE Psyence Fiction 294
7 Rialto Rialto 277
8 Placebo Without You I'm Nothing 265
9 Boo Radleys Kingsize 238
10 Fatboy Slim You've Come A Long Way Baby 232
11 Garbage Version 2.0 231
12 Arnold Hillside 222
13 Catatonia International Velvet 202
14 Manic St Preachers This is My Truth Tell Me Yours 186
15 Bernard Butler People Move On 174
16 Ian Brown Unfinished Monkey Business 171
17 Air Moon Safari 168
18 Bluetones Return to the Last Chance Saloon 164
19 Embrace The Good Will Out 156
20 Portishead PNYC 153
21 Unbelieveable Truth Almost Here 142
22 Swervedriver 99th Dream 141
23 Saint Etienne Good Humor 140
24 Mojave 3 Out of Time 114
25 Propellerheads Decksndrumsnrocknroll 110
26 Mercury Rev Desterer's Songs 108
27 Gomez Bring It On 107
28 Komeda What Makes It Go? 106
29 Morcheeba Big Calm 105
30 Space Tin Planet 98
31 Smashing Pumpkins Adore 95
32 Cardigans Gran Turismo 91
33 Candyskins Death of a Minor TV Celebrity 89
34 Sloan Navy Blues 88
35 R.E.M. Up 87
36 Beastie Boys Hello Nasty 86
37 eels Electro-Shock Blues 85
38 Mogwai Kicking a Dead Pig 83
39 Afghan Whigs 1965 78
40 Neutral Milk Hotel In the Aeroplane... 77
Top 10 Other Releases of 1998 (Reissues, Soundtracks, Compilations, etc.)
Rank Artist Album
1 Oasis The Masterplan
2 Radiohead Airbag EP
3 Charlatans UK Melting Pot
4 Soundtrack Velvet Goldmine
5 Depeche Mode Singles
6 U2 Best of
7 John Lennon Anthology
8 Super Furry Animals Outspaced
9 James Best of
10 Various artists For the Masses
The Excellent Mailing List Top 30 Songs of 1998
Rank Artist Song
1 Fatboy Slim Rockafeller Skank
2 Pulp This Is Hardcore
3 Massive Attack Teardrop
4 Placebo Pure Morning
5 UNKLE Lonely Soul
6 Arnold Windsor Park
7 Ian Brown Corpses
8 Rialto Monday Morning 5:19
9 Bluetones 4 Day Weekend
10 Catatonia Road Rage
11 Manic St. Preachers If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next
12 Garbage I Think I'm Paranoid
13 Primal Scream If They Move... MBV Mix
14 Bernard Butler Stay
15 Boo Radleys Free Huey
16 Spiritualized Come Together (Abbey Road)
17 UNKLE Rabbit in Your Headlights
18 Polak 2 Minutes 45
19 Embrace All You Good Good People
20 Beastie Boys Intergalactic
21 Belle & Sebastian Sleep the Clock Around
22 Elliott Smith Waltz #2
23 Marion Miyako Hideaway
24 Madonna Ray of Light
25 Pulp Party Hard
26 Hurricane #1 Rising Sign
27 Swervedriver These Times
28 Bluetones If
29 Propellerheads History Repeating
30 Stardust Music Sounds Better With You
Belle & Sebastian had eight different songs receive votes, while The Bluetones and Pulp each had seven different songs receive votes for the top 10.
The Excellent List Top 15 Bands
Rank Artist Last Years Spot
1 Radiohead 3
2 Spiritualized 4
3 The Verve 5
4 Blur 2
5 Charlatans UK 1
6 Suede 9
7 Pulp 8
8 Boo Radleys 6
9 Oasis 10
10 Belle & Sebastian new
11 Mogwai new
12 Manic Street Preachers new
13 Garbage new
14 Bluetones new
15 Placebo new
If there's any collective "center" to our little world, it's probably the top nine bands you see on the list above (taking into account the love/hate thing with Oasis). The batch of new entries at the bottom of the list are due, in large part, to the fact that the top bands category is now limited to active bands only, which sent the Smiths, the Roses, the Cocteaus, and a few others packing. Still, 1998 certainly appears to have been a breakthrough year for Belle & Sebastian, Placebo, and Mogwai.
The Excellent List Top 5 North American Bands
Rank Artist
1 Dandy Warhols
2 Sloan
3 R.E.M.
4 Yo La Tengo
5 Neutral Milk Hotel
Seems to make sense that our favorite American band sounds like they hail from Southampton rather than Seattle...
Most Loveable Indie Boy
Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, for the second year running
Close behind were Graham Coxon from Blur and Brian Molko from Placebo. 32 different lads got votes, including three different stars from "Velvet Goldmine"
Most Loveable Indie Girl
Cerys from Catatonia wins the IT girl for 1998, by a country mile.
Shirley Manson, Zia from the Dandys, Sarah Cracknell, and Nina from the Cardigans were all well represented. 25 different starlets received votes. So did Damon from Blur, Brett from Suede, and Brian from Placebo -- make of that what you will...
Best Movie
Saving Private Ryan
After two years of this award going to British films,Trainspotting (1996) and The Full Monty (1997), 1998 marksthe first time that a Hollywood film has won this category.Which means one of two things: either Saving Private Ryan is just an astoundingly good film, or that the 2nd place finisher Velvet Goldmine wasn't distributed well enough to pick up the last few votes that it needed. 21 different movies received votes.
Best TV Show
South Park
In case there was any doubt about the internet geek factor of the Excellent UK-Indie Mailer... Exhibit No. 1: South Park edges out the X-Files and the Simpsons for best TV show. Cartoons in general did quite well, with votes for The Powerpuff Girls, King of the Hill, and Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast as well as South Park and The Simpsons.
Indie Universe Event of the Year
New Order reforms
Barney and co. edged out the Bauhaus reunion and Nick McCabe leaving The Verve for this one. Cheers to the responses of "launch of Excellent Online" and "getting on the Excellent list". Flattery will get you everywhere. Best response, "listening to ABC news anchors trying to say 'Smack My Bitch Up' with a straight face".
Best Concert
Shocking, isn't it? Other tours representin' were Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian, Neil Finn, and Swervedriver, but none could approach the support received by the Wonky Eye/Spaceboy hegemony.
Most Disappointing Album
Beastie Boys, Hello Nasty
Others were put off by records from The Bluetones, Shed 7, Embrace, Graham Coxon, Ash, and Placebo.
Biggest Loss
Tie: Nick McCabe from The Verve and Ginger from the Spice Girls
There's no accounting for some things, is there?
Worst Band
Tie: Oasis and Korn
Of course, Oasis is also the lists' ninth favorite band and"The Masterplan" was only the #1 reissue of 1998. Apparently some people think this category is "worst band that other people on the list like". Also reviled were Matchbox 20, Puff Daddy, Alanis Satanette, and Celine Dion.
Gone But Not Forgotten
A classy response. Others are, quite understandably, still hung up on Dead Can Dance, the Cocteau Twins, Lush, and The Smiths.
Brightest Hope
Animal House
Now if they'd just put out some records, we'd be all set. A very strong 2nd place showing went to Ultrasound, with Polak and Sing Sing also getting consideration.
Excellent List Hall of Fame Inductees
The Beatles
The Smiths
Joy Division
There's been a spot of trouble on the list as to what to be done about those mop-tops from Liverpool. The conclusion we've reached is that The Beatles should have been automatically included in the H.O.F. from the get-go, and we're cleaning up that little problem now. Obviously, we'd all be living in hovels and foraging for roots and berries in a permanent state of genetic deprivation were it not for Lennon and McCartney. (And George!, but probably not so much so Ringo). But, getting back to the point, The Beatles were voted in by this year's poll, but as it was beneath them to have to be voted in, we're going to allow in two other bands as well. Which brings us to... The Smiths, who received more votes than any band ever for Hall of Fame entry. Welcome lads, but you can leave that Morrissey solo stuff at the door, thanks, and Joy Division, another obvious choice especially in a year that New Order started working together again.
Next year's leading candidates are Spacemen 3, Lush, Adorable, and The Jam. If the Cocteau Twins fans ever get themselves organized, they're likely to make it in as well.