Staff Top 10
Top Ten Things That Should

in late 2002, Stylus scribe Setareh Yousefi wrote a top ten list that detailed a list of things that should. It interested me at the time and I’ve always thought about the types of things that conceivably could happen, but for whatever reason will never transpire. As such, I’ve constructed my own little list of artists and the things that I think they should give a bit of thought to:

01. The Roots
Should record their next album by restricting themselves to only playing what amount to samples of other artist’s work. By twisting the group’s rockist roots on its head and giving themselves a problem to work through, The Roots could artistically challenge themselves and the audience via this small experiment. The group would have an endless amount of material to use AND they could pay homage to their, ahem, roots at the same time. And, besides, it’d be endless hours of fun trying to figure out what drum track ?uestlove is trying to imitate.

02. Fennesz
Should record a microhouse album. With some friends from Vienna involved in the nascent rave scene, it seems like a tantalizing possibility, but Fennesz has never seemed to have much room for beats. Again this might be an experiment in an artist restricting himself, but one wonders what Christian might do if tethered to an identifiable beat, rather than an implied one. We’ll even let Sylvain do the vocals to compromise (if you’re cringing right now, go listen to “Life In Tokyo” and perk up a bit).

03. Ulrich Schnauss
Should enlist Liz Fraser as the sole vocalist for his next album. With the imminent re-release of his second album, it’s becoming clearer that Schnauss is a complete and utter retread of Slowdive and the Cocteau Twins. And I love it. As such, I think he should go the whole nine yards and get Fraser to star on his next album. Imagine the ethereal vocals…ah, whatever. Put on Treasure and imagine it in Technicolor. Even more Technicolor, that is.

04. David Banner
Should record a one-off with Jimmy Eat World. Probably the most far-fetched so far? I think the tastes run the same, however. Both are at the same level commercially, both are interested in emotional lyrics (read: emo) and Banner, at least, doesn’t seem to have a problem indulging with some elements of rock. It’d be a hard sell for both, but I think connecting the dots between this confessional type of rap and the obvious confessional nature of emo is worth a shot. We’ll just have to get Banner to tone down the cursing a bit, I fear.

05. Wilco
Should start a record label. You know: more fodder for each side that wants to build them up or tear them down.

06. Eddie Prevost
Should record a duo with Kevin Drumm. There’s too many reasons why this won’t happen and, as far as I know, all of them have to do with the way the two approach improvised music. I think, though, that both of them are stunningly good at what they do and could benefit from the cognitive dissonance of subsuming themselves a bit for the greater good. Perhaps we could set them up at opposite ends of the room and have them attempt to sonically destroy one another? All in the spirit of communitarism, of course.

07. Superpitcher
Should work with Kylie. Or any pop star for that matter. It seems the obvious move after this year’s Here Comes Love moved even closer to the pop format. One thinks that Aksel could probably help reinvent Kylie once more and increase his stature at the same time. It’s almost as inviting as a collaboration between, say, Britney and the DFA.

08. The Mountain Goats
Should hire Trevor Horn to produce their next album. If you’re going to go halfway… Seriously, Darnielle's latest was not at all the disappointment that some have made it out to be and the song’s with lavish production only hint at the enormous possibilities lying dormant because of a lack of Horn’s signature flamboyantly overdone epics. If the two could agree on some very fertile middle ground, the results might sound a lot like “Step Into My Office, Baby” but, you know, American.

09. The Magnetic Fields
Should work with Richard X on his next album with certain constraints: X can only use samples from music before 1950. By indulging Merritt’s unabashed love for all things white-washed, we could actually construct an album that Merritt would want to have created, had he lived back then. I don’t think Richard will take kindly to the lack of digital effects that he’ll be able to use, but I’m sure he’ll be won over by Merritt’s winsome attitude in the studio (insert winky face here?).

10. Avril Lavigne
Should record an MTV Unplugged performance. Let the songs speak for themselves. So I can stop enjoying her album so much.

By: Todd Burns
Published on: 2004-07-16
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