I linked through to RS from somewhere else for some reason; doesn’t matter. What matters is the awful, awful things they’ve put in their top 500 albums chart.
Everyone has his limits. “No U2 album shall be above every Who album,” for instance. Or “No ‘Greatest Hits’ album shall be in the top 400.”
Rankings are a combination of opinion, mood, timing, and probably 10 or 100 other factors, only one of which measures what the scale is supposed to measure. And when RS or SI or the Sun Herald or anyone else puts out a “Top x” list of anything, they anger or perplex every single reader. Every single one. There’s no one at home saying “Wow, they got it exactly right again, Alice.” No one. Not even Alice’s idiot husband.
This is what I want: the reader at home can peruse a list of 500 albums, can see a blank interspaced every five numbers, and can say something like “Well, obviously Hambone Lardstump’s seminal Bloodpuppy album comes in at number 15.”
And they can’t cheat. They have to come up with, say, a top 500 albums of all time list, then remove every fifth album. In other words, they can’t just come up with a top 400 list, then shoehorn blanks in there. Because I’d still get mad at them, that’s why!
No angst, no fuss, and everyone stays happy. Even Lardstump’s rabid followers.