The pop music coverage over at the Dallas Morning News after its most recent round of layoffs and buyouts (which saw longtime critics Mike Daniel take a buyout and Thor Christensen laid off) has been, well, a tad underwhelming of late, to put it mildly. It certainly doesn't doesn't help that copy now comes solely from music editor Dawn Burkes (who may or may not be on maternity leave at the moment--not sure), critic Mario Tarradell, some freelancers, and, yep, a little help from Star-Telegram-ers too, a la the two papers' near-merging of their sports departments.
So maybe it isn't surprising, then, that it's Tarradell, whose expertise seems to run specifically in the country, Tejano and Christian music realms, who provides the paper's definitive year-end top albums and concerts list this morning.
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Of course, unfortunate layoffs and all, it's still a little surprising (and unsettling?) to see a secular newspaper list Christian rock act Third Day's 2008 efforts as both the No. 1 album of the year (for Revelation, of course) and the No. 2 concert of the year, no? Not at all surprisingly, Christian web sites this morning are already praising Tarradell's choice (pun definitely intended), but I don't get it--or any of the other selections on his list, really.
Admittedly, I haven't listened to the much-beloved Jamey Johnson record that Tarradell lists at No. 8 yet, but the rest of it is kinda mind-boggling--and a little out of touch, maybe? I'll vouch for old-timers AC/DC (No. 7), Metallica (No. 6) and Al Green's (No. 10) discs as being solid releases--but I wouldn't really put 'em anywhere near my top 10 (which, yes, I'll post sometime later this week on DC9).
And the rest of the list? Well, it largely reads like a country/Christian/Tejano music writer trying to pretend as if those genres put out the best records '08 saw--a sentiment I doubt many would agree with.
Not trying to knock Tarradell here, really--hell, he's carrying three loads at the moment, and that can't be easy. More than anything, consider this a knock on the DMN parent company Belo for leaving its staff in this position. --Pete Freedman