Let's do it again, one more time

In the next century, please bring me freedom from these dreaded Top 10 album lists. May I never again have to enumerate for the public the fact, obvious by omission, that I do not give a hoot about hip-hop or modern rock or the latest bit of arch obscurity that will prove I can manage modern irony and still relate to the kids, dude. Allow me to be a middle-aged white guy who may still write about music, and may even still be passionate about it, but can contentedly dismiss the music I don't care to listen to without a twinge of guilt. And may I never again have to encounter Top 10s by other critics that read like they were chosen to make a point, be it how "hip" that critic is, or how "liberal" the critic wants to be seen as, or how positively underground and obscure they wish they were. May I, in the next century, be proud to raise my not-so-freak flag for well-crafted songs, done with class and finesse, by artists with something to say.

National Top 10
1. Los Lobos, This Time (Hollywood Records)

2. Pretenders, Viva El Amor (Warner Bros. Records)

3. Wilco, Summer Teeth (Reprise Records)

4. XTC, Apple Venus, Vol. 1 (TVT Records)

5. Ned Sublette, Cowboy Rumba (Palm Pictures)

6. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Echo (Warner Bros. Records)

7. Buddy Miller, Cruel Moon (Hightone Records)

8. Various Artists, Bleecker Street: Greenwich Village in the '60s (Astor Place)

9. Richard Thompson, Mock Tudor (Capitol Records)

10. Various Artists, Bringing It All Back Home: The Influence of Irish Music (Valley Records)

Texas Top 10

1. Texas Tornados, Live From The Limo, Vol. 1 (Virgin Records)

2. The Gourds, Ghosts of Hallelujah (Watermelon Records)

3. Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, American Music, Texas Style (Polygram Records)

4. Santiago Jimenez, Jr., El Corrido de Esequiel Hernandez (Arhoolie Records)

5. Guy Clark, Cold Dog Soup (Sugar Hill Records)

6. Long John Hunter, Ooh Wee Pretty Baby! (Norton Records)

7. Ray Wylie Hubbard, Crusades of the Restless Knights (Philo Records)

8. Ed Burleson, My Perfect World (Tornado Records)

9. Bradley Jaye Williams, Tex-Mex Gumbo (Lazy Sob Records)

10. The Cornell Hurd Band, At Large (Behemoth Records)

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Rob Patterson