Where are your top 2009 Canadian albums eh?

You box up the music section’s Christmas presents and ship them back to Santa, and we reward you with a Payback Time T-shirt and two tickets to a Live Nation club show of your choice taking place in Vancouver within the next four weeks. Here’s this week’s winning whinge.

Dear Payback Time: I am writing in response to the article about top albums of 2009. I was disgusted by the opening line, “It wasn’t a particularly stellar year for music, but our critics managed to find a few things that didn’t suck.” And then they go on to name a bunch of bands from the U.S. and other places. The lack of insight, knowledge, and Canadian pride that is apparent in your critics further permeates the problem of dwindling Canadian content.

Also, the first quote written by one of your obviously less educated writers: “Sadly, I lost my copy of the latest Dirty Bear Collective opus before I could give it a proper listen. I’m sure it’s a work of life-altering magnificence, but I had to settle for the following.” Wow, please can we learn more about how you inadequately do your job, Mr. Lucas?

> Joel Levy

John Lucas responds: Dearest Joel—I don’t want to make you feel stupid (really!), so I’ll put this as delicately as I can. Dirty Bear Collective isn’t a real band; I made it up in an apparently fruitless attempt at satire. Sure, you could have discovered that in about five seconds using this wicked new app called Google, but I guess you have better things to do. Like listening to music you don’t really like out of some misguided sense of patriotic duty.

Good music knows no borders, Joel. If I like something, I don’t give a flying fart if the artist resides in Reykjaví­k, Iceland, or Reykjavik, Manitoba. Moreover, our critics are not compelled to give short shrift to one of their 10 favourite albums of the year so they can free up a spot for a Canadian record. To do so would be intellectually dishonest, as it would result in lists peppered with albums the writers included only because they were ordered to hand out pity fucks on the basis of nationality.

In any case, if your typically Canadian sense of inferiority needs some soothing, get a dose of external validation by peeping Billboard ’s Hot 100 singles chart. Last time I checked, it included songs by Drake, Nickelback, Michael Bublé, and Three Days Grace. They’re all Canucks, you know. (If you’re truly desperate, you could count Robin Thicke as half Canadian.) I suspect you don’t give any more of a shit about any of them than you do about Miley Cyrus or Chris Brown or anyone else on that chart, but because they were all born in the same country as you, I’m sure you’ll be able to work up enough spit to give each of them a good, old-fashioned Lower Canada. Follow it up with a swig of maple syrup and you won’t even notice the bitter aftertaste.

You can voice your impotent rage by snail mail or by sending an e-mail to payback@straight.com.

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jay baroo

Jan 8, 2010 at 11:03pm

that is funny. well said mr lucas.

Joel Levy

Jan 11, 2010 at 11:02am

Haha well Mr. Lucas

You seem to have made the mistake I thought you might. You seem to edit my letter to fit your point.

My argument was that all year you write reviews about bands in Canada and tell us that they are great.

Then the opening line is "It wasn’t a particularly stellar year for music, but our critics managed to find a few things that didn’t suck" How can you write good reviews of bands who then support you and then say that what is not on your list sucks.

I have no problem with you choosing bands from anywhere in the world. I love bands from all over the world and think they should get recognition. That was not my point, though you chose to make it my point.

You obviously were very hurt by my letter since your response is nothing but a venting of frustration due to your lack of ability to do your job.

So keep writing and editing all content that comes through. The art world loves Censorship.

John Lucas

Jan 11, 2010 at 12:45pm

Joel, a word of explanation to you and other readers. Your original e-mail was too long for publication and introduced more talking points than I could hope to address in the amount of space allotted for Payback Time in our print edition. So I did indeed cut your letter down for the sake of brevity (and to focus on one particular point), which is precisely what I told you I was doing before the fact.

Also, I was not hurt by your letter. I don't take Payback Time personally. It is essentially a contest in which we give away T-shirts and concert tickets, and it's supposed to be fun. We expect abuse, and you were actually relatively easy on me.

Thanks for participating. If you would like to expand on your argument, feel free to write to our Letters page.

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