Some very odd arguments going on here over what is, essentially, a printed mix tape.
First point: It's somewhat pointless to suggest that The Isthmus shouldn't have compiled this list (why not?), their picks were irrelevant (they weren't) or they were receiving sexual favors from Butch Vig (just... ewww...)
Yeah, Rich Albertoni has access to a newspaper, but you have this forum, and at the end of the day, his favorite records have no more importance, validity or relevancy than the ones you picked out last night with the other barflies at Mickey's. Your suggestions probably caught just as many interested eyes here as it would have in the paper. No musicians died; Pete & Lou Berryman aren't planning to retire in embarrassment. All that probably happened is Mad City probably sold one or two more Killdozer records this week. If you think that's a bad thing, well, then you're petty, you just don't like the music in this town or you hate the people that cover it for peanuts. Which one is it?
Second, Dave, I love ya, but...
dave esmond wrote:...pop stopped meaning popular.
Oh? Since when?
The reality of this statement in relation to the article is a little complex. When it comes to the general public, you're wrong. Pop music still means what's popular. The 1961 "definition" mentioned earlier (popular hits can come from anywhere, as long as lots of people buy it) is still very much alive as of last week's Billboard with hip-hop (Eminem, T-Pain), soul (Alicia Keys, Taio Cruz), alternative (Travie McCoy, La Roux), teen idols (Justin Bieber), latino pop (Enrique Iglesias), M.O.R. rock (Train) and country (Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood) all making a run in the top 30.
Now from a musicians point-of-view, it does get a little murky. Indie fans like you and I could easily call the Pixies and New Pornographers "pop music," because of the mainstream elements of their DNA, but the general public won't agree until they score a hit. Case in point: I'd bet Feist's "1234" is called "pop" far more often on the radio than her friends in Broken Social Scene or Stars, despite their sounds being relatively similar.
So, in that sense, no matter which way you argue it, Rich's title for this collection works: To Madison record buyers, Lou & Peter Berryman, Killdozer and Spooner have popular records, they've probably sold more copies than other local bands, but it's also pop music due to the accessible aspects of their sounds. They really are "pop albums."
Now are they the "Top" records? See my first point.