Michael Endelman
October 24, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Zagat Survey O C S U Music Guide 10 8 20 2

”Venerable” restaurant guide Zagat has used its ”pseudoscientific” surveying system to rate the ”best” of the music world. Editors queried 10,600 audiophiles and came up with a ”slim but statistically stuffed” volume that compiles, according to the cover, the ”1,000 Top Albums of All Time.” But ”they should’ve called it ‘Middlebrow Music for Dummies.”’ The book contains numerous examples of ”reckless ridiculousness and randomness,” with Norah Jones’ ”Come Away With Me” and ”ABBA’s Gold: Greatest Hits” among the top 20 most popular records ever, prompting some to wonder: ”What, there wasn’t room for the awesome Yanni-and-John Tesh collabo?” And don’t miss the ”inane juxtapositions” of the top 50 songwriters list, where Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Nas’ ”Illmatic” are listed side by side. It’s like, ”Choose a frickin’ century, dude!” While some ”’High Fidelity’ types” might enjoy perusing the Special Feature Index — which sorts the list 80 ways, such as songs for rainy days and one-hit wonders — this guide is really just an ”exercise in corporate brand expanding” and is ”more useless than Jessica Simpson’s brain.”

O: Overall C: Concept S: Scope U: Usefulness

0-9 poor to fair; 10-15 fair to good; 16-19 good to very good; 20-25 very good to excellent; 26-30 extraordinary to perfection

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