December 18, 2008 | 12:56am
With today's entry, we'll conclude our exploration of tips, tricks and techniques for dealing with year-end lists. It's only appropriate that we wrap it up today, as Moovers & Shakers 2008
, Westword's picks of favorite local albums, hits Denver's frozen streets. Before we get to the two final tricks, let's recap where we've been. On day one, we discussed the importance of knowing both the source and author of any given list. On day two, we talked about the power of "really good" instead of "best," and we also noted the significance of opening your mind to new ideas. Today, I have two more fun and powerful tips to share with you. Yes, you.
Trick #5: Write your own
We critics are fortunate enough to have been given a forum and an audience for our musings. We might have good taste and well-trained filters (or not), and we might be skilled at expressing why a particular record is good (or not), but that doesn't mean our opinions are more "correct" than anyone else's. If you love music and heard some things this year that really knocked your socks off, write 'em down! Post them on your blog or on your [insert online social networking site] page, or simply email them out. Encourage your friends to do the same. The whole world of art creation and appreciation expands and thrives when there's healthy conversation about what's worthy of attention. And speaking of healthy conversation, that brings us to the last trick.
Trick #6: Talk back
One of the most beautiful things about the internet age is that a list instantly becomes an interactive forum. No longer do you have to wait for your letter to the editor, protesting the exclusion of your favorite Estonian dancehall act, to be published in a month. You can speak up right here, right now, and engage in dialogue with other readers who feel similarly impelled. Among the most important functions of these year-end lists is to get people thinking and talking, so talk! Let those listmakers know where you stand. Of course, with the ease and immediacy of this forum comes responsibility. Approach your feedback in the spirit of healthy dialogue, not as an attack or an opportunity to grandstand. Express yourself clearly, coolly and critically. Allow room for dissenting views, and read them carefully and with an open mind. You'll be amazed at just how powerful this little trick can be. By becoming part of the process, you cease to be victimized by it.
Now that you're armed with some useful tricks to give you a feeling of control, click on over to this year's Moovers & Shakers
, and enjoy! --Eryc Eyl