Editor’s Note: On Choosing the “Best” of MN

Minnesota Monthly senior editor Reed Fischer explains the complexity and fleetingness of this month’s “Best of MN” list

Minnesota Monthly editor Reed Fischer holding a box of cookies from The Cookie Creative.

photo by casie beldo

What question do strangers making small talk always ask you? Hopefully not the one I just asked. I consistently get “Who’s your favorite musician?” Over the years, I’ve never had one go-to answer, and I bet I’m not alone.

The things we hold up as “the best” in our lives get swayed by experiences, seasons, the news, fads, where you live, how you live, who you live with, how you’re feeling, Yelp, and—of course—convincingly argued blurbs in beautifully designed Best Of editorial listicles. (Read our “Best of MN” feature here.)

Above, I’m holding a box of treats from northeast Minneapolis artisan bakers The Cookie Creative. Currently, many Minnesotans (and I’ll bet a high percentage of their 24,000-plus Instagram followers) consider them to be the best cookies that can be customized for year-round holiday giving and editorial needs. Plus, they’re delicious.

But how long can something be the best? Try asking a comedian, sports team, or politician that question. It can last a lifetime, but it’s frequently over in a hot second.

The cultural landscape of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Minnesota, at large, never stops spitting out fresh things to deem “best.” (And, yep, fresh backlash, too.) Art is made, businesses open, trends emerge, people notch accomplishments, content goes viral, and then it starts all over again. Some things we try become tried-and-true while others get played out and force us to reassess.

So, who’s my favorite musician? Thought you’d never ask. At various stages of my life, Prince (from Minneapolis) and Low (from Duluth) have held that distinction. Turns out that both of them—well, if you count Prince’s workaholic estate—left pretty impressive musical marks in 2018. I’m pretty high on those two currently, but ask me again tomorrow.