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Old 03-23-2013, 11:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default In Which I Attempt To Listen To 125 Albums

Recently I've been in need of a project, so I decided to make a list of all the albums that interest me that I've never gotten around to listening to. Initially it consisted of a dozen-or-so pieces of music, but it quickly expanded and I ended up with about 105 albums. Then I just went to 125 because its a nice round number (and who doesn't like nice round numbers?).

So, in order to keep myself on track, I've decided to make a thread about it! I threw the list into a randomizer (because I am incredibly indecisive), and will be making my way through it slowly and posting my thoughts on the albums (and occasional classical works) in this here thread as I go. Feel free to comment on them, share your opinions, maybe even follow along at home if you feel like it.

You may be wondering what the criteria was for the albums I selected for this list. To be honest, there isn't one. Most of the albums were selected because I feel that they were, somehow, important: classics in their genre, essential albums by influential bands, or hugely acclaimed releases that I feel I should have some knowledge about. Some are there simply because I enjoyed the artists previous work. Several (particularly all the metal and prog albums) were selected so that I could attempt to expand my musical horizons and try some new genres. And, finally, some are there for being notable missteps by interesting bands that I want to explore.

So, first up: Frank Zappa's anti-hippy opus "We're Only In It For The Money". I should have the review up later today, and hopefully we can generate some discussion.

LETS DO THIS.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds good. A massive project, but it will be interesting to watch unfold.
One question though: if 105 is not a round number, why did you not just go with 100, or was that too obvious?
Either way, I'll be following this.
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I was going to go to 100, but I couldn't find 5 albums that I particularly wanted to cut, so I figured I may as well expand it.

By the way, I just figured out how to use spoiler tags! So here's the list of albums I'll be looking at (probably at a rather slow rate):

Last edited by OOS; 07-21-2013 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I forgot to mention this, but my one bit of criteria when I was making this list was that I limited each individual artist to only three albums each. Or else this thing would be swamped with all the Bowie albums I probably should've listened to by now. Anyway, on with the show!



Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention - We're Only In It For The Money

"We're Only In It For The Money" is bizarre. It can't really be categorized. It's...unpigeonholeable? That's not a word. But it fits! Here Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention flit between musique concrete, jazz, rock, pop, psychedelic, spoken word, music hall, often multiple times on the same track. Which, at the very least, would make this an interesting album. What the group really proves here, however, is that they have a keen knack for song writing, and between all the cut and pasted guitars, pitch-shifted vocal harmonies and out-of-the-blue orchestration it was surprising to find that "We're Only In It For The Money" is loaded with hooks. Considering that Zappa and co. were attempting to send-up The Beatles here, they (perhaps intentionally) kinda ended up creating a rather brilliant example of psychedelic pop music themselves.

I suppose I should also mention the albums much-lauded lyrics, which present a biting tear down of 60's hippy culture. It works surprisingly well, although occasionally Zappa's lyricisms are a bit too on-the-nose, particularly on "Absolutely Free", which drops all pretence of subtlety and just has someone declare "flower power sucks!" half-way through. It's also worth noting that some of the more experimental tracks don't really go anywhere. The albums hit-to-miss ratio is shockingly high considering how many direction it goes in, but occasionally a bit of sampled noise or stuttering guitar is dropped in for no particular reason whatsoever (I'm still not sure that the final track really has a reason to exist) and disrupts the flow.

Overall, though? It's pretty fantastic. It's wild, daring, completely at odds with the culture it was made in and still holds up as a great rock album today. Hopefully the other two Zappa albums that I have lined up go just as well.


Next up: Pet Shop Boys - Behaviour
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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6. • Wagner - The Ring Cycle
Good luck with that. You do know that it's made up of four operas ranging between two and a half to four hours long don't you? But don't let me stop you, I don't listen to opera, but I still loved The Ring Cycle. Of course, I mostly loved it for the storyline, since the larger than life and super dramatic nature of opera seems perfectly suited to fantasy. So, I'd definitely suggest watching a film with subtitles rather than just listening to an album. You'll probably get a lot more out of it, especially if you don't really listen to opera in the first place.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I had (think I still do somewhere) a great CD called "The Ring without words". Just the music. Epic stuff. I personally can't stand opera, mostly because it's not in English and I wouldn't be able to follow the story, though I do know the basis of the Germanic legends on which the Ring is based. It is as Batlord says though bloody long...
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I planned on listening to a condensed version of that one. According to Wikipiedia there are orchestral versions that summarize it in an hour or so; hopefully I can find something along those lines.

Should have the Pet Shop Boys review up within the next couple days. I need a couple more listens before deciding what I think.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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5. • Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
8. • The Mars Volta - Frances The Mute
17. • Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
19. • Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West
37. • David Bowie - Heroes
55. • Pink Floyd - Animals
59. • DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
69. • Nick Drake - Pink Moon
79. • John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band
89. • Portishead - Dummy
100. • Pink Floyd - Meddle
107. • Red House Painters - Songs For A Blue Guitar
113. • Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven
121. • Modest Mouse - This is a Long Drive For Someone With Nothing to Think About
122. • King Crimson - In The Court of The Crimson King
All awesome choices, but i have to ask what's with these:

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12. • Soundgarden - Superunknown
20. • Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti
26. • Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks
32. • David Bowie - Aladdin Sane
36. • The Who - Who's Next?
37. • David Bowie - Heroes
38. • Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks, Here Are The Sex Pistols
53. • Metallica - Master of Puppets
55. • Pink Floyd - Animals
67. • The Doors - The Doors
68. • Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
73. • The Who - Tommy
75. • Pearl Jam - Ten
81. • The Cars - The Cars
88. • Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac
93. • Jethro Tull - Aqualung
101. • Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
105. • Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street
116. • Led Zeppelin - IV
124. • Led Zeppelin - III
It perplexes me that someone who is into music could not have listened to any of these. I'm not trying to give you **** or anything, but they all seem like baseline records that most people start with when they get into rock, having 2 or 3 of these on your list wouldn't phase me, but 20 widely agreed upon classics by well known and generally respected bands just strikes me as odd.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've been really slow to make my way through a lot of band's discographies, so a lot of those are filling in gaps for artists I already enjoy. As for why I haven't listened to those specific albums yet...I honestly don't know. Somehow I just never got around to it. That's sort of why I'm doing this; to give myself an organised way to make it through all these albums that have sort of been in my musical blind spot.

So, time for album number 2!


Pet Shop Boys - Behaviour

For all that the Pet Shop Boys are an incredibly well known band, they don't seem to have any one cannon "classic" album. And so my process for deciding on one of their albums for this list was basically to go to Sputnikmusic and grab the first release by them to get a 4.0 user rating. Which, obviously, was "Behaviour". As it turns out, it was a fantastic decision, because this is an absolutely wonderful album.

"Behaviour" is probably one of the finest executed collections of synthpop that I've ever heard. It's textured, catchy, and propulsive to the core. "Being Boring" kicks things off on a fantastic note, an incredible chorus hook trading off with a perfectly atmospheric electronic background. From there it just moves from strength to strength. Although most of the album is built on similar instrumental textures, the Pet Shop Boys manage to change things up just enough to keep it interesting without losing focus. "This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave", for example, contrasts the opening track's bite with an undercurrent of melancholy, and "My October Symphony" adds chopped up vocal samples to its synth-pop backbone.

Really, I don't have much of anything negative to say here. "Behaviour" is an album that knows exactly what it wants to do, and knocks it out of the park on every one of its 10 tracks. I suppose I should get into this band more now.

So, next on the docket is Rush's 2112. As a Canadian I feel that I really do need to give Rush a chance, and as someone who's never delved into much prog (with the exception of a couple Pink Floyd albums)I think this should be pretty interesting.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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All awesome choices, but i have to ask what's with these:


It perplexes me that someone who is into music could not have listened to any of these. I'm not trying to give you **** or anything, but they all seem like baseline records that most people start with when they get into rock, having 2 or 3 of these on your list wouldn't phase me, but 20 widely agreed upon classics by well known and generally respected bands just strikes me as odd.


lets just call a spade a spade dis list SUX : )
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