In last week’s episode of The 500, Bennett and Kyle looked back on the 100 albums they have discussed so far, what they have learned, and decided what their favorites are. I will do the same, even though I started Beyond the 500 at album #440.
My favorites so far
Just like Bennett and Kyle, it was difficult for me to come up with my favorites of the first 100 albums on the list. They made lists of their top five, but I am going with a top ten. My initial list was 16 albums, and that was with me leaving out, for example, Time Out of Mind by Bob Dylan. But I know there will be plenty of opportunities to talk about Bob in the coming weeks and months. So here we go:
- Hüsker Dü – New Day Rising
- Manu Chao – Próxima Estación: Esperanza
- Elvis Costello and the Attractions – Armed Forces
- R.E.M. – Document
- John Prine – John Prine
- Suicide – Suicide
- Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We are Devo!
- Beck – Sea Change
- Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel
- U2 – Boy
- Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime
- Big Star – Radio City
- PJ Harvey – Rid of Me
I couldn’t do it! Let’s leave it as my lucky 13 instead. All the albums above are amazing and are also important to me. And this endeavor is just going to get more difficult as we move through the list. It’s going to be fun.
What I have learned
I like contemplating music and my relationship to certain albums based on time and place. I don’t have soundtracks for, for example, a certain vacation or even for romantic relationships. I have always resisted letting a song or an album receive too much meaning for a certain time in my life. When I get new music now, I limit myself to three initial plays (with one being in the car) before it gets moved off of my iPhone and into the music library. I have always done that. I might like an album less after a certain period time, but it is not because I overplayed it.
I can discover new music in this endeavor. Either I have completely missed something and catch up or the lads get so excited about a record that I feel compelled to check it out. This was the case with Illmatic from Nas and (almost) with Mule Variations. As I wrote about Double Nickels on the Dime, music specifically and art in general is always out there in the ether just waiting to be accessed, whether immediately or decades later. I am also proud that my BGS colleagues have started to use the term “ether.”
I like rock n’ roll in all its forms and only sporadically delve into other genres such as R&B and the blues. I listen to plenty of country but the last decade of my life has seen me dive further and further into the world of electronic music. Bennett and Kyle discussed the genres that have been left off of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and I will add electronic music to the discussion. It is woefully under-represented. But there is a Kraftwerk album on the horizon. I look forward to writing about it!
I have a PJ Harvey problem, so I’m going to watch and listen to her sing “Dress.” You should do the same. You can thank me later.
What’s currently on my iPhone: DJ Kicks from DJ Koze, Shattered from Reigning Sound and Moonbuilding 2703 AD from The Orb.