What started out as a seemingly easy challenge turned out to be far from it. As per the earlier post on the daily updates on twitter I have averaged just over 4 albums a day, only really listening Monday to Friday at home and in the car.
Overall view of the book and comments:
- One album per artist only would make a huge improvement. All 5 Led Zep albums don't need to be in the list of the top 1001 ever.
- Not a single classical music album. Like it or not, Nigel Kennedy did change the public accessibility to classical, far more influential than many other on the list.
- Oddly some of the write ups in the book actually comment that the specific album is not the bands greatest, now that is just stupid.
Obviously any book and list will always be totally subjective and based on the views of the contributor and I could list 50 I would remove and 100 I would add, but that doesn't really achieve anything. Overall, aside from the above criticisms, it works. I have looked at some of the on line updates as to what is added and dropped each year, it tends to be newer stuff and I can guess some that won't be in the new version people will be getting for Christmas this year.
The listening process:
- Some days definitely better than others! I don't think I will be searching out any more double albums by Rush anytime soon...
- Spotify the main tool for me, about 80% of the albums on there I would think. Some, like Neil Young, refuse to be on the streaming services so other methods required.
- Youtube, personal collection and borrowing copies from others to complete it was essential, and many thanks to those who came to my aid when I was hitting absolute brick walls. (Not a single track taken from anything but an official release / illegal download)
- Listening to each album in the order of the book without skipping anything, even albums I know every word to had to be listened to in full, and wherever possible the original release.
The last point probably the hardest overall, as so many albums have been re-released as 10th, 20th, 25th, 30th etc anniversary releases full of extra tracks and bonuses - I didn't listen to hardly anything that wasn't on the original UK release.
- The difference of listening to an album (through the same speakers) from Spotify, a CD and vinyl is huge! When playing albums I know at home, I was shocked as to how poor the quality is on Spotify, playing back to back the stream and the vinyl a totally different listen - Neil Young definitely correct on that point.
- I really can't get on with Bob Dylan! Try as I might, his voice just grates on me, sorry.
- I used to think I really liked The Police. I don't, aside from the singles their albums are very poor.
- I used to think I didn't like the Pet Shop Boys, but I realise that was because I had never listened to them before - one of the benefits of Spotify is that is now possible for them, and many other bands, which when I was 16 meant either buying an album or taping it from someone.
- The Monks - I have mentioned these often, the reason being they are not the best garage punk band ever, but their album is from 1966 (recorded in 1965). Outstanding miss from popular writing on punk IMO.
- Very odd going through the years and knowing what I had bought and listened to and hearing other "classic" albums from those years and never having heard them before.
- There is no new music - every tune and chord has been played and used already, some many many times! Everything is borrowed from somewhere, not a bad thing but very noticeable with such intense listening.
Links to as much as is on Spotify here should you want to press play and get about 80% of the experience...
Would I recommend it, not really :-)
Would it be funny to buy me the book of 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die, no. No it really wouldn't