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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Album Day (Or: Fighting the Power of My Damned, Evil MP3 Player)

My MP3 player (a second generation iPod Nano) has done good things for my music listening habits. On the positive side, in place of the stacks of CDs that I used to keep in my car and office, I now have a mini library of music wherever I go that I can easily change and which holds enough music to match nearly my many moods and tastes.

On the negative side, I rarely listen to albums anymore. Unless it’s a new purchase, my favorite tracks get picked and placed with others to create some wonderful mixes, but the cohesive pleasure of listening to a great album from front to back is mostly gone. So, today I’m reacquainting myself with my favorite albums while I’m working.

Not that I don’t enjoy the playlists that I create--because, I’m here to tell you, I am the playlist king--but I know that there are hundreds of songs that I haven’t listened to in some time because they don’t easily fit into any of the playlists that I make. Like Screaming Trees’ “Look at You” from the first album on my list, Dust. It’s a gorgeous love song, but I haven’t heard it in quite some time.

The point being, since I doubt that I’m alone in the near abandonment of listening regularly to albums, you’re invited to play along and rediscover your own favorite albums. If you do play along, though, I’d love it if you would let me know what you’re listening to--it might give me some ideas for my own rediscoveries.

First up for me, as I noted, is Dust--the Trees’ last album is a wonderful little rocker. Not great, perhaps, but with some brilliant moments.

Update: This is list of albums thus far.

  1. Dust, by Screaming Trees
  2. Consider the Birds by Woven Hand
  3. Definitive Collection, Disc 1, by Alan Parsons Project
  4. Pet Sounds by Beach Boys
  5. Sex, Love and Rock n’ Roll by Social Distortion
  6. Deliverance by Corrosion of Conformity
  7. Acadie by Daniel Lanois

And definitely look in the extended entry for some worthy suggestions.

Comments & Trackbacks
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I recently gave Iron Maiden’s “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” another listen.

It wasn’t one of my favorite Maiden albums (and I still don’t think touches Powerslave or Piece of Mind), but it is a lot better than I remembered it.

on Apr 24 2008 @ 09:02 AM

I hate the taste of spam in the morning.

I just did my best Maiden impression. Here. In the office. While people could hear me.

on Apr 24 2008 @ 09:27 AM

Ooooo, I’m going to play!  What to listen to, what to listen to....

I’d give *this* toe to have my Alan Parsons album collection right now.  I’d start with I Robot, for sure.  I’ll get back to you....

on Apr 24 2008 @ 09:38 AM

Okay, I have a soft spot in my heart for Alan Parsons. I don’t have access to the album I want to listen to, so I’m starting up Disc 1 of the Definitive Collection.

This is going to be fun.

on Apr 24 2008 @ 10:32 AM

My experience is the opposite of yours. I rarely make playlists (I’ll just assume that laziness is the culprit and move on). Instead, I copy over full albums to my Nano and then listen to full albums. What I’ve found is that I tend to spend more time listening to albums that are consistently good rather than albums that have some highs and some lows.

Today I have been working at home and programming. It is a beautiful day outside and there is great light in my dining room where I have my work laptop setup. The dining room is now open to the kitchen so I the view in all directions (new kitchen or sunny spring, depending on which way I look) is beautiful. The dog is asleep under the table and the cat is asleep on the couch behind me. My home is extremely calm and serene. I plugged my Nano into the living room stereo and I’ve played through the entire catalog of The National twice. The music really seemed to fit the mood.

For the record, I’ve gotten a TON of work done.

on Apr 24 2008 @ 12:10 PM

Sounds like an awfully nice day--especially since you’re probably also admiring the beauty of the brand new kitchen.

Yep, the mp3 player has totally taken us in different directions. I get a new album and I’ll listen to it all the way through three or four times (or, for the really good ones, for a week or two while rotating it with some of my better lists) and then I tear it apart and put it into appropriate playlists.

on Apr 24 2008 @ 12:15 PM

Perhaps that’s the key. tearing up albums and putting them into playlists doesn’t seem like much work. The real work is putting the playlists together in the first place. Hmmm....

on Apr 24 2008 @ 12:22 PM

I (AFAICT) use a different technique yet: I import albums, listen to all the songs on the album and rate them, then either fill my Shuffle randomly or listen to albums straight through.  I really don’t build custom playlists.

Favorite recent albums:

Queen - A Night at the Opera
Deep Purple - Machine Head
Kayak - Phantom of the Night
AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
The Knack - Get the Knack
Heavy Metal Soundtrack
Boston - Boston
Orff - Carmina Burana
Matsuriza Taiko Drumming - Lantana
Simon and Garfunkel - Greatest Hits
Meat Loaf - Bat out of Hell
Jim Reeves - The Essential Jim Reeves
Fish/Bethancourt - Serious Steel

on Apr 24 2008 @ 01:58 PM

I’m with {unidentified}, when I had player, I usually copied over whole albums, and put it on random.

Anyways, off the top of my head:

Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks
Wanderlust: Prize
Kansas: Masque
Dave Brubeck: Time Out
Kodo: Best of Kodo
Marten Lauridsen: Lux Aeterna
The first Enigma album. (Untitled?)

Also, my entire classical collection doesn’t get enough play. Hard to pick a favorite, so I’ll just point randomly to Richard Einhorn: Voices of Light.

on Apr 24 2008 @ 02:26 PM

Doug: I’ve been thinking about the Heavy Metal soundtrack for a couple of weeks now - ever since the South Park episode. I owned it on tape years ago and no longer have it. I may have to get it off of iTunes now that you’ve mentioned it. Damn, that’s a great album.

Dave: If you haven’t seen it yet you must check out the South Park episode “Major Boobage” when it becomes available online later this week at http://www.southparkstudios.com/.

on Apr 24 2008 @ 02:46 PM

Not that I recommend such things, but there IS an Alan Parsons’ discography out there on BitTorrent (or was about 2 months ago).

on Apr 24 2008 @ 08:00 PM

Acoustic, by Dan Ar Braz
Acoustic Original, The Best of Billy McGloughlin
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, original cast recording
The Great Dobro Sessions
The Wind That Shakes The Barley, John McCutcheon
Wheel of Fortune, John Renbourn and Robin Williamson

Hmmm, pretty heavy on the acoustic music. Maybe ...

Twin Peaks Soundtrack, by Angelo Badamenti, and
Street Life, by The Crusaders

on Apr 25 2008 @ 05:49 AM

Actually, with today being ANZAC Day, I’ll also recommend the song, And the band played Waltzing Mathilda, by Eric Bogle, off the CD, Scraps of Paper.

on Apr 25 2008 @ 06:17 AM

This album has been on my mind and in my ears.

on Apr 25 2008 @ 03:04 PM

What? No Kinky Friedman?

on Apr 28 2008 @ 03:40 PM

I think that Greatest Hits albums and Soundtracks shouldn’t count.  Don’t get me wrong; they’re my FAV.  But they don’t tell the story.

So far, I have made it through Closing Time (Waits) Enema of the State (Blink 182) Sky Blue Sky and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Wilco) Genesis (Genesis, the Mama album) Superunknown (Soundgarden) & How it Ends (DeVotchka).  You’re right; I forgot how good the whole was.

on Apr 29 2008 @ 04:04 PM
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