This is a brief introduction to a new series I’m starting called Old/New Albums. As part of my goals from last week’s post, I wanted to listen to music in some focused way and write about it, but I was very vague about specifics. I’ve come up with some rules for this series that I think will be doable.
I’m going to listen to an album at least once a day for about two weeks straight and then write about it. I’ll be choosing albums that are more than 1 year old, so nothing from 2013 or 2014. But they will be albums that currently have zero plays from me, so I’ll be coming into these albums blind. I’ve been building my collection pretty fast lately through my eMusic subscription, and I’ve been padding it with albums that have been culturally relevant in the last 50-60 years for one reason or another.
That doesn’t mean they are bonafied repeat listens for me though. As much as it’s cool to say I am a huge Pink Floyd or Delaney & Bonnie or Funkadelic fan, I have a lot of these albums not because I am in love with them, but rather due to their cultural relevance, or because a musical idol of mine has explicitely stated inspiration came from this artist or that album. Just because John Mayer covers a J.J. Cale song on an album doesn’t mean I’ll be a huge J.J. Cale fan, but it does give me motivation to absorb some of J.J. Cale’s music in order to have a better context of JM’s work.
Because if I’m being honest with myself, I hear about older music, “classic” songs or albums all the time that I end up listening to and my born-in-1986 ears say “Eh…not awesome.” And I think our musical culture in the last 10-20 years has really learned how to find hooks that are immediate. Bob Dylan made some great music, but for me personally, I can think of like two songs of his that have some semblance of a hook. So while my music library is huge and I say I’m a big fan of <insert old but culturally relevant artist here>, I might not actually be such a big fan. This series will be a way for me to force myself into at least giving these classic albums are more holistic listen.
So I’ll be choosing albums that are more than 1 year old that I’ve never listened to before, with the goal being getting out of my musical comfort zone and gaining a wider musical worldview. They will be old albums that are new to me (hence the series name). What’s also awesome is that at the end of the year I’ll have done 26, which means I can put together a very succinct Top 25 Old/New Albums post. How perfect.
And although I’ve got a pretty hefty list of albums from which to choose, I’m always open to suggestions…