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AgainstMeAgainstYou's album listening project

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AgainstMeAgainstYou



Gender: Male
Age: 23
Location: Ajax, ON
Canada

#1 | Posted: 05/31/2014 17:54 | Post subject: AgainstMeAgainstYou's album listening project Reply with quote
I know I've been making a lot of new threads the past few days, I will try to make this the last one for a while.

I've been thinking a LOT about how well-listened I am. I'm only 19 but I've listened to well over a thousand albums, furthermore I've listened to many of them multiple times and the best ones I've heard anywhere from 20 to 100+ times. But it's not enough. I cannot legitimately make a claim as to what the best albums are with such a small number.

So I'm going to embark on a massive listening journey: 100 new albums from every year from 1956 onwards, and for 1930 - 1955, every single album listed on BEA. For any year with 200 or less albums, I will listen to every single one.

All in all, this will be at least 6,500 new albums. I will be starting when I unlock year charts, which will hopefully be by the end of this year. I'm hoping to have completed my journey by New Years' day, 2017.

As I listen to the albums, I will make a year chart for said albums. Once I'm through all ten years of a decade, I will then make the decade chart. And then once I've done all of the decade charts, my overall chart will be compiled. I will update it each year for the rest of my life.

And that's where this thread comes in. I want to document this journey and share it with all of you. This is different from the listening logs as this will be a constant thing with updates as to my rankings and progress. I've thought about doing this for a long time and I'm excited about it.

So, obviously, I've got some time to kill before I reach level 6. In that time, I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions and thoughts.
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sp4cetiger





#2 | Posted: 05/31/2014 18:17 | Post subject: Reply with quote
That's very ambitious. This thread might help a bit:

Listening to the History of Popular Music
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Hammy





#3 | Posted: 05/31/2014 18:51 | Post subject: Reply with quote
My only advice, listening to music stops being fun when you start taking it too seriously. Like overloading yourself with new albums just for the sake of listening to a lot of albums doesn't sound enjoyable to me. I'm not you though, so good luck and what not on this rather ambitious project. (I'm sure if you go through with this it will make for an interesting read and a nice spot for recs though.)
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AgainstMeAgainstYou



Gender: Male
Age: 23
Location: Ajax, ON
Canada

#4 | Posted: 05/31/2014 19:39 | Post subject: Reply with quote
Tonality wrote:
My only advice, listening to music stops being fun when you start taking it too seriously. Like overloading yourself with new albums just for the sake of listening to a lot of albums doesn't sound enjoyable to me. I'm not you though, so good luck and what not on this rather ambitious project. (I'm sure if you go through with this it will make for an interesting read and a nice spot for recs though.)


Well, my goal is to be finished by 2017. I doubt I'll meet that, and being that fast is hardly essential to me. I just want to really have a proper grasp on albums from every decade. Especially the masterpieces I haven't heard (I'm ashamed to say I've only heard three songs from TMR, for example).
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Saoirse





#5 | Posted: 05/31/2014 19:52 | Post subject: Reply with quote
Saoirse's Following Post:

Sounds ambitious and all the more to ya, but somehow it seems like setting goals like a specific number of albums you have to listen to kind of takes away the fun and sponteninaity of discovering new music, esp new favorites which tend to get put on repeat.
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meccalecca
Voice of Reason


Gender: Male
Location: The Land of Enchantment
United States

#6 | Posted: 05/31/2014 20:26 | Post subject: Reply with quote
Tonality wrote:
My only advice, listening to music stops being fun when you start taking it too seriously. Like overloading yourself with new albums just for the sake of listening to a lot of albums doesn't sound enjoyable to me. I'm not you though, so good luck and what not on this rather ambitious project. (I'm sure if you go through with this it will make for an interesting read and a nice spot for recs though.)


You took the words out of my mouth.

I've taken this journey before. Listening to too much new music in a short time is like trying to learn 20 languages at the same time. It's a nice idea, but eventually your brain kind of shuts down. it's the same reason that when I go to a large museum, I won't try to see everything. At a certain point it becomes counterintuitive.

You're young. When I was 19, I didn't even have access to this many albums. With the crazy access we have now, I think a lot of people think they need to absorb as much as possible like it's an arms race. It's no different than the myth of Sisyphus. For every 100 you'll listen to, there's another million you won't. I've likely listened to well over 7,500 albums in my 32 years. If I crammed it into a couple years, I don't think I would have appreciated most of them.
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AgainstMeAgainstYou



Gender: Male
Age: 23
Location: Ajax, ON
Canada

#7 | Posted: 05/31/2014 23:13 | Post subject: Reply with quote
I appreciate the input, guys.

Perhaps I'll take it a bit slower than the OP says. But I do really think I'll thoroughly enjoy this, and if it ever starts to get even the slightest bit stale, then I'll stop without hesitation.

I'm wondering if I should do 1930 - 49 over the course of this year, since I can't make decade charts for the 30s and 40s, and I'm assuming that extends to the year charts as well (though if someone who is L6 or higher could let me know what the earliest possible year chart is, that'd help me plan this out even better). That way I've got a nice litmus test and I'll at least be caught up for when I finally unlock year charts.
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Happymeal





#8 | Posted: 06/01/2014 00:28 | Post subject: Reply with quote
I didn't read much of your post, just some responses, but I'd recommend, instead of listening to a large amount of albums, listen to a lot of albums in a genre or two. That's my favorite type of exploration. I do that quite often and then for a month or so I only jam to my favorites out of that genre (and other random albums which I find amazing at any time). The point is, rather than focusing on listening numbers, focus on listening numbers within a world of its own. Mecca is right when saying it's similar to learning 20 different languages so just learn one.

EDIT: Read your post and, if you want to do the year thing regardless, try doing it from the best listed on RYM's chart. they're more accurate when it comes to finding albums you'll love within the early years.
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sp4cetiger





#9 | Posted: 06/01/2014 00:56 | Post subject: Re: AgainstMeAgainstYou's album listening project Reply with quote
Since I'm in the middle of a very similar project, I'll share some of what I learned along the way.

AgainstMeAgainstYou wrote:

I've been thinking a LOT about how well-listened I am. I'm only 19 but I've listened to well over a thousand albums, furthermore I've listened to many of them multiple times and the best ones I've heard anywhere from 20 to 100+ times. But it's not enough. I cannot legitimately make a claim as to what the best albums are with such a small number.


Very few people (maybe none) can really claim to know music well enough to make a true "best ever" list, even subjectively. If you're going to do this, the primary reason should probably be that you'll enjoy it. As Tonality said, as soon as it starts feeling like a chore, you're likely to give up.

Quote:

So I'm going to embark on a massive listening journey: 100 new albums from every year from 1956 onwards, and for 1930 - 1955, every single album listed on BEA. For any year with 200 or less albums, I will listen to every single one.


That's very ambitious. My project has been going about a year now and I probably averaged about 15 albums per year in the 1950s, and then ~30 per year starting in the late '60s. I'm in 1988 right now. One thing to keep in mind is that many albums, especially the highly acclaimed ones, take some time to adjust to and you may not find one listen to be enough to really experience them, let alone judge them.


Quote:
for 1930 - 1955, every single album listed on BEA


Unfortunately, it's much more complicated than that. The LP was invented in 1948 and didn't even really become a common medium for popular music until the mid-50s. And then it was another ~10 years before albums were treated as much more than compilations. You'll find a few "albums" from before 1948 that were released as collections of singles (for example, Woody Guthrie's Dust Bowl Ballads), but this practice was not common.

If you really want a sense for the earliest popular music, you'll have to listen to compilations. Aside from directly asking people on the forums, BEA isn't the best way to search for compilations. I did make a chart that could get you started:

Best Recordings 1920-1949

What you really want to do, though, is a lot of reading. Find out who the influential artists were and try to find compilations that sample their work in the period you're interested in. I got lots of helpful advice from the BEA regulars in that thread I linked earlier, so I highly recommend browsing that for recs.

On the other hand, if you're just interested in the album as a medium for art, then you can pretty much skip everything before ~1952 or so.

Quote:

And that's where this thread comes in. I want to document this journey and share it with all of you. This is different from the listening logs as this will be a constant thing with updates as to my rankings and progress. I've thought about doing this for a long time and I'm excited about it.


If you do go through with it, I would be more than happy to talk with you about what you listen to, either here or via pm/skype. I've really enjoyed the project, but it does take a lot of patience and you need to be careful not to obsess too much about the exact number of albums you listen to. I also recommend against pushing yourself too hard on albums you don't like initially. You have the rest of your life revisit them and you may find them much easier to digest at a later time.

Oh, one more thing, if you really want a broad sampling of the popular music spectrum, I strongly recommend against using the BEA overall as a primary resource. It has a very strong bias against jazz, soul, R&B, country, and many others.

Good luck!


Last edited by sp4cetiger on 06/01/2014 14:04; edited 1 time in total
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AgainstMeAgainstYou



Gender: Male
Age: 23
Location: Ajax, ON
Canada

#10 | Posted: 06/01/2014 01:12 | Post subject: Reply with quote
Wow, sp4cetiger, thanks. I genuinely appreciate the depth and substance of that post.

I've realized that BEA basically has nothing for pre-1945, so that chart will help me a lot. I have actually heard Dust Bowl Ballads, it's the oldest album I own (by about 15 years, too) and my favourite album pre-Kind of Blue. Brilliant, brilliant album, and very impactful for me as someone who loves to listen to - and is writing - a concept album.

I know I won't be looking at many coherent albums, even into the early '60s. It's hard to find much pre-Rubber Soul that the artist would say they went into with the inherent objective of creating a cohesive album, meant to be listened to song-for-song and in order. If I were to estimate, I'm sure I'll come across <100 albums that share those qualities with albums like Rubber Soul before I reach 1960.
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