And here we go!
So this year the music challenge is still going and still weekly, but I am going to post the results at the end of each month. This should mean that I can write a little more about each entry. I might not though; listening to this much music is challenging, and so is my life at times. But who knows. I love a challenge.
Just as a refresher, I do this challenge to fill in gaps in my pop-culture education. It’s too have a referent from when people speak to me. I do this because I am far too much of a fucking weirdo at times.
That being said, on with the show.
Week 1 – Tuesday 1st Jan – Monday 7th–
MOP – Warriorz
I put this album first because I wanted to have an energetic start to things. I knew a couple of their songs pretty well from when they reached pop-culture consciousness a some years ago, and had them in mind as the kind of music you could hit the gym with. They are a favorite of both my brother and a close friend of mine. I had even listened to one of their albums before, albeit an album of hard-rock remixes of their songs.
So right on Jan first I took this album to the gym and got to pumping weights. For that activity it was pretty good. While the album was pretty solid all the way through, I didn’t find it to be all that memorable.
There was a song on here that I felt was better on the album of hard-rock remixes.
Week 2 – Tuesday 8th Jan – Monday 14th
The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s lonely hearts club band
At some point last year I wrote off a some random Rolling Stone’s album with a pretty dismissive “Meh. Dad music.”
This too is dad music. But I am not sure I can dismiss it so quickly. It is a big deal, so much so that Wikipedia claims that it is the most easily recognizable album cover of all time.
I dislike the Beatles, but my dislike for them tapers off with their later career. As they got weirder, and got away from their pop-y roots, I like them more and more. Songs like Paperback Writer and Norwegian Wood are so bad that just writing about them here makes me want to hurl my laptop across the room with disgust. I don’t understand how we haven’t collectively looked back at those songs and realized that they were garbage, and that the Beatles are solely responsible for the abomination on Western civilization that are the modern Boy Band. But their later stuff actually shows some actual personality, which is a pretty solid argument for the beneficial impact drugs have had on our society.
That being said, I wasn’t over the moon for this. I didn’t retch from listening to it, but I don’t think I will ever be in a Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band mood. Many of the songs still felt like pop candy to me, although they are still better in comparison. Those really good songs on here don’t make up the difference for me. Yea, A Day in the Life of is pretty amazing and haunting. But if I need to hear that, there is always Youtube.
Week 3 – Tuesday 15th Jan – Monday 21st
Arvo Pärt, Passio, as performed by The Hilliard Ensemble
I’m surprised that I did this one, too. Last year I listened to something else by Pärt and I am not sure I enjoyed it exactly. I mean it wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t memorable. And this wasn’t much different. I never had a moment where I thought to myself ‘please someone make it end’, and in fact I found the music to be rather pleasant.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I found the first half of it to pleasant. After that I start to wonder “is this still going on?”
I am likely going to keep this on my hard drive. I think it does have a place in my life for when I am in cafés and I need something to mask out the background noise.
So this is the ‘Bose noise cancelling headphones’ of music.
Week 4 – Tuesday 22nd Jan – Monday 28th
Moby – Play
I’m surprised I had never listened to this before. it was one of those albums I always saw (or heard about, really) and then thought to myself ‘Yea, I’d probably like that.’ But for some reason, I just never got around to listening to the damn thing.
That’s exactly what this whole ‘album a week’ thing is meant to fix.
Having had both a pulse and ears for the past thirty years, I obviously knew some of the tracks from it (if you think you don’t, just look up ‘natural blue’. See? You’ve heard it too). The album really didn’t feel all that alien to me.
So how was it? Meh. Those few songs that were memorable I already knew. Everything else was pretty easily forgotten.
I have to admit that it felt a little too restrained for my tastes. This is the kind of ‘mood music’ that I like, if only it was a little more… moody. I wanted this to be a little more Massive Attack’s Mezzanine. This album, on the other hand, felt damn near optimistic. It was a year of hard drinking and drug use shy of a proper trip-hop album.