Thursday, July 16, 2009

Personal music economics and "Album Rock"

Through Starbucks free music offers and the iTunes free track of the week, I have become acquainted with some new music while living on the Frugal Rule. What I lament in this iPod and single track world is the purchase of an entire album/cassette/CD and the boom and bust musical excavation that came from investing 6-20 dollars in a musical collection. The boom is purchasing an album to listen to one or two great songs and finding at least 4 or 5 more. The bust is the same purchase, and having that one song minimized because I spent 20 dollars for one good song. Am I still able to find the "Album Rock Deep Track" in an single track mp3 world? What is better for the music collection in the long run--boom and bust collecting, or mp3 cherry-picking?

I recall a discussion in college that if you could only take 5 CD's on a cross country drive (without greatest hits collections or box sets) which ones would you take? I started with a list of 31. This list not only dates me a bit, but it also reveals times in my life where I either had no money, or began to make the shift toward mp3's. Looking at this list makes me wonder about great songs I have missed because I rarely buy entire CD's anymore. I'm going to see if I can get this list down to 5, making a few rounds of cuts along the way. This will be a fun way to delve into the concept music and meaning, and also the artistic ability of the artists involved. The initial list may even get a little bigger in the first few days as I consider the albums of my life--this list came from a quick review of my collection.

On the way to 5 CD's to take on a cross-country trip--The Early Qualifiers (in no particular order):

1. Ivy—Apartment Life
2. Southern Culture On The Skids—Plastic Seat Sweat
3. R.E.M.—Automatic For The People
4. R.E.M.—Life’s Rich Pageant
5. Lloyd Cole—Love Story
6. Jason Faulkner—Jason Faulkner Presents
7. The Starting Line—Based On A True Story
8. Great Big Sea—The Hard And The Easy
9. James Taylor—One Man Dog
10. James Taylor—Sweet Baby James
11. The Smiths—The Queen Is Dead
12. Whiskeytown—Strangers Almanac
13. Rush—Moving Pictures
14. Rush—Subdivisions
15. Barenaked Ladies—Gordon
16. The Primitves—Lovely
17. Alison Krauss + Union Station—New Favorite
18. The Lemonheads—It’s A Shame About Ray
19. The Posies—Failure
20. Sugar—Copper Blue
21. Judybats—Pain Makes You Beautiful
22. Bach—Brandenburg Concertos 1-6
23. Duran Duran—Rio
24. Lyle Lovett—I Love Everybody
25. Velocity Girl--Simpatico!
26. Bob Mould—Workbook
27. The Police—Zenyatta Mondatta
28. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions—Easy Pieces
29. Animal Logic—Animal Logic
30. B-52’s—Cosmic Thing
31. Jason Faulkner—Bliss Descending

These albums don't necessarily have the best individual songs--these albums are personally judged on the whole. Therefore, a lot of great artists and songs are passed over. Because the art is fading, I am pausing to say, who could make a great album during my days of albums? A few initial thoughts:

1. The Bach CD is a tough one. I'll have to do a little research on the Brandenburg Concertos. I'm not a classical music aficionado, but I love this CD. If I can learn more about this collection of Bach's work and make a reasonable rationalization, this CD could make a significant advancement.

2. The Album Rock radio station of my youth was KZOK. This station was a classic rock icon in Seattle, with a regular playlist of some of the greatest albums of the 60's, 70's and 80's. I don't include many on my first list. Back in those days I had little money to buy albums. There are probably some great albums that are supposed to be on a great albums list. But I'm not a professional music critic, I'm just having fun with a low culture philosophical question.

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