“Now, teacher, don’t you fill me up with your rules …” – Brownsville Station

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I had to put some rules in place for what types of albums could be included in my list, otherwise the list would be chaos. The next thing you know I’d be considering EVERYTHING for inclusion into favorite albums: Greatest Hits Records, Compilations, cassettes I made as a kid pretending to be a DJ and playing hits from Ronco’s Get It On LP, Mix Tapes …

Regarding mix tapes … I am part of the segment of my generation that put a lot of time and energy into trying to put together the awesomest mix tape possible for every situation. I can completely empathize with Jack Black’s Barry in the following scene:

And as embarrassing as it would be to dance in front of co-workers and simulate sex with an imaginary woman, as Barry does, it is even more embarrassing to recall the several second dates I had in which I brought along a mix tape as a gift, which often included the songs “Girlfriend,” by Matthew Sweet (!) …

and “Little T&A” by the Stones (!!!).

“Wow,” these women must have thought, “he’s desperate AND a creepy sexist! What a catch!”

I understand now why I didn’t have many third dates …

But I learned eventually, and didn’t make a tape for my wife until we’d been dating several months. Which isn’t to say it didn’t include an embarrassing song …

or two*.

Apparently, even a feminist like my wife didn’t want to think about Yoko in the context of me, despite evidence that Yoko’s evil-ness was overblown.

(Which isn’t to say I’m a big fan of Yoko – but the worst thing about her isn’t her relationship with John – I long ago grew comfortable with the plain fact that they were simply in love – it’s her horrendous art and music.)

So anyway, the rules:

1) Albums MUST BE IN MY COLLECTION! Either a digital album I bought or ripped from a friend, or a CD in my cases of CDs.

What this means, obviously, is that my Top 100 is going to probably contain several albums by a few groups, necessarily excluding some other great artists. Specifically, I expect there to be lots of Beatles, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., Replacements … I know already there won’t be ANY Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Eagles, Ramones … Nothing against those artists, I just was never moved to buy/borrow a CD of theirs (other than Greatest Hits.)

At some point, I’ll probably make a list of all these albums I own, but I can’t do it right now.

2) Albums CAN’T BE GREATEST HITS OR COMPILATIONS. For the same reason that a mix tape wouldn’t be included – they’re a compilation of great songs (typically) so of course they’d be a favorite album!!

On the topic of compilations, my sisters and I owned a variety of Compilation Records in the 70s. They were very popular, and could be ordered directly from the TV. “Just 5.99! 8-track tape or cassette, 7.99!!!” Our record library included the aforementioned Get It On, Sound Explosion, and Hustle 76, which didn’t have the real artists playing the songs but instead had a sound-alike band. We also had one called Today’s Greatest Hits that included performances of popular songs by a cover band called The Realistics! But even if they weren’t the real artists, we didn’t care – we just wanted to hear all the songs. These albums were must-haves for kids in the 70s. I myself was particularly partial to the humorous compilations, such as Dumb Ditties and Kooky Toones, both of which I owned.

I’m NOT excluding live albums or soundtracks in my list, which are usually sort of greatest hits and compilation albums, respectively. But I don’t have many of either that I think (off the top of my head) would be Hot Hundred material, so it might be a moot point.

3) Reissues are judged on the original content. There’s a lot of both excellent and crappy bonus material on reissues, and using it as a basis for comparing records seems a little unfair to me. So I’ll leave it alone.

* – I didn’t really put this song on her mix tape!

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6 Comments

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6 Responses to “Now, teacher, don’t you fill me up with your rules …” – Brownsville Station

  1. Michelle Miller

    I’d like to thank you for inspiring me to waste my morning by watching High Fidelity/John Cusack clips.

  2. Julia

    What a journey you are on! If you don’t mind me asking… What % of the albums are you through? I know you have a lot!

  3. van

    to anyone reading, i want to state that i never asked eric to undertake such a tremendously intensive study. this all stemmed from frustrated little league meetings. but man are you motivated! kudos!

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