Tag Archives: high school

“Make a List, Baby …” -Ambrosia


Recently, several readers (and I use the word “several” because it sounds better than “both”) have asked “So, when are you going to share your list??!!”

“Listen, mom and dad,” I said, “I gave you that computer, and I can take it away, too!”

But the question is significant, since this is supposedly a blog about my favorite albums.

So here is the answer: I am still working on my list. When I am done, I will post it.

How hard can it be to make a list, you ask?

Despite what Wired found, I have found it very hard.

See, I didn’t trust myself to just look through my music collections and pick out the best by memory. That, to me, seemed to be cheating. Or, more precisely, playing favorites. As with most things in life, it’s like when you were in high school … and the gym teacher was also the freshman soccer coach, and every time he wanted to make teams in gym class he’d pick C. to be one of the captains because freshman year C. was a great soccer player, but by now, senior year, C. was short, chubby, not even on the soccer team, typically hung over, and clearly not as good of a flag-football player as yourself, (who abstained from alcohol/friends, and had in fact grown a couple inches and DROPPED a few pounds since freshman year when you quit the soccer team on the first day of summer double sessions because of asthma and a conflict with band camp), but yet the gym teacher had it stuck in his head that, “Boy, that C. is really a tremendous athlete,” and so continued to select C. to be a captain even though if he’d taken time to really assess the state of things as of today, October 9, 1984, he would have realized that you were a much better choice to be team captain.

Nothing like that ever happened to me that I’m aware of, but it seems like a good analogy to relying on ideas I formed long ago to make a good selection today.

I didn’t want to rely on my memory. To me, the only thing that made sense to do was to listen to each album I own (or anyway, the ones I knew had a shot to be top 100) – whether as a physical CD or a downloaded/ripped electronic version – and attempt to select the 100 best.

I estimate I have about 500 to 600 albums. Probably not a lot as compared to some people, but pretty many to listen to one-at-a-time. As a middle-aged man with a family and a job, I don’t have the time that I did when I bought most of this music, (and apparently time isn’t the only thing I don’t have a lot of anymore) so it’s hard for me to find time to sit around the house and listen, uninterrupted.

But I do have a thirty-minute commute to work each day, so that gives me an hour every weekday in the car to listen for a decent chunk of time. This is somewhat of a problem, as it means I don’t get to listen to Howard every day, but I take a break now and then for a few laughs.

I write notes to myself on all the albums I listen to, and I have started a system of ranking … sort of.

But there is plenty of time for all those details later. In the mean time – since you guys wanted a list – here’s what I think were PROBABLY my Top Ten Albums (or cassettes) on October 9, 1984:

10) REM – Reckoning

9) Styx – Equinox

8) Rush – Grace Under Pressure

7) Huey Lewis & The News – Sports

6) Emerson, Lake and Palmer – Greatest Hits

5) Asia – Asia

4) Yes – 90125

3) U2 – War

2) Van Halen – Van Halen

1) Rush – Exit … Stage Left

Some of those albums may still make the top 100, some of them I AM SURE will not. But I’ll get to all that later.

Go Niners! Hello SF!! I miss you!!