Tag Archives: make a list

“Only the beginning. Only just a start.” – Chicago


Well, that’s it! It’s over! I’m finally finished! All set!

I finished listening to all of my CDs recently, and it is a relief to be done. The final total was 344 CDs. I listened nearly every (work) day, commuting in my car. It took me the better part of 15 months to finish. And now it is over.

At least it feels like it should be over. I mean, 15 fucking months is a long time to spend on one project, especially one that doesn’t pay money. (Or get you laid). And writing a blog every 4 weeks about records you like, and what a dork you were/are, will most certainly get you neither … Unless I’m missing something …
nerd jock

Anyway, although it feels like the project is complete, it would be folly to pronounce it so, as there is much, much work to do. If I were to say I’m finished now, well, both my readers would think me a laughingstock!

bush accomplished

So … Now the hard part starts. I have to decide which of the 344 discs make up my top 100.

This is going to be harder than I originally thought. I figured listening to all my CDs would help me better place them in a list. However, what really happened is that it muddied the waters. There are many CDs that I had barely ever listened to that, upon listening closely in my car, I realized I really liked! And – conversely – there were several that I had always thought were awesome that, upon listening closely in my car, I realized were … eh.

That seems like a simple problem – the ones that aren’t good drop down on the list, and the ones that are good move up on the list, right??

wile e 1

But the name of this site is “100 FAVE albums,” not “100 BEST albums.” This difference may seem to be just semantics, but what if – after objective listening – you realize that some of your favorite albums aren’t necessarily some of the best? What if you realize that an album you always liked a lot, like, say, just for example, INXS’s The Swing,
the swing

upon listening, sounds a little thin, and the keyboards a bit overdone, and the weak songs weaker than you remember, and the good songs not as good as you remember, and that as you listen to, say, for example, 343 other CDs, you realize that if you were to sort your records from BEST to WORST, probably this record would be solidly in the middle, placing it somewhere in the 130 to 180 range – certainly not a horrible rank, but definitely not as high as, say, again, for example, Steve Earle’s Jerusalem,


a CD that you bought when it came out, in 2002, because you heard it was great, but then never really got around to listening to much at all, until you decided to listen to all your CDs to rank them, at which point you realized, “Holy Shit! This is an awesome record! Why didn’t I listen to this before!?!?” and so – in that mythical array of BEST-TO-WORST albums – it gets placed near the top, around 50 – BUT then … when you decide to think about FAVORITE albums, albums that come to mind when thinking about your life and the music you’ve listened to, and the good feelings the music arouses, and you think about The Swing in that context,

you start to associate some fun, exciting times, some great experiences while, perhaps, drunk (not drunk, teeny-boppers!) at college, with fun friends – but try as you might, the only experience you associate with Jerusalem is driving to and from work,

which isn’t fun and isn’t exciting, and during which time you are rarely drunk, and plus you still haven’t had time to build up some interest in it by listening to it a bunch more times yet because you’ve been spending the last 15 friggin months listening to EVERY OTHER CD you own, so it’s hard for it to really become a favorite, and so on the FAVORITEST-to-LEAST-FAVORITEST array, The Swing lands at, say, 90 to 100, while Jerusalem is … well, better than Blood on the Tracks, anyway …

What then??
wile e 2

I’ll bet you never looked at it that way, did you?

stop dude

Well, I am looking at it that way, and I’ll continue looking at it that way, until my list is put together.

In the new year I will return with more regular updates, and a countdown from CDs 100 to 1, plus a look at some records that didn’t make the list, and some more stories of events in my life that I ridiculously associate with music I’ve heard. Unless the process of making a list drives me crazy …

insane daffy


“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!!