In case you're wondering where I've been the last week or two (come on, humor me), aside from the holidays, I'm coming off double-barreled deadlines. While that's meant time away from the blog, it still had me tethered to the computer. And for some reason the pressure of deadline time means I need the comfort of music to get me through the day (and night).
The other night I was alone in the office and had the speakers cranking. I, unintentionally at first, listened to the complete Rush catalog as I worked until the break of dawn. The albums were presented alphabetically, though coincidentally that was somewhat chronological as well. Anyway, I enjoyed the experience immensely.
I usually listen to my iTunes on shuffle or "iTunes DJ" as they call it these days. And while the variety can be nice and I enjoy the odd "haven't heard THIS in long time." moment, there is something lost when listening outside the context of the full album. Nothing made that more clear than the concept albums of circa '70s Geddy, Neil and Alex.
So I've decided to make a concerted effort to listen to my music more often, and to do it in traditional fashion—one album at a time.
This week, Mrs. F and he kids are out of town, and that sets me up for a week of painting and other household chores, and with that, and opportunity to crank music in the house while I work. First up is the kitchen, which is close enough to my computer that I have access to my full library—all 19,515 songs worth. That's 56 days worth of music, and I'll probably barely hit 56 hours, but here goes...
Now, I'm not going to just start at the beginning and let it go, I'll barely reach the C's if I do that...so skipping right past ABBA, and even AC-DC and Aerosmith I settle on...
Alice in Chains -- A very solid band. Thinking man's grunge. I still remember a coworker who declared Jerry Cantrell was "the modern-day Mozart." Um, not quite. Though I can think of no band that can dominate in both acoustic/unplugged mode and full-on metal as effortlessly as AIC. After listening to all of the material, I'll say this: The EP "Sap" is probably the best effort from these guys—four acoustic tunes that are just about perfect, with Chris Cornell's backing vocals making "Right Turn" my favorite track of the bunch. Up next...
Alicia Keys -- A jarring transition to say the least. Skip to—
The Allman Brothers Band -- I settle on the "Dreams" boxed set. One of my earliest "big" CD purchases, this one would last me through the whole afternoon. Highlights: "Morning Dew", "God Rest His Soul" (a moving MKL tribute), "It's Not My Cross to Bear."
Art Garfunkle • Breakaway -- Yes, I have solo Garfunkle. Two albums worth as a matter of fact. Yeah, I know Paul Simon is supposed to be the genius of the pair, and Art had to become a teacher to make ends meet, I'll say this: this is a good album, and Art Garfunkle has one of the best voices in music. I will not argue this—it is a fact. UPDATE: That was written during "I Believe." The first song. "Rag Doll" is cheesy as hell. And "Breakaway" isn't much better. "My Little Town" gets back to the Simon & Garfunkle roots and could be right off "Bridge Over Troubled Water"... but, no, I'm not going to make it through the whole album. Sorry, Art.
Asia -- the prototype and high-water mark for "superbands." I'll not sully the memory of this fantastic band by listening to anything but the eponymous first album. An awesome flashback. More cowbell, Carl.