Inspired by a post I saw on Reddit on January first, I’m going to try listening to more complete albums this year. Maybe daily? It’s been daily so far. We’ll see how it shakes out. For convenience, I’ve been posting day-by-day on Mastodon, but I thought it might be worthwhile to collect them here and perhaps add some brief commentary. So, hi! That brings us up to now.
I’ve been using Songwhip for album links; it’s sort of a Linktree-for-music so that it doesn’t matter what services people subscribe to, they can quickly navigate to something they can listen to.
I should note also that the banner image photo here is by Eran Menashri on Unsplash, a placeholder until I can create a suitable replacement of my own.
1/366: Abbey Road
I kicked off the first day with the 2019 mix of Abbey Road by The Beatles. I’m familiar with the original version, but hadn’t heard the updated mix (in Atmos no less!), and it’s one of the Beatles albums I don’t listen to all that often. Growing up, I hated “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” but the Beatles Rock Band game changed my mind on it. My favorite song as a kid was easily “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, but since catching the prog rock bug, I’ve become fond of the medley that makes up the second half of the album, which benefits the most from the updated mix — the arpeggiated guitars on “The End” that each sit in distinct spatial locations in the mix were a particular treat for me, and Ringo’s drums just fucking rule. Highly recommended. The Wikipedia article has tons of info if you want to know more.
2/366: Beaucoup Fish
For day 2 I selected Beaucoup Fish by Underworld. I know a few of their albums pretty deeply, but I had missed this one on its initial release and never really went back to it, despite it apparently being (according to Wikipedia) their most successful album. Overall this was a groovy accompaniment while I assembled a Lego set, though I think this is probably the horniest Underworld album. My favorite tracks on this listen were “Skym” (channeling some serious This Mortal Coil vibes) and the trance epic “Kittens”.
3/366: The Chase
Day 3’s choice was The Chase by Wolfstone, the second album by the Celtic rock band that blew my early-90s mind with their fusion of traditional tunes and rock instrumentation, bagpipes and electric guitars. I bought their first two albums together, and quickly gravitated to Unleashed, never really giving The Chase the attention it was due. It’s probably been at least 15 or 20 years since my last listen! And that’s a shame, because there are some great tunes here, and well-produced. “Tinnie Run” makes a great opening statement, “The Prophet” is a solid original rocker, “The Appropriate Dipstick” and “The £10 Float” scratch the trad itches, and the somber “Jake’s Tune” builds into some scorching blues guitar. I think the reason this one never stuck with me was that the closing song, “Cannot Lay Me Down”, is a downtempo ballad, while closing track on Unleashed is a rip-roaring, ass-kicking combination of reels whose charms are irresistible to me even after 30 years. Anyway, this one’s still good and is worth a listen. Alas, the Wikipedia article is unfortunately pretty light on additional info.
Day 4 was Darker by C-Tec, a high-energy industrial dance side project involving members of Front 242, Frontline Assembly, and Cubanate. I don’t give this a spin as much as I used to, but I’m happy to report that it still holds up, with honestly over half the album comprising what I’d call the highlights, though “Foetal”, “Stateless”, and the anthemic “Epitaph” are still my can’t-miss tracks after all these years. A fun fact that I learned from looking this up on Wikipedia today is that the lyrics to “Epitaph” come from a Dorothy Parker poem.
On day 5 I paid my first album visit to David Bowie with 1997’s Earthling, where drum-n-bass collides with David Bowie-ism much the same way that chocolate and peanut butter collide on busy streets. It’s a rich combination that I don’t want every day, but when I do, I cannot deny its deliciousness. Wikipedia offers quite a lot of information and context here.
6/366: Filigree and Shadow
On day 6 I reached for an old comfort, Filigree and Shadow by This Mortal Coil, and found it just as dreamy as I remembered, a pleasant way to unwind with a drink on a Saturday night. It’s tempting to call out favorites (hi, “The Strength of Strings”) but there’s something special about listening to the whole thing from one end to the other. Since I’ve done one for all the rest, here’s the obligatory Wikipedia link for some extra context.
Day 7 of this little adventure… I’ve been putting off Ghosteen by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for far too long, knowing that it would demand some focused attention and that it would not be a “fun” listen. I’m glad that I gave it the space it needed. There are no singles here – any radio-friendliness would be in putting the whole thing on and letting it go, uninterrupted, until its conclusion. It’s far more airy and ambient than I ever expected from Nick Cave, and it gives off vibes of Leonard Cohen and Vangelis having a long, slow jam about life and death and grief and hope, orchestra and synthesizers and poetry and just a little piano producing not crescendos but carefully planned peaks of intense frisson. I don’t think I’ll come back to it often, but it’s really quite beautiful. The Wikipedia entry was quite informative here.
8-14/366: Stay Tuned!
I’ve enjoyed putting together this end-of-week recap,
so hopefully more of these will follow on roughly the same cadence.
Until then, stay safe out there, and take good care of your ears.