Wednesday, 7 November 2012

1001 Albums Challenge: 56 and counting...

I'm very guilty of making impulse purchases.

This Monday I had a pretty bad case of this: not only did I buy my first pair of chinos (navy blue, £7 in Republic's mid-season sale, I thought "why not?") but I also stumbled across the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, half price in Waterstone's (I know the company don't use the apostrophe any more but it'll always remain in their name for me dammit!).



Having been mulling over putting a running theme/challenge/feature in this blog for quite a while, I saw this book as the ideal opportunity to give myself one: I would listen to all 1001 albums in this book preferably before I die of course, and mention if any make an impression, if I feel they belong in this book etc.
I've already got a to-do-list longer than a Leonard Cohen song, but still I thought it'd be fun to experience some music I wouldn't pay any attention to otherwise.

So, after buying the book, my first job was to see what albums it lists which I've already heard. After trawling through it's pages I've found I can already check off the following:
 
  • Arcade Fire - The Suburbs, Funeral
  • Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid: This album is so tragically under the radar (despite The Guardian's epic fan-boy fervour over her) it isn't even funny. Tightrope alone is a classic.



  • John Grant - Queen of Denmark
  • Beach House - Teen Dream
  • The National - High Violet
  • Wild Beasts - Two Dancers
  • MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
  • TV On The Radio - Dear Science
  • Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
  • Justice - Cross
  • LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver: Another band I absolutely adore. The documentary on their final ever gig, Shut Up And Play The Hits is an absolute must see. I'll probably do a post about this at some point.

  • Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
  • Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor
  • Richard Hawley - Coles Corner: *Shameless plug alert* I saw Richard live a little while back, which you can read about here.

  • Green Day - American Idiot
  • The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free
  • Mylo - Destroy Rock & Roll: Seriously, whatever happened to Mylo?


  • Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus, The Boatman's Call
  • Outcast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
  • Bruce Springsteen - The Rising, Born In The USA, Nebraska, Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Born To Run: Before I bought this book, I made sure to check that it included Darkness On The Edge Of Town. I consider that album to be as essential as oxygen.

  • Johnny Cash - American IV: The Man Comes Around, At San Quentin, At Folsom Prison
  • The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, The Soft Bulletin
  • Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head, Parachutes
  • The Avalanches - Since I Left You
  • Foo Fighters - Foo Fighters
  • Nirvana - MTV Unplugged, Nevermind
  • Manic Street Preachers - The Holy Bible
  • R.E.M. - Automatic For The People, Green, Document, Murmur: Seriously, they include Green on this list? I wouldn't even put that album on a list of R.E.M. albums to hear before you die! OK, that's a little harsh for an album that has the likes of World Leader Pretend on it, but I'd consider something like Lifes Rich Pageant much more essential.


  • Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine
  • Pearl Jam - Ten: Well if there was one Pearl Jam album to make this list it would be this one. I'm just surprised it's their only album on the list though, either Vs or Vitalogy would be prime candidates too.

  • The Cure - Disintegration
  • Micahel Jackson - Off The Wall
  • Neil Young - After The Gold Rush, Tonight's The Night, On The Beach, Harvest
  • Paul McCartney & Wings - Band On The Run
  • The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main St.
  • The Beatles - Abbey Road, The White Album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Revolver, Rubber Soul


Totting up the scores, that put me on 56 albums. I thought it might have been more, but unsurprisingly the further back in time the book went, the fewer albums I'd heard.

So now my task is to add to this total, and I'm going to use this blog to keep my progress up to date. I'll probably tack my updates on the end of any meaningful posts I make (like maybe when I get round to talking about the LCD Soundsystem film) rather than have them as dedicated posts.

With music more readily available than ever these days I'm hoping this won't prove too hard. I've already found 120+ of the albums in the book on Youtube and put them in a playlist which I'm snaking my way through as I speak.

I guess when I reach the end I may start talking about any notable omissions etc. But that'll probably be a long way off.
Wish me luck.