As with all such lists, it is purely a matter of taste as to which 1001 Albums You Must Listen To Before You Die. Flipping though the dense and heavy tome I found that I had already listened to a good number of the 1001 Albums, but was shocked by the albums that I had never even heard of. I like to think of my taste is a bit eclectic and kind of with it-at least up until about 1985 when music took a hard turn which throw me into a ditch.
It should be possible to pack all 1001 albums onto an iPod and give them all a listen. I am not ambitious at the moment. I am content to look at the album cover photos and nod my head in agreement and occasional bafflement. On Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell, for example, the author does not give Paradise by The Dashboard Light a must listen rating. Nor does the reviewer of Peter Gabriel’s So recommend listening to Big Time. So the judgment of these music experts is in serious question after that.
Still, the whole point is to broaden the mind and try something new, not just hear what has been played on the radio a million times. I was listening to a talk show one time which featured an old Rock and Roll Dj. A caller named his favorite song and ask why it was never, ever played on the radio. The Dj said that’s why you have a private record collection, so you can listen to your favorite songs. But I still the question was a good one-why are so few songs played on the radio? Satellite and Internet radio have pretty much put an end to that with stations devoted to every possible genre of music imaginable, but the normal over the air stuff is still the same old same old. Oh well.
My own Top Ten Albums would be mostly Beatles and a few New Wave titles tossed in to remind me of my glory days. The Beatles are different from every other group I have ever listened to, I want to head every single song on every album. Well, I can do without Revolution #9 and most of the odd tracks on the Anthology Discs, but all the rest is good stuff. This can’t be said of David Bowie, or Moby, or Nora Roberts, or Madonna, or even Jagged Little Pill-the last album I really thought was wonderful.
1001 Albums is a fun book, if for no other reason than to say, hey, I wouldn’t call that album a must listen to. The albums start in the 1950s and end in 2005. Musicals are notably missing, as are Classicals, and only a handful of Jazz and Blues albums make the cut. This might be subtitled 1001 Popular Albums You Have to Hear. Punk rock and heavy metal seem to get more than there fair share of slots on the list, with a lot of stuff that seems a bit fringe. And why does everything by Beck, Radiohead, and Leonard Cohen get high ratings? I might have to give a few of these albums a listen and see what all the fuss is about.