Hello friends, future friends (and people I don’t really know),
Over the next days, weeks, months and years (if I’m lucky), I’m going to be writing about every single album in my extensive collection and sharing my thoughts about them. Yes, I mean absolutely everything – the good, the bad and the potentially embarrassing. “Why?”, I hear you ask. Well…
I was looking at albums on Amazon the other day and an album I wanted caught my eye. I would have ordered it too, at that price, if Amazon hadn’t usefully reminded me that I’d bought it a couple of years ago. Sure enough, I checked and there it was – the album I didn’t think I owned. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a one-off, this has happened a few times and I’d even once ended up buying something from a sale I already had. It was, however, at that point I realised that my music collection had become so big that I’ve been having genuine trouble remembering exactly what I own and what I don’t… and that it was about time I appraised and catalogued things. What better way to do that than to explore and examine a different album every day?
Now, some people who know me may think of me as a bit of a musical snob. I believe that a close look at the albums I own and love may change some minds. I’ve never claimed to be particularly high-brow, but I do have a great respect for musicians who both write their own music and play their own instruments – and who aren’t carefully manufactured to exploit some opening in the “market”. Personally, I don’t think my standards are too high, I simply believe that many people’s standards are too low. Damn. Now I do sound like a musical snob. No matter.
I have been through several phases in my life and time hasn’t diminished my love for any of the music I loved in my teens or my twenties. In just a couple of years I’m going to be forty. I’m still buying music at the same rate as I did twenty years ago – at a higher rate, in truth, seeing as I can afford to buy more these days. I still have the same burning passion for music that I have always had and my tastes can only be described as eclectic. So, I hope there are people reading this who are interested in my music collection… if not, well, I’ll be doing it all for myself.
I have my music (all CD albums) arranged in alphabetical order (by artist) in several carry case volumes, as well as all the cardboard sleeves filed away separately. I wouldn’t want to start at the beginning and work my way to the end – that would probably be a little dull and, let’s face it, we don’t want to keep any of the ZZ Top fans waiting years – although it would give them time to grow some impressive beards. No, I’ll be taking an album from a different volume every day and will work my way slowly through them. That way, they will be in a certain order, but the reader – and I – will enjoy a variety of artists, rather than reading about thirty David Bowie or Bob Dylan albums in a row.
I can promise you that there will be some interesting items amongst my albums, the type of records that music magazines call “hidden gems” but there will also be many which some people will deem to be populist and have already had plenty of words written about them by music writers better than I. Well, again, I never claimed to be a left-field, anti-fame hipster. Perish the thought, in fact! There are plenty of albums filed away that I have played once or twice and never bothered with again – I’m looking forward to rediscovering them, but I’m thinking that they will probably be more difficult to write about. There are many albums which get regular airings which I’ll probably find much easier to express my thoughts about. You will get my genuine opinions about the albums, though. If I happen to share the popular opinion that an album is great, then so be it. If I just don’t get why hundreds of thousands of people love an album, well – then I’m not going to pretend to like it just to be cool. Conversely, if an album or artist is universally panned and I like it, I’m not going to bend to popular opinion. No opinions I express will be for the sake of being controversial, they will simply be my honest impressions of the music, which is how it should be, surely?
So, that’s the end of the introduction. I genuinely hope people find this project as interesting as I will and your feedback throughout is welcomed. I will try to answer every comment I receive, time permitting.
Guide to my “star rating” (which is similar to the Amazon rating system):
***** = Truly excellent, I love it
**** = It’s very good indeed, I really like it
*** = It’s OK, nothing special, fairly decent
** = I don’t like it much at all, but it’s not completely without merit
* = Dreadful & completely without any redeeming features