Album Week: October 8 - 15


Out 17 2006, 1h29

Commercially, the idea of the album may be dwindling and Beck and Barenaked Ladies might be on to something with the artistic disintegration of the album, but I will always, always relate to albums as letters, messages of hope, postcards and snapshots of an artist in a moment in their time and career.

I think we all go through phases. I listen to music in three or four ways. Sometimes I put all my tracks on shuffle and go with it. Sometimes I manually select what I want to listen to every other track or so, or sometimes I listen to a specific artist or a specific album on shuffle. I even have a couple genre playlists which I occasionally put on shuffle. I get by without declaring any guilty pleasures (for example, I listen to Green Day, Justin Timberlake, blink-182...and acknowledge that I would probably enjoy Fall Out Boy to a certain extent, and while some people would brand these guilty pleasures, I readily admit my enjoyment, and I don't feel embarrassed), but if I did have to have one, it would be creating playlists of songs I love and listening to them. Y'know, I might feel a bit guilty listening to Jason Mraz's You And I Both seventy times in a row, or The Smiths's Half a Person, or Belly's Thief (which I did play a number of times last night).

You And I Both
Half a Person

But when I tire of all the above, I need to listen to albums. There is something so essentially special about albums to me. The message an album has as a compilation of a selection of songs, the themes, intended or not, musical or lyrical. The era albums define and the albums the era defines.

Listening to albums this past week also gave me a chance to sort through some artists in an organized, finite manner. I'm always glad to listen to my Stephen Duffy playlist, which is all my music by him, The Lilac Time and Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time for hours on end, but that could go on forever. When you listen to an album, you let your mind sift through the usually twelve or so songs, and when that last track is finished, it's time to reflect and move on. So, album week was productive for me. I got through a ton of stuff:

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Source Tags & Codes
16 Horsepower - Folklore
The Avalanches - Since I Left You
Belle and Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf - Big Shots
Counting Crows - New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall February 6, 2003
Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman, I'm A Machine
De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising
De La Soul - De La Soul Is Dead
Far - Water & Solutions
mewithoutYou - [A-->B] Life
mewithoutYou - Catch For Us The Foxes
The Microphones - The Glow, Pt. 2
The Mountain Goats - We Shall All Be Healed
Nada Surf
N.W.A - Niggaz4Life
Soul Position - 8 Million Stories
Soul Position - Things Go Better with RJ and Al
Taking Back Sunday
Television Personalities - ...and don't the kids just love it
Vitalic - OK Cowboy
The Weakerthans - Left & Leaving
Xiu Xiu - A Promise

And a few others. Some of them are old favorites I was happy to go through (Far, B&S), some new favorites (Soul Position) and some stuff by favorite bands that I just hadn't got to before (Counting Crows).

While I don't feel masterful with most of these artists, listening to just a single album has given me a better feel. I mostly just stuck with whatever listed as the first album on the artist's page, because while the most popular may not be the best, it's often the most accessible, or one of the most accessible.

Also, some of it was exactly what I needed. In my previous teenage years, I always shied away from Taking Back Sunday, and really, I don't give a fuck what anyone cares about emo, Tell All Your Friends is a fucking excellent album. So are the other two, but that was more what I needed, sort of in the vein of mewithoutYou. MewithoutYou has a kind of rawness that I am really able to appreciate, and I'm excited to see them with Say Anything, Piebald and Forgive Durden next month.

And when I was done with my electric, angry, yeah-TBS phase, I had about four Elliott Smith marathons, and my ears could not have wished for anything more currently necessary.

I am also having a fucking excellent time starving myself of Barenaked Ladies. The playlist I listen to is currently everything I have that ISN'T BNL (hum, that's 4000 songs cut off from the library), and so I'm forcing myself to get exposed to more. Plus it just sucks listening to shuffle and every other song is a banter. Love them as much as I do and as much as I love to hear them talk 'bout random stuff between songs, there's a time for that. Anyway, depriving myself of my necessary Barenaked diet is always fun because in a couple weeks when I put on, say, Maybe You Should Drive I'll be in complete, complete heaven.

Last week was album week. This week is radio week, something I've never explored until the other day. I made an excellent radio station by tagging a bunch of artists I can recall Steven Page recommending and mentioning over the years, and it is excellent. But that deserves a post on its own. If any of you want to check it out beforehand, though, explore here, and I believe my subscription allows you to play it. I think.

I'm on recommended radio right now. Norma Jean just came up. I listen to one Atreyu album, and this is what I get, huh. Hah. I was glad to hear a Saves The Day song, though.


  • emma_mcabe


    Out 18 2006, 17h20
  • icanhaveablast

    Taking Back Sunday

    Out 18 2006, 18h46
  • bobjebus16

    You can't go wrong with Nada Surf or Elliott Smith. You have some really good other bands in your profile too.

    Out 19 2006, 16h32
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