A few years back, Rolling Stone magazine published a list of the top 500 albums of all time. The list included albums from all different genres with the exception of classical. Rock, pop, metal, rap, hip-hop, folk, blues, R&B, Grunge, Jazz, a really nice cross section. Is it perfect...no, of course not. I think a list like this, aside from the fact that it would change every day as new material is released, would need to be made by you to really be perfect. Anyway, what they did do was actually pretty interesting. They put together a panel of 271 artists, producers, industry executives and journalists and asked them to pick the greatest albums of all time. This means that you can't really second guess the list, it is simply a mathematical equation based on survey data. Make no mistake, this is a pretty cool list. I am a big music fan with 1,000s of CDs and there are things on this list that I have never heard of and others that I have no interest in at all. I decided that I needed to conquer the list.
My goal here is not to become a fan of every genre or to even like everything on the list, but to digest it all and try to understand why it was included here and appreciate the art behind it. Here is how I got started. I used my Jriver software to create a list view that would show all of the albums in my collection that are on the list, in list order. For those of you who are not aware, Jriver is a media organizer similar to Windows Media player or iTunes, but way better. In order to do that I went through and created tags on those albums and I also included some other neat things like billboard chart info, Grammy info, album reviews, credits, lyrics and of course the review from the Rolling Stone article. Of course I don't have all of the titles needed, but the library had a bunch of them and that allowed me to at least hear them and digest them for these purposes.
After a few weeks of work, I am ready to start down the list. My plan is to keep my blog up to date with where I am on the list and what I've learned. I think it might be cool if there is anyone out there that is interested in going through this process with me to write in comments and discuss them. This is truly an exercise in music appreciation. At the end of it, you could consider yourself a pretty well versed music aficionado. It will also take a long time, with 500 albums to get through. It would be easy to just listen to the ones you don't like once and move on and to not bother listening to the ones that you know at all, but it would be a mistake. The idea here is to go back and review albums that you know and love and rediscover their greatness that at this point you have probably taken for granted. And to try to develop an understanding and appreciation for the material that you don't like or are unfamiliar with. That will require repeated listens and maybe even some research online to find what people have to say about it. Sometimes those comments can be enlightening and cause you to hear something in a different way.
Please keep comments based on an analysis of the material. I would prefer this not turn into a debate about the list. Remember the list is not the work of one or two people that just decided to put them where they are. It is based on a survey of 271 musically relevant people from all parts and genres of the industry.