Saturday, June 20, 2009

500 Horizons, an introduction.

I love my music. Like any male the only thing I like listening to more than my music collection are my own opinions. I don’t just like albums I can tell you why you should like them as well. I don’t just appreciate a good album I elevate it to the point where it’s not just good music but the pinnacle of western civilization.

Obviously I’m just the sort of guy who pounces on music lists. The journalists who work for Rock and roll publications such as Rolling Stone Magazine depend on saddies such as myself who will see a publication called “top 100 guitar solos in songs about public nudity” and know that life isn’t complete until I’ve found out what number one is and then voiced my indignation at their omissions, inclusions and rankings.

For many the top position in the “list of great rock lists” is held by Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. Published in 2003 it gave 167 music critics the chance to vote on the greatest albums and then compiled it together into a comprehensive list. And like all great Rock lists it makes me angry. Great albums linger in the lower recesses or are left off completely. Artists whose work I treasure were ignored completely. And of course it gives me lots of chances to utter the catch-cry of the opinionated list reader: “what the hell is that doing there?”

Convinced at the ineptitude of all of the voters, I’ve railed against this list several times and elevated myself to the top of the 500 Most Boring Rock Nerds list with my attempts to convince anyone not clever enough to run when they see me coming. Recently however I sat down and had a look at what was placed where and came to some realizations. Despite my boasts about the depth of my CD collection, there are lots of albums on the list that I’ve never actually heard. There are entire artists that I’m completely unfamiliar with. How can I decry the position of my favourite album if I’ve never heard the LP sitting above it? What right do I have to cast opinions about the listing if 75% of it has never graced my ears?

And so I made it my mission to hunt down the albums I don’t own and give them an extended listen. Not just a once over but a real study in order to see what it is I’m missing. While I’m there I plan to revisit the albums that I know and love, to see whether they hold up as well as I think they do. I decided to give every one of the albums on the top 500 equal time on my stereo/mp3 player starting with 500 and working my way up to number one. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet I can turn this mission into a blog and share my views with people who actually care rather than people who can’t avoid me.

These are the rules that I’ve decided to set myself in order to make sure this experience is run with a sense of discipline.

Rule One: I will listen to every note of every album at least four times.

Rule Two: I will approach every album with a completely open mind as if hearing it for the first time.

Rule Three: I will read what others thought of the album. If I’m going to share my opinions I should probably take some time to experience others. (I’ll include my favourite comment from the Amazon customer’s reviews as well)

Rule Four: With only one exception, I will never use the word genius, which is the most over-used and abused word in the English language.

Rule Five: I will find something nice to say about every single album.

Rule Six: I will never abuse anyone who shares an opinion if they comment on my blog posts. I’m not doing this to troll or start a flame war.

Enjoy my posts and please feel free to comment as often as you like.


  1. David,
    You've got a of listening to do. I hope that you enjoy it, and I'm looking forward to reading your critiques.

  2. Hi David

    I find it interesting that it appears not one of the top 500 albums fit into the reggae genre (looking at the list of genres available down the right side of the screen). I am keen to hear your opinion as to why this is so. Or are you perhaps saving these albums til last? Or maybe reggae does not fit the ‘rock’ criteria of Rolling Stone? Tarms

  3. Tarms,

    I've got nothing to do with the order the albums appear in. That was determined by the writers of Rolling Stone magazine. Fear not though, there's Reggae on the way. Thanks for stopping by the blog and posting a comment.

  4. hey,David,I am looking forward to taking this rather dangerous journey into the R.S top 500 albums with you.Lots of new discoveries to be made and then avoided at all cost .Any list that contains both Miles Davis and The Sex Pistols deserves at least some attention. Sir JP

  5. Hi David,
    I have just arrived at your highly entertaining blog (via the Dictionary of Moments) and will most surely be back. I applaud your restraint when it comes to the dreaded 'G' word and am most intrigued as to what the one exception will be ...

  6. Emilie,

    Thanks for dropping by the blog and leaving a comment. Please tell your friends. And I enjoyed your stories on the dictionary by the way, looking forward to reading more if and when you put some up.