What's This About?

This all started when I was flicking through the pages of the All-Time Top 1000 Albums by Colin Larkin. Compiled using votes from thousands of music fans, this book aimed to reflect what many people regard as the greatest albums ever made. But what surprised me was that so many of my own favourite records hadn't made the list. And what surprised me even more was that Britney Spears had made the list (#778 in case you're interested). Then I noticed Britney was also included in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and in several other top album lists. I found this really irritating until I realised that I'd never actually listened to that Britney Spears album. It was the same story elsewhere; hundreds of albums that I'd never heard that everyone else thought were the greatest ever made. What made these records so special? Well there's only one way to find out.

So the plan is to listen to each album in its entirety & in the correct running order. No skipping songs or fast-forwarding, even when it's an album I hate. (I may well regret pledging that - especially in big, bold letters).
I'm going to start at no. 1000 in the book & work my way up to the 'top'. Supposedly this should mean that the music will keep getting better & may help to maintain my interest through the long years it's going to take to complete.
And as I'm going to spend all this time listening to these albums I thought it'd be a good idea to keep a record of what I find. I've cobbled together a scoring system to try & rate each album & I'll write my impressions to present alongside. Not album reviews (I think there's more than enough music critics out there already) but just a few personal thoughts & random observations to aid my own feeble memory.

Why Bother?

I like to think I have eclectic taste in music, but in recent years I’ve found myself listening to the same kind of genres & artists (I think it’s called ‘get-ting old-er’) so at the very least doing this will force me to listen to things that I'd never normally encounter. I think I'm also doing this to satisfy some kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder, wanting to tick off every album on the Top 1000 list as if I was a kid collecting stickers in a sticker-book (which doesn't bode well as I always gave up on those sticker-books after a few weeks).

The only problem with using this as a way to discover new music is that when you look closely at any of these ‘greatest album’ lists by Mojo, Rolling Stone, etc, you find they’re all rather limited in their scope. They concentrate largely on mainstream rock and particular artists always seem to fare better than others - e.g., the All-Time Top 1000 list includes no fewer than 8 albums by Aerosmith, 12 albums by REM & 13 albums by Bob Dylan. Good as they might be, that’s not really broadening my musical horizons much so I decided to also do a sister-project using the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Unlike the Top 1000 which uses public votes to rank the albums, this book is compiled by numerous music critics which means you find a lot more ‘challenging’ material from outside the typical rock & pop genres - it should make for an interesting comparison.