Last week my friend Potter sent me an email recounting the 26 albums he listens to when he can’t decide what to listen to. This list included many great records, was very well written and highly entertaining (with permission from Potter, ie. a wave of his sorcerers wand, I’ll post it in this space). But the premise doesn’t actually work for the way I listen to music. I tend to take between 7 and 14 listens to love an album during which a 5-step process occurs 1) I listen to the record once through and find a couple tracks I like 2) listen to those tracks a few times while my taste for the other tracks grow in concentric circles (ie. if track 4 kicks ass I’ll probably like tracks 3 and 5 before 9 even if it’s a better song) 3) I have a startling revelation that the record totally kicks ass from play till stop 4) I listen to it 4 times a day for 2 months 5) I ween myself off only to return when a track surfaces somewhere in my grey matter and possibly starts the cycle over again.
This cycle has probably happened two to three times a year since I first consciously heard Michael Jackson argue about the genetics of an infant in falsetto sing-song. Below are a few albums I distinctly remember devouring like a pothead with Funyuns in chronological order from when they entered my realm.
Michael Jackson Thriller – I liked Thriller so much I choreographed a break dance to the entirety of Billie Jean and used to perform in front of the summer camp my father ran. I was 4 at the time.
Snoop Dog Doggystyle – Fast-forward to the impressionable days of middle school when all I wanted to do was drink Tanqueray and bang bitches in my parents’ living room. I must have listened to Lodi Dodi about 5,000 times.
Hootie and the Blowfish Cracked Rear View – Not only were Hoot and the Fish the first band that I ever saw in concert, but CRV was the first CD I ever owned. My first CD player woke me up every 8th grade morning with Only Want to be With You and while I may joke, I look back on that record with a great deal of fondness. The perfect album for the time, never would have made it in the cynical world of now (both my “now” and the collective “now”).
Dave Matthews Band Under the Table and Dreaming – I’m not sure if I listened to this record because I liked it or because everyone I knew liked it but I still know that Ants Marching is on by the second drumbeat.
G Love and Special Sauce Yeah, It’s That Easy – Tower records used to be one of the only record stores with listening stations (when Tower Records used to be a record store). I was walking by one that had YITE for listening and as my nickname at the time was G Love, I felt obligated to check it out. Four tracks and 18 minutes later I was on-line on my way to an extended love affair with a black sounding, Philly born, prep-school raised, lanky, white, blues singer.
Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique – my personal favorite BB record and definitely the most critically underrated in their collection. I remember arguing that Paul’s Boutique was a superior record to Check Your Head in my 11th grade physics class. I do not remember anything else about 11th grade physics class.
Be back on Monday with part II (which has much better music, I promise)