As one kind Reddit user noted, “Dork. **** your rules”. It seems that my own principles have slipped and the rules have had to be adjusted. **** your rules, indeed. That’s not to say that I’ve dropped the ball entirely here; this entire experience is pulling me back into a world that’s taken somewhat of a back seat in the last few years.
I’ve always been a passionate lover of music. I adore the fascinating rotation of sound, captured in the ridges of vinyl. Rather than abandon the boundaries set in my previous post, I’ve expanded my rules. The initial ones were threefold: (1) No Greatest Hits, (2) One album to represent each year only and (3) ideally, no rebuys. The latter generating the most discussion, I concede that this is not a hard-and-fast rule but merely an ideal.
Crucially, this venture is about expanding my awareness and sinking my teeth into those artists and musicians that I’ve never fully explored. As everyone was torn to threads hearing the news of David Bowie’s death, I too plugged into my iPod and repeated the Best of album for days on end. But I don’t know how ‘Life on Mars’ sits on the track listing of Hunky Dory. To know the original context for consumption, my bearings are way off, and instead my experience dictates that ‘Life on Mars?’ is followed by ‘Star Man’. My appreciation will only grow further with a re-release of Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust next month. For the foreseeable future, I’m spoilt for choice and I’ll hear them ‘the way it was intended’ in due course. But which to buy first?
The key change I’ve made is splitting my list in two. On the one side sits the year-by-year album selection, now with an early stage of planning. My 2013, 2014, 2015 and (with Underworld’s Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future album pre-ordered) 2016 spots are already comfortably sat on the shelf. There is, of course, a sense of worry questioning how long I can hold back buying a contemporary album. The new Radiohead is due any day and I’m hardly going to download it now, am I? Currently though, my appetite for older albums has kept these thoughts away. But I’ve started researching records by The Beatles, Elton John and Bob Marley with subject-to-change decisions made. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club (1967), Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973) and Natty Dread (1974) are the respective choices. Exodus is the obvious Marley selection, but alas, I already know the album intimately after buying the CD years ago. I am conflicted on Elton John though, with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (A staple of the progressive rock genre) released the same year – I’m simply not sure which Elton album is stronger than Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Is there a hidden rule here, without me realizing, as I try and each album has to be by a different artist?
That’s the one side of my list, the other is my collection of soundtracks and scores. This has been more at the forefront of my mind in the last fortnight. The Hateful Eight soundtrack and score is simply outstanding, with glorious sleeve art and exceptional themes, courtesy of Ennio Morricone. Separately, I found some lucky little finds at only a fiver a pop. A looked-after score of John William’s 1978 Superman score kicks off what will surely be the first of many Williams records. But the funky Saturday Night Fever (1977) and hip Easy Rider (1969) soundtracks with their selection of Bee Gees, Tavares, Jimi Hendrix and Steppenwolf make a nice excuse to stick on a compilation of tunes that are all smoothly consistent, working exquisitely as albums in their own right.
There are many more ‘subject to change’ albums I hope to buy, from Arctic Monkeys to Wham!, and Leftfield to Lauryn Hill, but it’s all in the pipeline. Ultimately, this is all in jest. A way to direct my attention to the millions of records I’d love to hear. We all need a little structure sometimes, don’t we?