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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Parameters for my Favorite Albums of All Time List

In my last post, I mentioned that I wanted to begin compiling a list of my favorite albums of all time. But before I could actually put that list together, I thought I should develop a set of parameters. These parameters aren't meant to be super specific, just general guidelines.

1. Timeframe. All records that make it to my list must be at minimum one to two years old. I want my list to consist of albums that truly hold up. I've noticed that over the years, when I've assembled my "End of the Year " favorites list, I've included albums that really don't hold up. Some reasons are based on quality, some is based on my musical taste changing. I don't want that for this list. I want a "timeless" quality to it. And for me, if I consistently listened to an album over the course of a few years, you can bet that it's one of my favorites. Which is a perfect segue way into number 2.

2. Re-listenability. I should go out of my way every now and then to listen to this album in full. For example, once a year, I always try to listen to George Harrison's All Things Must Pass. I love everything about the record. It's so good. Again for me, that's a characteristic of a great record. I go out of my way to listen to a album at least once a year. Now since I've mentioned a Beatle, I should move onto number 3.

3. Limited Beatles. I love the Beatles, and I could totally make this list consisting of nothing but Beatles albums along with solo Beatles albums. But I don't want to do that. I want my all time list to have some diversity to it. Hence I am limiting myself to one Beatles album and two solo Beatles albums for this list. In total this list will consist of 10 entries, with two honorable mentions, so three spots out of twelve should be plenty to house my Beatles selections. Plus it'll allow me at some point to develop a favorites list consisting of nothing but the Beatles.

There you have it. My basic parameters for my Favorite Albums of All Time List. I'll start next week with my two honorable mentions.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Favorite Albums of All Time

Over the past few days, I've been doing some reflecting regarding what my favorite albums of all time are. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be fun to put a list together of my top 10 favorite albums of all time are, and why they mean so much to me.

Before I compile the list, I need to set a few parameters for what makes an album one of my favorite of all time. This will be a fun list to develop.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Remaster

I am utterly blown away by how GREAT the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band sounds. It's crisp and the volume is note muted. This remaster allows room for the harmonies, instruments, and other effects. I feel like I am hearing this record for the first time.

In fact, I think the harmonies are the real highlight of this remaster job for me. Hearing how John, Paul, and George's voices blend together in perfect harmony is incredible. I really hope the rest of their catalogue gets a remaster job like this. I will gladly repurchase the catalog if it sounds as good as Sgt. Pepper.

There's also a part of me that hopes that this remastering reminds people why they feel in love with Pepper in the first place. Over the last few years, Pepper's standing in the musical community has gone down slightly, and I truly hope these reminds everyone how great it is.

Monday, May 15, 2017

New Records of 2017

I've always prided myself on embracing new music. I've always had an open ear to check out new records or new artists. This year feels different though. In fact I'm a little disappointed in myself. I feel like there has been absolutely nothing that has "grabbed" my full attention. It is true that there are a number of new records that I have enjoyed very much (Check out the listing below.) There's just nothing that has grabbed my attention.

Maybe it is true, as you age, you get more set in your musical ways. Maybe that's what has happened to me? Maybe 2017 hasn't been that great for music thus far? Maybe the records that will speak to me haven't been released yet. All of the aforementioned ideas could be true or false. Only time will tell. It just feels like last year at this time, I had some many favorite new albums. This year, I feel like I'm in a musical drought, and I keep returning to old favorites.

Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau: Self-Titled

Chris Thile, Yo-Yo Ma, and Edgar Meyer: Bach Trios

Spoon: Hot Thoughts

The Shins: Heartworms

Gorillaz: Humanz

Los Campesinos!: Sick Scenes

Monday, May 8, 2017

New Episode of 'The Looking Glass'

I meant to post this last week, but here is the latest episode of my podcast series: 'The Looking Glass'. The season 2 premier episode is entitled: "The Bradbury Chronicler", and it features Sam Weller. Weller, who is Bradbury's official biographer, discusses how he fell in love with Bradbury's writing as a child, and how he eventually went onto becoming friends with his literary hero. I really like this episode, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did putting it together.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

New Music from the Gorillaz

I know I'm a little behind the curve on this, but my goodness, is the new music from the Gorillaz really, really good.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Illustrated Man

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Earlier this year I read an incredible biography of Ray Bradbury entitled: "The Bradbury Chronicles". It is one of the best biographies I've ever read. After reading it, I feel like I knew Bradbury the man. Plus one cool part is the author of the book is a professor at Columbia College here in Chicago, and I was able to interview him for the new season of my podcast 'The Looking Glass'.

Anyways, after I finished reading the biography, I thought it would be fun to go and read one of Bradbury's books. So the book I selected is 'The Illustrated Man'. It's a collection of short stories that are interconnected in an interesting manner. The stories in the book are "tattoos" on a traveling man, and the proceed to tell their stories to a hiker at night.

It's an incredible book. I'm utterly blown away with how great Bradbury is at short stories. Many of the stories in "The Illustrated Man" are emotional, frightening, unnerving, happy, and hard hitting. One of the things that Sam Weller, author of "the Bradbury Chronicles", told me in our interview is that he believes Bradbury will be mentioned in the same breathe as Poe, Hemingway, and Shakespeare. After reading "Illustrated Man", and earlier the "Martian Chronicles" and "Fahrenheit 451", I must say, I agree with that statement.