Monday, August 8, 2011

Early Lessons From The Every Album Challenge

Sometimes listening to an album only once is hard. Sometimes it’s damn near impossible. Sometimes I question my sanity for taking on the self-imposed Every Album Challenge. I mean, really, what the hell was I thinking?

When the new Pop Evil album, War Of Angels, arrived in my hands for review, I was so excited. Pop Evil is one of my favorite new bands and their debut disc, Lipstick On The Mirror was freaking fantastic! Now I had the opportunity to hear their long awaited, sophomore follow up. Let me tell you – I played the hell out of that sucker! And now that the review is written and posted, no more War Of Angels for me until this challenge is over.

The same thing happened when I listened to Dom Liberati’s The Good Hurt. Holy heck! What an album! Normally, post-review, I would have played that disc for another month straight. However, with the Every Album Challenge clearly in effect, I had to file it away until the end of the challenge. Current projection on when I will listen to The Good Hurt again, February---2014. That just sucks!

What about some of the great albums from my collection that I’ve already listened to? Those are done for years too. No more Hinder’s All American Nightmare. No more American Bang. No more Restless Days from The Clarks. That’s hard to handle, but it’s called a challenge for a reason.

With just a little redirected focus, I have been able to see the good that has come out of this challenge as well. I listened to Ice Cube’s War & Peace Volume 2 for the first time in years. I forgot how magnificent that album was! I rediscovered Def Leppard’s Pyromania and was reminded of the brilliance that is captured on that record. David Lowery’s The Palace Guards never sounded better, because I knew that it was the last time I would hear it for a long, long while. When I stop and think about that before spinning an album, the music sounds so much sweeter.

Digging through the archives of my collection and seeing some of the rare gems that I have yet to listen to, gems that haven’t been played in so long they are collecting dust, gives me hope. Once I get over my urge and desire to hear new music endlessly, I will be able to really hunker down and enjoy the depths of my massive album collection.

There is so much still unexplored. John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Willie Nelson, Ja Rule, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mozart and more. It all has yet to be listened to. It is all waiting for me. And it will allow me the opportunity to turn away from my normal routine of Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Kiss, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Springsteen, and whatever the new release of the week is. The Every Album Challenge has born some grand fruit---the fruit of rediscovery.

I am looking forward to the rarities that lie ahead. Yes, I am going to miss certain albums that have already been played, but the opportunity to remember the greatness of my entire collection is too good a lure. That will keep me focused for a while. That will help me to enjoy the next stage of The Every Album Challenge.

Albums Listened To: 227
Albums Remaining: 1,826

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