Objective subjectivity or my quest to discover the Top 100 Albums of all time: “B” albums recap.
Six weeks and 123 albums later, I have completed the “B” albums in my collection. This is recap #2 of 26.
The most illuminating discovery during the “B” albums occurred on Week 4. My week began with Mos Def’s “Black on Both Sides” and ended with Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint,” yet both of these critically acclaimed and adored albums didn’t make the cut. Other albums that failed to become contenders included: Jay-Z’s “The Black Album,” My Chemical Romance’s “The Black Parade,” Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Blood Sugar Sex Magik,” Jimmy Eat World’s “Bleed American,” and Blackalicious’s “Blazing Arrow.” It was almost as if the week was so stacked that I grew accustomed to a level of excellence and held all the albums to a higher standard. This is not a negative thing. In fact, when attempting to discern a top 100 album list, one should probably hold the highest standards possible, as subjective as those standards may be.
However, you’ll notice a handful of “On Second Thought” albums for this letter. That is because, on the more difficult weeks, albums that would have gotten lost in the shuffle became highlights. Ben Folds Five’s “Ben Folds Five” is a very exciting debut, full of cleverness and dexterity, but I highly doubt I would have given it “Contender” status if it played on Week 4 rather than Week 2. Conversely, if “Black on Both Sides,” played on Week 6, a week that contributed no contenders, perhaps it would be on this list.
This is not to say that I am not confident in my choices but rather that there is probably still an element of luck involved, even if this process is purely subjective. And that strikes me as interesting.
On Second Thought…
These are albums that I initially listed as contenders but, for one reason or another, will not make the Top 100 list.
The Starting Line — Based on a True Story: This was a difficult one to give up because it is galaxies better than their debut “Say It Like You Mean It.” But a band maturing doesn’t immediately warrant them a spot on the Top 100. Nor do lyrics such as “‘Let me describe to you this guy: his name is Ken. He’s in this band that writes such awful songs about me all the time.’ You’re goddamned right!” So, goodbye TSL. My adolescent, emo, inner child is crying itself to sleep.
Common — Be
Ben Folds Five — Ben Folds Five: See above
Buffalo Tom — Big Red Letter Day
Amy Winehouse — Back To Black: It’s not that I didn’t appreciate this album before, I just had no idea how much I actually was in love with it. From its brevity (35 minutes), to its musical variance (Motown, Soul, RnB), to its brash, unrestrained lyricism (“Kept his dick wet with his same old safe bet”), its a goddamned masterpiece. I could see myself tossing this CD in a 3-disc changer many years down the line.
Blood, Sweat & Tears — Blood, Sweat & Tears: My dad and I swap music every so often (He’ll loan me a Dylan album, I’ll burn him an Eels). This was the most obscure album he’s ever given to me and without a doubt, the best.
Top 100 Contenders from the “B” Albums
This is also reflected in the image at the top of the blog.
Aimee Mann — Bachelor №2
Amy Winehouse — Back to Black
D’Angelo and the Vanguard — Black Messiah
Black Star — Black Star (Debut)
Method Man & Redman — Blackout! (Debut)
Eels — Blinking Lights and Other Revelations (+60)
Blood, Sweat & Tears — Blood, Sweat & Tears
Joni Mitchell — Blue
Less Than Jake — Borders and Boundaries
The Hold Steady — Boys and Girls in America
Odds and Ends
Total albums listened to: 225
Total contenders: 18
Total weeks spent: 11
Total PPP (Pop-Punk Plethora) albums listened to: 12 (or 5%)
Total Debut albums on the Top 100 list: 5
Total +60 albums on the Top 100 list: 1