To repeat a truism, any curated list of albums will be a subjective one - how could it be anything but?
By dint of what I do for a living, I do get to listen to a great deal of music and it helped to call on a broad church of material for our two fifty album pieces. The feedback on them has been brilliant and left me thinking about how we might take the concept further. To do that and create something of genuine worth, I reached the conclusion pretty quickly that this couldn’t solely be a result of my opinions. One thing that has become clear over the course of the recent music pieces is that there is a body of knowledge - and extremely strongly held opinions - that I would very much like to harness. What follows is a modest treatise on how we might go about doing that.
The idea is to produce a series of album lists that cover specific genres. Each one will be fifty albums long and I feel that the greatest worth as a tool of music discovery is to follow the pattern that led to the creation of the original Lockdown listening piece. At the time, I wrote;
It deliberately ignores the headline acts of various periods; I don’t have it in for them, I simply figured you’d already probably have heard of the Beatles or Peter Gabriel by now. Likewise, this is not an exercise in obscurity - all these albums have managed to achieve a measure of commercial success and it is highly likely you’ll have heard of quite a few of them already.
What I really want to do is walk a balance between material that won’t be on the first five lists you pull out of Google but represent releases that would be recognised by people reasonably well versed in that genre of music. This is something we’ll have to experiment with but; based on the sort of recommendations I’ve been seeing in the comments so far, I think that you’ve basically got a handle on it.
Beyond the conventional genres, there’s a few that we need to do because we’re AVForums. Film soundtracks and scores (and these definitely need to be separate) are a given and if this has legs, I want to do guilty pleasures where - like people in a group therapy session - we admit to albums that we might not under normal circumstances.
What I really want to do is walk a balance between material that won’t be on the first five lists you pull out of Google but represent releases that would be recognised by people reasonably well versed in that genre of music
This will mean that we need to agree on the genres themselves. This is basically a case of seeing how we get on with content when we start the ball rolling. A degree of subdivision is obviously needed; as an electronica fan, I feel that separating more dance oriented material from the ambient is a good thing but minute divisions of each of those two genres isn’t required. This means I’m looking for similar discipline from the metal fraternity (sub genres of metal seem to proliferate like bacteria on a petri dish) and indeed everyone else.
Here’s the good news; the forum software as it exists today is more than up to the task so we don’t need to hurtle off into a nightmare of third party plugins. What I’d like you to do is the following;
Use the search. The Forum software allows you to search in the thread for keywords such as band or album names. Check to see if the album you want to nominate is there already. If it is, you only need to use the agree function. There’s no need to double up. If your choice hasn’t been mentioned so far, we need the following.
Band name and title. This is obvious, no? A set of parameters by which other people know who you are talking about.
Your pitch. In a few sentences, why should this album make the list. In terms of ‘worth’, while I would expect all candidates to be a good listen, candidates can be historically and stylistically significant too.
And that’s it. That’s what you do to pitch. Please limit each post to one album.
If you see other people’s proposals and you think they’re good ones, simply use the ‘agree’ option in the thanks options. This is the quickest and easiest way of checking the level of enthusiasm for a given choice and makes more sense than picking through quoted posts and the like.
After a given period, I’ll collate it all up and begin the process of making the list.
The first order of business
The first things we need to do, and that form the comments for this thread are to;
- Confirm the genres we’ll be covering.
- Identify any issues with the method described above
If we can start with the genres first. I would suggest that we have 9 main categories;
- Dance/Upbeat Electronica
- Ambient/Downtempo electronica
- Rap/Hip Hop (here I’m happy to listen to arguments for splitting them)
- Folk/Acoustic (same)
- World (this is an enormous category and we’ll barely scratch the surface but we have to avoid winding up with hopeless fragmentation).
- Film soundtracks/scores
Feedback on these is welcome. If you’re going to make a case for splitting stuff up, I’d really like you to sit and briefly tally up fifty albums to check how viable it is. Ultimately, we’re AVForums not Pitchfork so a degree of accessibility to all the lists is important as much as trying to cover each and every type of music under the sun.
Likewise, if there’s an issue you can see with the pitching method, ideally suggesting a means of making it better would be useful too. The whole idea is to wind up with a resource of use to the firm for the foreseeable future rather than to settle any personal scores you might have at how a particular work you love has been cruelly overlooked.
So, there you have it. That’s the idea as I see it and it’s time for fine tuning. Without further ado, I turn it over to the floor.