There’s nothing like five hours of Merle Haggard to make you question your commitment.
Back in 2003 Rolling Stone asked music critics, industry personnel, and a host of others what they considered to be the greatest albums of all time. After updating the original list in 2012 to include some albums from that decade, this list of the 500 greatest albums of all time came into existence.
As someone who’s loved music since the age of seven and has dabbled in songwriting since fourteen, I try to be a student of music. Naturally, I’ve always wanted to study the Great American Songwriters (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, etc.), listen to all the classic albums I should’ve heard but hadn’t, and/or make my way through this list but never found the time. It wasn’t until I saw that my friend, Alanna, had undertaken the challenge that I knew it was time. (You can follow her journey through the 500 over at howitmademefeel.com) Being the good friend she is, she then pressed me to write my thoughts and feelings from each album. While I was initially resistant, something like this deserves to be documented and shared to some degree. So, here we are.
The plan is to post every ten albums with my first impressions and initial reactions from each. I don’t have a particular timeline I’m working with but I’m hoping to have this done by the end of the year at the latest (preferably end of summer). Perhaps, I’ll even post check-ins throughout the process to let you know just what it’s like to take in the 500 greatest albums of all time. Another idea is to share my favorite listen from each week. I’m intentionally leaving this open-ended.
Of course, this challenge is not without reservation. The gift and the curse of art is its subjectivity. There are artists and genres that aren’t my cup of tea. What happens when I come across an album that I don’t like and yet it’s made this list? Is that something wrong in me or the music? The reality is just as there is a difference between hearing and listening, there is a difference between listening to an album and taking the time to appreciate it. Some albums open your world from the very first note, others require you to sit with them for a while and earn their trust before they begin to tell you their secrets. I don’t have time to do that with 500 hundred albums. That being said, I reserve the right to be wrong and even sacrilegious with some of these.
Five hundred albums is a daunting task; one that leaves me both excited and nervous. But if I made it through Merle that must mean I’m in it for the long haul.