The Legends of Laurel Canyon
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die
It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best
Transfiguration of Vincent
Christmas in the Heart
Glitter and Doom Live
Let It Roll: The Best of George Harrison
Secret, Profane & Sugarcane
Playing for Change
I buy a LOT of music, listen to even more, and I'm also a writer (American Hit Radio was my book), so I know a bit about this subject. My first book was based solely on hit singles, so I naturally had been considering a second book based on the most important albums ever released. Once "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" hit the stores, though, it rendered my own plans obsolete. That is fine, and IF this book lived up to its title, I would be the first to applaud the effort. Instead, I am writhing in utter disbelief at the sheer prejudice of its selections, and the virtual idiocy employed to make these selections.
I don't say these things lightly, either. Another thing about me - I am extremely obsessive, so I made it my business to hear every single song on every single one of these 1001 albums. It has taken me a year to complete the task, and I can honestly say that it has been one of the most unrewarding and miserable projects I have ever undertaken. Is there any reasonable human alive on the plant Earth who would select three albums by Dexy's Midnight Runners as music that you must hear before you die? I'm not saying that the Pet Shop Boys suck, but do they have four albums that deserve to be emulated? And don't even get me started on their inclusion of British one hit wonders like Soft Cell, Prodigy, Finlay Quaye and Skunk Anansie. It's bad enough that I had to listen to the ubiquitous hits by these marginal artists, but hearing an entire album of filler, while it is lauded as among the most important music of all time, is virtually criminal. I could go on and on. Is there ANY human left who has not dismissed Limp Bizkit as a thorough waste of time? Even the ex-bandmembers cite their own irrelevance, but this book sees the moronic "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water" as worthy of inclusion. Before this book was released, my prejudice against this band and this album was based solely on warnings from intelligent critics. Now that my obsession with hearing every album in this book has forced me to hear for myself, I can unequivocally state that the critics are right; this album sucks miserably.
Shall I go on? Obscure English bands with little relevance (or discernible talent) pop up with such regularity that I began to think that all bad music is performed with an English accent. The Beta Band, Gorillaz, Red Snapper, Basement Jaxx, Death in Vegas and Primal Scream elicit moderate attention, but not overt praise. And the writers' obsession with club music is especially disconcerting. The writers saw fit to include every single album ever released by Morrissey, while American blues, jazz, folk, country and alt-country are terribly neglected. Note that these writers saw fit to exclude Beatles albums like "Magical Mystery Tour", "Let It Be", "Help" and "Beatles For Sale," but felt compelled to include the non-music of Tortoise, Orbital, Fatboy Slim, DJ Shadow, LTJ Bukem, the Chemical Brothers, and Reprazent. If you think that Britney Spears debut album is a contender for best album of all time, or that Destiny's Child deserves to be represented alongside Bob Dylan and Radiohead, then you needn't read my opinion any longer. All that I am saying is that I have dedicated my entire life to searching out good music, and this book has not only taken me off track, but ate up one good year of my life in the process. So, please save yourself from exposure to this avalanche of nonsense. And maybe I WILL write my own book after all - It couldn't be any worse.