The 10 Day Album Challenge

(Is it wrong to rip off and repost your own Facebook content?)

During Corona lockdown the “challenge” has gone around as a sign of our times to post the covers of 10 albums that had a significant impact on you, with no explanation. So I wilfully didn’t comply, as follows:

Day 1

About a week ago I got nominated for the 10 Album Challenge by Andrew Fewster, and quickly realised that I didn’t really have the capacity to post every day for 10 days. Nor did I have the ability to limit to 10 albums, or to give no explanations… so here’s the approximation I settled on:

These 4 albums have been absolutely life-affecting for me, if not possibly a little cliche.

  • DSotM I’ve always said was on my Desert Island Discs and if I could only take 10 albums I’d take 5 copies of that, just in case…
  • LZ IV needs no introduction or explanation by anyone, ever.
  • Blood Sugar Sex Magick was the soundtrack of 1991/92, which I feel was my awakening as a human being.
  • Mighty Rearranger probably less well-known, but to me signalled Robert Plant finally finding his groove as a solo performer, as well as opening my mind to musical styles I’d never imagined.

Please feel free to play along if you haven’t already – I’ve enjoyed everyone’s album choices so far immensely.

Day 2

Day 2’s Album batch (don’t worry, am only doing one more after this) WITH unsolicited explanations is as follows (and thanks again to Mr Fewster for the initial nudge) –

  • The Blues Brothers Soundtrack – less of an album, and more of a lifestyle choice. From having the opportunity to sing some of it on stage to 10,000 people… to trying to teach myself German by watching the film repeatedly with the language switched over cos I know it backwards in English… to indoctrinating a busload of 40 Scouts with it by making them watch it all the way from Adelaide to Brisbane and back (no lasting damage, I assume).
  • Alabama 3’s “Exhile on Coldharbour Lane” – a musical gamechanger for me that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of listening to (even if December’s gig was a little lacklustre). For the first time listener it’s like feeling like you’ve stumbled on something that you’re not sure whether or not is illicit going on, but have a feeling it probably is.
  • Muse “Absolution” – proof that stadium rock doesn’t need to be a compromise, and proof that there’s some music played on the radio that I can tolerate after all (cheers Emma)
  • Tin Pan “Yes Yes Yes” – not just a tight-but-loose jazzy bluesy band that I can endlessly listen to, but a weird exercise in coincidence, manifest. That a band I stumbled across while walking through a park in New York would also turn out to have a semi-regular once-a-year gig in Bristol, but also that the bandmaster would end up being mates with someone I learned clarinet with at high school… just amazing.

Day 3

Finally, day 3 of the musical trilogy where I highlight the most significant things to drift through my transom – I’ve enjoyed doing this, and seeing people respond… and I think the explanations are no bad thing.

  • This Is Spinal Tap – I wonder if any band/film/album has affected my life as much as this? From the half-remembered glimpse of a film you just Could Not Find Anywhere in the 90s (a video store owner offered me $500 if I could find him a copy), to seeing them play live in 2009… masterfully treading the fine line between stupid and clever.
  • Bad News – the amount of spoken content on this really marks it out as a comedy album rather than music, but it’s the source of so much gut-clutching, eye-watering laughter in my 20s and still something I pull quotes from daily. And even watching Bohemian Rhapsody last year I couldn’t help it with the “No, no, no, no, ABSOLUTELY NOT!”.
  • Weird Al “Off The Deep End” – this was the moment that for me changed Weird Al from being a talented parodist with a food obsession into a fully-fledged artist of versatility. Smells Like Nirvana, Polka Your Eyes Out, and You Don’t Love Me Anymore for me are the equivalent of Dark Side of the Moon in the Bullshit Firmament.
  • Baterz “Out Of Hell” – Baterz and his offbeat-but-not-quite-comedy songs about zombie girlfriends, arachnid parents, and love paeans to air conditioning units in central Adelaide were the exact moment a sheltered pillock realised the depth of songwriting, and that one person with a guitar in the back room of a pub could sing about anything.

Final thoughts on the 3 days / 12 albums of the 10 day / 10 album challenge Andrew set me (with last-minute backup by Patrick) – it occurred to me that with the exception of Led Zeppelin & Bad News, I’ve somehow inveigled my way to see every one of these acts play live (although I’ve seen Ade Edmonson, Nigel Planer, and Rik Mayall in separate occasions so that’s a half mark), so is that the realising of an adolescent dream, or just a colossal waste of time & money? Hey ho.

I envy us.

(it was at this point I remembered that I already did this list more or less in 2009 – with a modest amount of consistency too!)