Monday, March 01, 2010

Best. Album. Ever.

The sun is rising and a new day is dawning.

I've spent the past 17 months on this blog researching, listening to, and writing about "bad" albums. In case you weren't following along, the Rock Bottom project found me picking a musician and then determining which of their albums was the worst in the eyes of critics and fans. Though it sounds somewhat torturous, it was actually a blast uncovering the various reasons why an album was so hated, deciding whether I disagreed or not, and then writing about the whole process.

It took me 16 of those 17 months to come up with the logical companion project (I never claimed to be a quick thinker). Now that we know the worst of an artist, why not look at their best?

This, I'm discovering, brings up a whole different set of issues. How do we quantify what is ultimately an opinion? Sales? Critical reaction? Cultural impact? Fan response? My solution is to look at all of them. I'm going to rely on my trusty sources, the All Music Guide for the critical perspective, and's user reviews for the fan side of things. Rolling Stone will be thrown in as a tiebreaker. And in an added bit of egomania, I'll be sharing my own personal favorite album by each artist.

The line-up is going to be the same 23 artists for whom I wrote Rock Bottom entries: Beach Boys, Beatles, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Jay-Z, Billy Joel, Elton John, Madonna, Monkees, Tom Petty, Prince, Paul Simon, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Talking Heads, They Might Be Giants, James Taylor, U2, Van Halen, Weezer, XTC, and "Weird Al" Yankovic.

And since the first Rock Bottom featured R.E.M., that's where we'll start this time as well. Oh, and the name of this new feature? Rock Solid, of course (thanks to the wife for that one).

It starts tomorrow. Thanks for reading!


Richard said...

Love the new project, love the title! As you know, I think the point of music criticism is to help me buy things...and this will be much more likely to do that than the last project!

DDay said...

Excellent idea! Can't wait to read what you'll come up with, especially for performers that have switched styles (U2, Bowie, Prince...) or have several magnificent albums (REM, Beach Boys, Beatles...). Looking forward to this series!

Alex said...

Now this should be fun!