For some reason, this year I decided to try and listen to an album every single day – a different album every single day, to be clear, so no repeat plays, and no thrashing my favourites every day. It has turned out to be a helluva lot of fun, so much so that I’m already planning to do it again in 2022.
The albums I listened to weren’t just my own choices. I took to Facebook, asking for requests from friends, so a lot of albums came from them. I looked at the release schedule and tried to listen to plenty of new albums. I added albums I’d not heard from a list of the Best Of 2020, and from Rolling Stone’s 500 Best Albums Of All Time list. One friend suggested a Kiwi album at least once a week, so I worked that in too. I posted the results on Facebook regularly for everyone to see and weigh in on.
But to be honest, it wasn’t until December that another friend suggested posting all of this somewhere other than on Facebook. And since he attached that suggestion to a compliment, here they are. Since we’re nearly at the end of the year, I’m going to break these into groups of fifteen albums, and back date the posts to when I actually listened to the albums. Enjoy.
Written on December 14, 2021.
001 Deftones – Black Stallion (2020). This is the remix album of their classic White Pony, and it is pretty great. My favourite is the remix of “Knife Prty” by a duo called Purity Ring, which introduced me to the concept of ‘witch house’, which is house music with an occult leaning, but I don’t think I like that. (January 1, 2021).
002 Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia (2020). Holy shit, the songs on this album are so catchy! I think my favourite is “Don’t Start Now”. (January 2, 2021).
003 TesseracT – Sonder (2019). This album has been in my rotation for a while now, since I discovered the song “King”. But my favourite is the brutal closing pair of “Smile” and “The Arrow”, which must be listened to together. (January 3, 2021).
004 Deftones – Ohms (2020). The groups most recent new album came out in the middle of 2020 and it is fantastic. Its been on high rotate at my place since. I even pre-ordered it on vinyl. (January 4, 2021).
005 Sepultura – Chaos AD (1993). Maybe the most iconic album by Max Cavalera and co, Chaos AD is like 27 years old now. Sadly it shows. I loved this album as a teen, but as an adult I’m struck by how simplistic the arrangements are, and how disjointed some of the songs are (like, the breakdown in the middle of “Refuse/Resist” honestly sounds like a different song). (January 5, 2021).
006 David Gray – Life In Slow Motion (2005). David Gray’s earlier album White Ladder gets all the dues because of the songs “Babylon” and “Sail Away”, but I think this is his best. My favourite is “Nos Da Cariad”. (January 6, 2021).
007 Troy Kingi – The Ghost Of Freddie Cesar (2020). A recommendation from Maria, who challenged me to listen to one Kiwi album a week as part of this challenge. I enjoyed this one; not exactly my bag, but I did like it – especially the songs “Through My Venetians” and “Nam Must Stay” (and the bassline in “Chronophobic Disco” is dope). (January 7, 2021).
008 Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour (2018). A recommendation from Katherine – this was the perfect soundtrack to my morning, easy to listen to and not too taxing. The opener “Slow Burn” is gorgeous. (January 8, 2021).
009 Muse – Absolution (2004). One of my favourite albums ever, I discovered over the weekend that it is also one of Rhianon’s favourite albums ever, so we listened to it on a drive up to Whangarei. I’m still a sucker for “Hysteria”, but this album is packed. (January 9, 2021).
010 Dream Theater – Images And Words (1992). A surprising album that Rhianon is fond of – or was for a time. I was never a big DT fan; I lumped them in with acts like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and gave them a pretty wide berth. Incredible musicians though; as I said to Rhianon, you get the sense that where Iron Maiden are metallers who are good at music, Dream Theater are insanely good musicians who tend toward metal most of the time. Favourite track: “Take The Time”. (January 10, 2021).
011 A Perfect Circle – Eat The Elephant (2018). Over the weekend, my friend Jamie was running me through a list of songs and played “So Long And Thanks For All The Fish”, the lead single from this album. And I realised I hadn’t listened to the full album, released in 2018 and APC’s first since 2004. It was pretty good; the reviews I read said it showed increased musicianship and experimentation from the band, but I thought it sounded pretty similar to the slower, more melancholy tracks from Thirteenth Step. Interesting lyrics though, very end-of-days, especially in a song called “The Doomed”: ‘Behold a new Christ / Behold the same old horde / Gather at the altering / New beginning, new word / And the word was death / And the word was without light / The new beatitude / Good luck, you’re on your own’. (January 11, 2021).
012 The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You (2020). I can’t lie, I did not enjoy this album. It was half decent when people like Perry Farrell, Jamie xx and Neneh Cherry (their track “Wherever You Go” is easily the highlight for me) started showing up, but the first and final thirds are just not my cup of tea. Oh well. (January 12, 2021).
013 Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream (1993). This is (in my opinion) the pinnacle of Billy Corgan and company’s musical output, but nowadays, when I think of Smashing Pumpkins, I think of The Simpsons. “Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins.” “Homer Simpson, smiling politely.” (January 13, 2021).
014 Supergroove – Traction (1994). I somehow ended up listening to the re-release version on YouTube Music; it has “Next Time” as the fifth track, which wasn’t included when the album was first released (it first came out on an EP a year later). I think the album holds up pretty well, but listening to it now, I’m struck by how the highlight tracks are all led by Che Fu (formerly Che Ness); songs like “For Whatever Reason”, “Your White Shirt” and “Sitting Inside My Head” are easily the highlights all these years later. All respect to Karl Steven, the other vocalist, but the songs where he takes the lead tend more toward a post-grunge sound in keeping with the time. (January 14, 2021).
015 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell (2003). In a mysterious piece of serendipity, Rhianon ended up listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs – specifically the highlight from this album, “Maps” – at about the same time I was listening to this album. I don’t know if I like it necessarily, but listening to it threw me back to the early 2000s explosion of indie pop rock (in my CD collection see also: The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Interpol). (January 15, 2021).
This post is part of my ongoing effort to listen to a new album every single day of 2021. If you have any suggestions on what I should listen to next, send them through to email@example.com.