Sunday Question – What Is The Last Great Album In Your Opinion?

Man, talk about a tough question for someone like me. Well, it’s not, but when I give my answer you’re going to say “no way”. But I at least have criteria; I wonder if you have the same thing or just go by the last thing you bought that you liked.


by Jem Stone

Ah yes, criteria. Without criteria, you’re just guessing and throwing things out without any meaning. Not having criteria allows you to say “Ooh, I love Lady Gaga because she did a song called Allesandro” without listening to anything else she might have done. Not having criteria allows you to say “Man, I hate Aretha Franklin” while you’re walking around the house singing “Respect.”

I have criteria that disallows things. Let’s take a look:

1. Classical albums of existing music don’t count. Sure, I love Rachmaninoff and Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, but if a monkey had enough talent to play that music and I bought it I would probably love it, and it would be a great album, but it’s not new music. So, that has to be thrown out.

2. Show tunes and movie music doesn’t count. Both are scripted to enhance a movie and to have flow throughout a full performance. I love both Phantom of the Opera and Wicked, but I have to ask if I’d have enjoyed both albums without their being a show to follow along with. I’m thinking that without the show I’d have never even given the music a shot, so they get excluded.

3. A great album doesn’t necessarily have to have a great hit, but whether it does or doesn’t, you have to like at least 75% of the music on it. We don’t have sides of an album anymore, but if you find yourself skipping songs you don’t want to hear, then it’s probably not a great album, just a pretty good album with a few songs you absolutely love. If that’s the best you can come up with for a great album then your criteria has a grading curve to it; don’t settle!

4. If this doesn’t start giving it away, if you folks know me, then nothing will. Your favorite album will most probably correspond with your favorite artist or artists. Man, I have a lot of great albums in my repertoire. There are so many that I loved either every song or almost every song, to the point that I’ll even listen to the not very good songs because if I didn’t I’d feel like I was taking away from the entire experience of the album.

My problem is that all the great albums (and yes, I still call them “albums” instead of CDs) are from when I was younger. Not necessarily my 20’s, but I have to face the fact that when I want to listen to certain things over and over, I go back to older songs. Sure, there are some newer songs I like, and I’ve even bought an album or two over the last bunch of years. But if I tell you that the last thing I bought was Mariah Carey’s Emancipation of Mimi, which came out in 2005… yeah, you know my collection of music is kind of old. lol

So, for me, the last, or newest I guess I’ll say, great album was… Dangerous by Michael Jackson. I almost said HIStory, but the first CD was a collection of old hits I loved and I didn’t make my 75% quota on the second album. Dangerous came out in 1991; isn’t that a shame? But off that album of 14 songs I loved 12 of them, which is 86%. And 9 songs, count ’em, 9 were released as singles from that album; who else has had that many songs stand on their own from one album except… oh yeah, Michael Jackson & the Beatles? 😉

Heck, let’s end with one of those songs; what album was your last greatest?

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Sony Walkman – End Of An Era

Who remembers the Sony Walkman? Strangely enough, I purchased probably 4 of these over the early years, but I never owned one. I bought them for other people because I had something already that handled that duty. I don’t remember what the brand name was; my dad was always the cutting edge guy, and I usually had something way before everyone else back in the day, whether or not it was a name brand.

Not being someone who was ever all that obsessed with what was in fashion, I never quite saw the need for my owning one. However, I always knew that other people craved these things, even if they already had something, and they never did cost all that much. They made the perfect gift, and there wasn’t one person I ever gave one of these things to that wasn’t overly impressed with it.

It’s hard for younger people to know just how big a deal portable cassette players were. Back then most of us could create our own tapes, and I was one of those folks who used to make my own dance mix tapes as well. I used to take my player with me when I walked the lake, or when I went many other places. Strangely enough, I never took it with me to the gym when I used to belong back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and these days I couldn’t imagine leaving home for the gym without my MP3 player.

And that was what really started changing things. You could get a bunch more digital files into a player than you ever could cassette tapes, and of course you can access your songs quicker than you could with a cassette. Sound quality initially favored records and cassettes because CDs were pretty sterile sounding, but with the improvement in sound acoustics, it was only a matter of time. After all, even most cars now have removed cassette players, which is going to irritate me the next time I have to buy a car because the library still has so many books on cassette that I’ve yet to listen to.

Man, first 8-tracks, then records, and now cassette players; what’s next?

Lancaster Entertainment Center in Paprika by Crosley Radio

Lancaster Entertainment Center in Paprika by Crosley Radio






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