Listening post

Yesterday morning I walked into the studio at work, and sat down at my desk like I always do.  Current studio music makes me feel like I work in a small. seriously, flashback to the time when I worked at a nail salon when I was 16 and the perma-tanned owner played Norah Jones constantly. She thought it was soothing. Meanwhile, I developed an eye tick, and still cringe every time I hear the opening bars of Come Away With Me.

Using Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time (compiled in 2009), I’ve decided to spend the rest of the year getting a musical education, and hopefully improve the quality of my working day. I’m going to listen to every album in order, with no skipping or jumping about. To help me, I’ve finally downloaded Spotify, which I had been oddly resistant to using, but really, it’s MAGIC. (You know what else is magic? Noise-cancelling headphones – a brilliant tip I gleaned from Introverts in ad agencies: a helpful guide.)

So, counting down from 500, here are the first three.

500. OutKast, ‘Aquemini’

OutKast, 'Aquemini

My challenge got off to a strong start with OutKast’s third studio album, Aquemini. I really enjoyed this record. My top picks are the eponymous track, Synthesizer ft. George Clinton, and the hit single Rosa Parks. Hard to believe this came out in 1998! It feels so fresh, but I guess that’s OutKast for you – always riding their own wave.

499. B.B. King, ‘Live in Cook County Jail’

B.B. King - Live in Cook County Jail

1971 saw B.B. King and his guitar Lucille light up Cook County Jail (which is in Chicago as it turns out). The album is crisply recorded, and crackles with life – I love the cat calls of the prisoners. Can’t wait to give this one another whirl again soon…

498. The Stone Roses, ‘The Stone Roses’

The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses

You know what, I didn’t really care for this album at all, aside from ‘Fool’s Gold‘, but who doesn’t like that song? I’m having flashbacks to Pop Up Video and its One Hit Wonders episode.

That said, the John Squires designed cover is great! The painting is a reference to the May 1968 riots in Paris. Stone Roses lead singer Ian Brown met a Frenchman while hitchhiking. This gentleman had been in the riots, and told Ian that lemons were used as an antidote to tear gas.