Recently a friend of mine told me about a personal project he was working on. A list of his favourite 100 albums of all time. I'm sure he knew that lists like this amuse the hell out of me, and we had plenty to talk about for the next few hours as a result.
His premise was not to chronicle the "greatest" 100 albums of all time, but rather, his personal favourites of all time. As this is entirely subjective, it would appear to be quite egotistical to create a list like this. And maybe so. At least it would give the opportunity to examine the music that informs our tastes and choices now; the "soundtrack of our lives", as it were.
I think it would be interesting to compare lists when they are complete. I imagine that the final lists will be a long way away at this stage. I mean, whittling down a short list of nearly 300 LPs is no walk in the park.
I've started thinking about this quite heavily and I'm wondering exactly how to rank and weight each album. Obviously you don't want the latest "flash in the pan" album that has been on high rotation for 3 weeks to be the top of the list, because of its relatively short period of influence. But then, you don't want something daggy being number one, despite the fact you may have totally been into it when you were 8 years old, but would gladly run over the record with the car if you still owned it.
So how do you do it? I guess all those factors need to be taken into account. The key is what is actually in the grooves of the record: does it still sound good today? How much did I listen to it in my lifetime? Was there a period when it hardly left the turntable? These i think are some of the key things that should be factored in when ranking these albums.
Over the next little while, I'll post Grooveshark links to some of the albums from the 300-or-so long shortlist, with a short review and you can rate them yourself.