2018 Music Challenge
December 16, 2017 8:09 AM   Subscribe

In the style of Book Riot's annual Read Harder challenge, I want to listen to 52 albums next year, 1 per week. I am looking for ideas for categories. I found this, which is a good start, but I need 21 more. Help.

I find myself getting stuck listening to a narrow range of music, and want to take advantage of the sheer variety that's at our digital fingertips. I am looking for categories here , so things like genre, gender, timeframe, geography, etc NOT particular albums or artists.
posted by Fig to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
You could go to the genre map at Every Noise at Once and pick some interesting-sounding genres, then explore the artists that pop up under those genres.
posted by Umami Dearest at 9:17 AM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

How about approaching timeframe in a cockeyed manner: an album suggested by a 10-year-old, an album suggested by a 16-year-old, an album suggested by a 30-year-old, etc.
posted by scratch at 9:51 AM on December 16, 2017

If it were me, I would start with genres or time periods (decades?) and google essential albums. You google "best jazz albums" or "best albums of the 90s" or other variations, and read enough lists, you will start to see the same albums pop up over and over again.

I too get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of media at our fingertips. It makes me very selective and stick to just the "best".....which is subjective obviously.
posted by kbbbo at 11:59 AM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

The All Music genre pages are a good place to find recommendations by genre. They start out with broad categories but there are additional breakdowns as you dig in.
posted by maurice at 12:22 PM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Would lists of albums that achieved specific superlatives interest you? I would normally hate this but I wonder whether it would be fun or at least informative to hear the records people think are tops. Some ideas:

- Source Magazine albums receiving Five Mic reviews. There are 15 of them and they are all great.

- Pitchfork 10.0 reviews. Eleven of these, with slight Source Magazine overlap.

- Robert Christgau's A+ reviews. There are 121 of these on his site.

- Albums selling over 15 million copies. I think there are fewer than 25, but you'd have to deal with the Eagles twice.

All these are dubious in their own ways, and would expose you to a narrow range of music, but also a lot of great music within that range.
posted by kensington314 at 3:16 PM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've never been able to find a list of them, but "Albums where every song has its own wikipedia article" is kind of an out-there category I've been meaning to make a playlist of.

Another kind of dark category I made a list of once was "Albums made previous to an artist's suicide."

Certain artists, like Miles Davis or Bob Dylan, changed approaches and styles so many times that choosing a selection of albums to chart the course of their thinking and lives could be rewarding.
posted by Rinku at 6:07 PM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I love this idea and will be following along here!

Some ideas:
* An album from an independent artist: Bandcamp just released their top 100 albums of 2017
* An album from a trans artist: Trans Lifeline recently made a Spotify playlist of songs by trans artists
* An album from a feminist artist: Postcards from a One-Woman Army made a Spotify playlist of songs she's recommended in her newsletter (I particularly recommend Meg Myers from that playlist if she's new to you)
posted by jessypie at 6:33 PM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

One sort of challenge I did was to ask folks for a recommendation of an album that they really believed I should listen to, only criteria was that it had to be one I'd never listened to before, totally new to me. It ended up being pretty interesting.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 12:59 AM on December 17, 2017

Love this idea! Some categories you could use:
*An album you find at the library (fun to flip through!)
*An album released the year you were born (or even the week/month you were born)
*The full album of a one-hit wonder
*An album in a non-Indo European language
*An album by a supergroup or collaboration between two or more artists (Top 25 Greatest Collaboration Albums Ever and The 10 Greatest Supergroups of All Time)
*An instrumental album
*A rock opera
*A fake radio show album (who knew there was an albums category on TV Tropes?)
*A tribute album
*A debut solo album from someone in a popular group
*An album recorded at home
posted by wsquared at 2:07 PM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Thanks everyone! I took some of your suggestions, and also came up with a few of my own, and started a little blog, where I plan on posting the album I chose for each, and my thoughts on it, just for fun. Feel free to copy and do this too! (Just don't make fun of my weak website design skills) 2018 Listening Challenge
posted by Fig at 5:48 PM on December 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

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