In my storied history of having lists relating to music, one always seems to uniformly raise the eyebrows of folks kind enough to indulge me in long, largely single-sided conversations about music. The favorite album by an artist who either I only like one album or haven't even listened to other albums. The immediate examples of these are Pink Floyd's The Wall and Billy Joel's The Stranger, which one of my favorite things I ever wrote is about (and available to read here over at Hanif Abdurraqib's 68to05 site).
While I have, here and there, dipped into Pink Floyd & Billy Joel's respective discographies, I am not well listened at all. Case in point: the bulk of the non-Stranger Joel tracks I know are either massive cultural hits (think "We Didn't Start the Fire" or "Piano Man") or from The Boys's soundtrack. Same deal with Pink Floyd: sure, I've listened to Dark Side of the Moon a few times, I know the lyrics from "Wish You Were Here" well enough to have incorporated them into many a cringe-inducing AOL Instant Messenger status, but that's pretty much it.
So I came up with a goal for this year (remember: goals, which I am resolved to work towards - not resolutions - this year): to explore more deeply the discographies of artists who have one or two albums I'd turn red in the face defending. Having already wanted to try to avoid only listening to Jack White & Coheed this year, it seems like the right time to do some exploring, not just of exciting new music (like Fireworks' amazing surprise New Years Day release Higher Lonely Power) but to dig backwards.
Two coincidences helped spur on this idea for me:
Consequence of Sound, one of the last great music blogs, started a season of their podcast "The Opus" which, as you might guess, is a deep dive on Important Albums. This newest season is about The Stranger so while I will enjoy spending more time with an album I dig, I'm also excited to learn more about Joel, his work, his band, his craft, and extend that into other Billy Joel albums.
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