In the interests of expanding my cultural boundaries I’ve decided to undertake an (extremely) long-term plan I’m calling the Century Project. I’ve been looking over three top 100 lists (technically the album list is 500 but I’m just covering the top 100). All three of these lists are skewed towards “the classics” and as such I have not experienced quite a few of the items.
Growing up in the digital age of music for a long time I was biased towards singles and did not get invested in the concept of an album. I held on to this belief into my mid-twenties when I finally admitted I was wrong. An artist or artists can vary so much from album to album that in some regards they are almost a completely different entity. Love or hate Rolling Stone magazine it’s hard to argue it’s significance in the culture of pop music and in 2003 they published a list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. My list would be very different but overall I feel like they did a pretty good job. Of their top 100 ranked albums I currently own or have fully listened to 63 and have not listened to 37 (but only 2 in the top twenty). For music snobs the amount of albums in the top 100 I haven’t listened to may seem excessive but look through the list and keep in mind I mean the whole album. Of these 37 I’ve heard a song or two on each but have not sat down and tried to absorb the album. To be honest I’m not looking forward to multiple listens of Karol Kings “Tapestry” but there are some albums it’s very surprising I don’t have. The first album I’m going to attack? The highest ranked I haven’t listened to as a whole: “What’s going on” by Marvin Gaye. I love Gaye and it’s crazy I don’t have this one so it shouldn’t be too tough.
For books I chose the Time magazine top 100 English language novels published since the beginning of the magazine 1923. I was surprised at how many of these books I have not read. I’m currently only 22 for 100 with 78 books to read. I’m a little embarrassed about this because I consider myself an avid reader but I guess I have to brush up on the classics. Like Twain said. “A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”
I just ordered Neuromancer on Amazon since that’s been on my list for quite a while anyways and it should be an easy start.
For movies I’m going with AFI’s top 100 of the last 100 years. This time I’m doing a little better as I’ve seen 54 of the top 100. Of course when you can knock one off in less then two hours maybe I should be closer. Of course of the 46 movies I haven’t seen almost all were made at least twenty years before I was born. First movie on my list? I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never seen Lawrence of Arabia. What’s the highest rated movie you haven’t seen?
Wish me luck.