I awake to the sounds of a vibraphone, piercing through the heavy curtain of sleep. I turn my head and look at the digital numerals glowing blue from the corner of my room. 6:00 am pulses at me, making me aware of the sheer level of tiredness I feel. The vibraphone rings out again. This has been the start to my day for the last 3 weeks, the mellow tones of Heard About You Last Night, a beautiful piece by Mogwai, waking me from my much-needed slumber.
The reason for this is my decision to listen to ten albums a day for a month. The same ten albums, in the same order. Every. Single. Day.
I tell my friends about my experiment, and I get a range of responses. Whether it’s a shocked “Are you crazy?” or an amused “Eh, that doesn’t sound too hard,” the underlying question is “Why?”
Why? That’s a very, very good question, and one that I only really begun asking myself about halfway through the second week. And even now, three days away from the end in this little experiment, I still don’t have an answer I’m completely happy with. Everyone offers their own thoughts on the question, yet none strike the nail on the head.
One of the most common suggestions is that I’m seeking to “enrich my understanding of the albums.” Which, to be honest, is a load of bollocks. The albums that I’ve chosen are all ones that I know, and love (or at least, like to a great degree). I’m very particular about my music, and if I’m going to listen to an album everyday for a month, I’m not going to pick something I don’t know.
Another idea that I hear a lot is that I want to cut out shit music from my life. More fitting, and in line with my music tastes, but again, I don’t believe that it’s quite on the money. Music is about experimentation, and hearing the same thing over and over again (no matter how good) will make it sound less. As such, “cutting out the crap” will only serve to make the good music worse.
However, there is a bit of truth to both these explanations. Listening to a select few albums will eliminate the crap from my daily listening, and mean that I don’t have to keep fishing my phone out of my pocket to skip a song every time something unsavoury blasts through my headphones. It also means that the albums and I will become very well acquainted with each other. Some of my choices are long-time favourites of mine, others only released earlier this year. The different level of knowledge of the albums is something that will make the exploration all the sweeter. However, at six in the morning, with a sorrowful vibraphone providing my alarm, it can be difficult to appreciate the beauty of the music.