The Greatest Albums Of All Time
My name is Eric. I love music, I’m obsessive, I’m ambitious, and I’m going to review the 3,000 greatest albums of all time, as determined by acclaimedmusic.net. That may be redundant.
Acclaimedmusic.net’s list is created by an algorithm that determines the greatest albums of all time based on critical acclaim. The list is updated yearly; its greatest album of all time is currently Pet Sounds and its 3000th-greatest is A Kiss in the Dreamhouse.
When I was 16 years old, I discovered acclaimedmusic.net by serendipity and elitism and decided to collect and review all 3,000 of the “GREATEST ALBUMS EVER.” Unsurprisingly, it’s still a work in progress. A year and a half ago, I graduated from Emerson College with a degree in film and a million dreams, and moved to Boston to live out my dream of becoming a paid artist.
As a way to keep myself sane while looking for work, I began collecting these 3,000 albums and listening to them in sequence. I started recording my thoughts on them and decided reviewing them could be a lot of fun, and totally doable.
As the project gestated and my freshman year of adulthood progressed, my thoughts shifted from the albums themselves, to what constitutes “greatness.” What does musical “greatness” even mean?
My conclusion? Greatness is meaningless and opinions are abused mercilessly in today’s hypervocal, hyperconnected society.
I danced under the moonlight with Van Morrison; I got lost in timeless snow with Ziggy Stardust; I played violent air guitar with the Sex Pistols.
I listened to 1,100 albums on the 2014 edition of this list, across all genres and levels of musicianship; all timbres and rhythms; classically trained vocals and gravelly monster-talk vocals; loud bombastic guitars and understated ambient synths and one Bulgarian choir; two-hour behemoths and 28-minute dreams. Sometimes, my opinions on some “amazing” albums were more like, “meh” or “why the fuck do people like Bob Dylan?” At other times, albums I expected to be “meh” opened up whole new worlds.
As this project grew, I came to realize that my opinion was rarely informed by the music alone. I know, shocking. More often than not, the stories surrounding these albums colored my opinion like Proustian reveries. I danced under the moonlight with Van Morrison; I got lost in timeless snow with Ziggy Stardust; I played violent air guitar with the Sex Pistols. When these moments clicked, the series changed focus.
Instead of writing conventional reviews, I am writing the stories around these albums. I will always focus on what makes these albums great––whether it’s honesty, musicianship, lyricism, rhythm, etc.––but in the end, opinions aren’t facts. No matter how solid the reasoning, why I love one album and despise another will always be specific to me.
If you take something from this series, take away the fact that your opinion isn’t real. It’s not some fact you pulled out of a book. It doesn’t exist that way and you shouldn’t be using it that way. Increasingly, people forget this. Fighting for what is “right” in the name of an opinion held. That’s a problem.
An opinion isn’t a fact: it’s a story. Here’s mine.