An Album A Day

1st January 2021. It seems like an awfully long time ago. Much has happened, and equally much has not happened. I remember distinctly where I was on January 1st – standing in my kitchen, washing up and listening to Beauty Pill’s amazing album Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are. I resolved, there and then, to listen to a different album a day during January, in part as a way of broadening my horizons and in part to have a project. I am keen on a project, as demonstrated by 2020’s recreation of various popular hits on some of my mini synth collection.

Somehow, during January, this mutated in not just the month but the entire year. I told everyone that I’d see how long this lasted, and I wasn’t going to beat myself up if I didn’t manage to complete this.

Reader, I can report that I followed through with this resolution. I listened to a different album for every day of 2021. I had very few rules to this – just listen to an album, new or old, known or unknown to me. Of course, part of this was to broaden my listening, so I racked up 315 albums (86%) which were new to me. Some astounding stuff, some instantly forgettable or downright irritating. The point of this was not to publish reviews, so I didn’t bother with a star rating or anything of the like. Just a challenge to myself.

How to find out about these albums? I had a few reliable sources that I kept going to:

In all honesty, as soon as I started being aware of looking out for albums to listen to, I was suddenly noticing them everywhere.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t always listen to the album on the day. There are also some that I drifted off to sleep to, although in this case I usually tried to give them a proper airing the following day. Sometimes I would just stick on an album I knew well just to tick off another day. This points out the biggest drawback of this whole project: I listened to a lot of music, but not much deeply. A single day is just not long enough to get to really known a piece of work.

On balance, I think it was a worthwhile endeavour, and there’s certainly some music that I would never have otherwise uncovered. Certainly the ones that stuck out have stayed with me, and got repeated listens. There were moments that I regretted my rash resolution, but I feel a sense of achievement having completed my mission. It’s also helped me to be a bit more thoughtful about my self-applied commitments. People asked me if I was going to be reviewing all albums. I quickly ruled this out. Keep it pure!

As an example of this minimalistic tendency, I made a searchable list of the albums I had listened to. It was meant to be a bit fancier, but it works as it is, and it felt like a busman’s holiday to make it nicer. This may happen at some point, but for now, it is just the list.

That said, I’m going to write a short post of the top (new) albums of the year. Watch this space!

In the meantime, if you fancy a listen, here is my pick of songs from the albums:

There’s also a version of this on Spotify.