Here are some of the things that you can expect from this blog in the coming weeks / months. It also serves as a personal task list of sorts.
Pop Charts – The first one of these is already up. This is intended to be a weekly column containing some brief thoughts on the #1 songs on Billboard’s various charts. Billboard releases its new charts every Thursday so I plan on posting this column every Friday.
Vinyl of the Month – A few years ago, I started buying one LP per month that I count among my favorite albums. Thus, the concept here is essentially me writing about one of my favorite albums that I have acquired on vinyl. In doing so, I will share my history with the album and note how my thoughts and relationship to it have changed over the years, for better or for worse. This would be a monthly column and probably a long one.
I will also write the occasional essay when I am up for it.
Most Important Pop Acts in America – The concept for this came from something that Spin Magazine used to do about a decade ago when I was a subscriber. Back then, Spin published an annual list of the 40 most important artists currently making music, based on an act’s recent success and perceived quality. It no longer does this, which is a shame because I always liked reading it, especially since the Spin writers did not always like the artists that appeared on the list. I will be running with the same concept, but finding a more clear-cut means of quantifying ‘importance’ that takes my opinion out of it to the extent that is humanly possible. This also makes it easier on me since I will not have to have internal debates about whether Act A is more meaningful than Act B. I am tentatively basing this on success on the Billboard singles and albums charts (popular approval), Grammy awards (industry acceptance), and critical acclaim (as measured by the Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll) over the last two years or so. This one is likely to happen.
Philosopher’s World Cup – This one is inspired by a Monty Python sketch and the upcoming FIFA World Cup. Here’s the plan: I will assign a group of theorists / philosophers from each of the 32 nations that have qualified for the FIFA World Cup. So, for example, Hegel will represent Germany, Noam Chomsky will be on the United States side, and Jeremy Bentham will ‘play’ for England while David Hume watches from home. I will follow the World Cup’s schedule and use Google’s Ngrams to determine match winners (whichever person has the most mentions), pitting a side of 5 philosophers against one another with whichever country that wins 3/5 of the matchups winning the match. This will be difficult for a number of reasons with the most significant challenge being finding a group of five philosophers for countries whose theorists are not well known in the West. Still, I think it could be fun, even if it is not music related. As in the real World Cup, the smart money’s on Germany, even though Greece beat them in that Monty Python sketch. This one might not happen.
I also have quite a bit of stray material about Mexican and American classical composers from the 1920s and ‘30s, so there’s a chance I will do something with that.