and that's what I've learned
A year ago, in October in Berlin, I was reading a book by russian musician Anton Maskeliade called 'Your First Track'. He writes about various issues that beginners musicians (myself included) struggle with and gives a lot of helpful advices. However, my eye was caught by the specific one at the very end of the book.

Here it is in a circle

'To listen

In the Charts tab on, you can listen to the top 100 albums in a row, and you'll get the top from all genres over the past two centuries'

I should mention that I'm into long and weird challenges, so I've thought about this idea for 5 seconds and... yes, I've listened to them all

Anton Maskeliade, 'Your First Track'
Антон Маскелиаде, Максим Ильяхов "Твой первый трек"
Basically, is like IMDB but for music albums. Of course, it has less audience, but still, it's a pretty big community out there composing this rating. I've never heard of this site before, so I saved the list of the first 100 in the 'Top albums of all time' chart and decided to write down some information about every single release that I'm gonna hear in the following form:

  1. The name and year of the album
  2. What I'm feeling about it
  3. Where I'm listening to it
  4. Number (x/10 — that's not an objective critical measurement, that was about how much I connected with this music while listening)
  5. Favourite tracks

I thought: "Well, I wouldn't probably get tired if I'd listen to one album per 3 days" — and that made it 'a-one-year experiment'. Also, I decided to listen to every single second of music released on these albums, no skipping, no missing out (and in total, that rule was broken twice — thanks, Fishmans)

One more thing — I didn't want to know anything about the band or release before listening to it. Of course, in more than half of the cases, I knew something (or a lot). But as long as the name was new to me, I wanted to remain impartial

From top to bottom, here is the entire Google spreadsheet with the experiment's data: pink are my favourites, my least favourites are grey, and orange are the most exciting albums that I've never heard of before
The total listening time of these albums is 5459 minutes 51 seconds, which is approximately 90 hours, or 3,5 days of non-stop mindful listening
So what did I find for all this time? Oh that's my favourite part

The first list: 9 personal favourites,

living rent-free in my heart

I've loved many of these albums long before the experiment began (some I even have on vinyl), and having a reason to re-listen to them was a real gift. And yes, sadly here are only two Radiohead albums. My only advice about this list — you should hear (or re-hear) these albums right now. Seriously, I mean it

Ok Computer
Radiohead, 1997
To Pimp A Butterfly
Kendrick Lamar, 2015
In Rainbows
Radiohead, 2007
The Queen Is Dead
The Smiths, 1986
Led Zeppelin, 1971
DJ Shadow, 1996
Frank Ocean, 2016
Songs Of Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen, 1967
Rubber Soul
The Beatles, 1965

The second list: 9 least favourite albums,

that I never wish to listen to again

Firstly, for me as an auditory person, it's extremely challenging to listen to all of the 'hard' music, simply because artists often tend to scream and make some unpleasant and annoying sounds — and it instantly makes my anxiety alive. Second, it turns out I really hate the harmonica timbre (which is why I can't stand almost all of Bob Dylan's songs)

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
Neutral Milk Hotel, 1998
Slint, 1991
Long Season
Fishmans, 1996
Blonde On Blonde
Bob Dylan, 1966
Blood On The Tracks
Bob Dylan, 1975
Master Of Reality
Black Sabbath, 1971
Soundtracks for the Blind
Swans, 1996
Death, 1995
Daydream Nation
Sonic Youth, 1988

The third list: 9 most amazing findings in this top,

that were completely unexpected

Surprisingly, I've never listened to any of these records before (and now they are an inseparable part of my daily music routine). I have experienced the same perplexity with every album on this list how could no one have told me about it?

To Pimp A Butterfly
Kendrick Lamar, 2015
Madvillain, 2004
Lift Your Skinny Feasts Like Antennas To Heaven
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, 2000
DJ Shadow, 1996
A Low End Theory
A Tribe Called Quest, 1991
The College Dropout
Kanye West, 2004
Heaven or Las Vegas
Cocteau Twins, 1990
Agætis byrjun
Sigur Rós, 1999
A Love Supreme
John Coltrane, 1965

Overall playlist

In case you're wondering 'wow, it should be so exciting to listen to all of this music' but you don't have a 3,5 free days I've picked one song from every album and made the overall playlist. It's 'almost 100' and not 'exactly 100' songs because both Spotify and Yandex Music don't have comprehensive worldwide music libraries.

But yes, it's still about 10 hours of great tracks! Enjoy

The final question is — was it worth it? Did i really need to spend all this time just to get familiar with a bunch of great songs and great artists?
My answer is 'definitely yes', and here is why

How this experiment has changed

my daily music routine

  1. I've started to listen to albums instead of songs. Sure, I still listen to playlists made out of different songs or tend to randomly shuffle through my music library sometimes, but albums are completely different in perception. The unique atmosphere of the whole record is much more impressive than a couple of your favourite tracks played in a random order. These are obvious words, but they are true. Moreover, I've noticed that it makes me less impatient and anxious, because I don't have to worry about 'oh what should i play next', I'm just enjoying the incessant music flow
  2. I've started to talk more about music with my friends. As a musician and a sound producer, I discuss music all the time, but the experiment gave me a reason to dive deeper into these conversations. ' I've just listened to the second Bjork album — Oh wow, I loved it so much in my teenage years! Did you like the synth sound?' And just like that, you have a nice two-hour dialogue and more great-music-that-is-a-must-listen advices
  3. I've become more friendly towards genres that I usually don't like. Yes, we now all tend to mix all types of music and could listen to techno, Miles Davis, Skryabin, Tropicália and Taylor Swift in one day. I'm not an exception. But earlier I had never noticed that I tend to avoid whole pages of music history, such as 90's american rap ('GZA, who is he?'), country or classical rock. However, while I was initially uneasy with the sound of these genres, they have now become a great place to find new music solutions and experiences — and that feels nice
  4. I've become more attentive even while listening to music that I'm extremely familiar with. It's an interesting paradox — the more you listen to the track, the more difficult it is for you to hear it from the new perspective. And these hours of unfamiliar music have unexpectedly worked as coffee beans in a perfume store
  5. Connecting with new music became easier. Studies claim that at some point, people tend to stick with their old music preferences and can't fully experience new tracks. The ability to love new music is a sort of a skill you have to develop to prevent hanging out in the cultural library of your youth. I believe that the experience of this experiment helps a lot
  6. I've released that I'll do all that I can so I don't have to listen to even a single more Bob Dylan's song in my life. Really, I've heard almost 50 of them without skipping a second. Enough is enough

Thanks for reading this long read, I hope you've enjoyed it!

If you have some questions or want to give any feedback — you can reach me here

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