In mid-March, at the beginning of the pandemic, I decided it would be a fun goal to try and listen to every record that I own at least once in 2020. I started off slow, and really didn’t get serious about it until August:
It was tight, but today is the last day of the year and I was able to reach my goal a couple of days ago with my final record being the Star Wars Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from 1977.
This ended up being a LOT of fun, and will probably be something that I try to do every year (at least until my collection gets too large).
Here are some stats from the records in my collection:
646 – Total record titles (This includes 12”, 10”, and 7” records, Double Albums, Triple Albums, Box Sets, etc.)
814 – Total 12” records
58 – Total 7” records
7 – Total 10” records
86 – Number of record titles added since the start of the project (mid-March)
246 – Number of record titles that were purchased at Grimey’s, which is the best record store on the planet.
I get asked a lot what kind of records I own, so here are the top 20 artists (and ties) in my collection by number of record titles:
- # – Artist (Record Titles)
- 1 – White Stripes, The (27)
- 2 – Beatles, The (21)
- 3 – Metallica (13)
- 3 – Holcomb, Drew (13)
- 3 – Dawes (13)
- 6 – White, Jack (12)
- 7 – NEEDTOBREATHE (11)
- 7 – Black Keys, The (11)
- 9 – Switchfoot (10)
- 9 – Relient K (10)
- 9 – Isbell, Jason (10)
- 12 – Raconteurs (9)
- 12 – Led Zeppelin (9)
- 12 – Dead Weather, The (9)
- 15 – Queensrÿche (7)
- 15 – Foo Fighters (7)
- 17 – Weezer (6)
- 17 – Simon, Paul (6)
- 17 – Presley, Elvis (6)
- 17 – Jones, Tom (6)
- 17 – Arcade Fire (6)
The Beatles and The White Stripes are my two favorite bands/artists of all time, so the record titles bear this out.
A few additional notes about my experience going through all these records:
- I continue to be amazed at how good The White Stripes were. Each of their six studio albums were ingenious, raw, and incredibly unique. They were also amazing live. One of my great regrets, in the realms of music, is that I never saw them in concert. Their live recordings are ridiculously great. I thoroughly enjoyed listing to all 27 record titles by The White Stripes in my collection.
- In that same vein, I have 57 record titles in my collection that involve Jack White. Needless to say, I’m a big fan.
- I continue to think that Dawes is the must under appreciated, underrated, under the radar band on the planet. They are in my top two or three bands that are still making music today, and I love all of their records. Have seen them live eight times (five at the Ryman), and they knock it out of the park every time. I was introduced to them by their live album Stripped Down at Grimey’s, which I bought on a whim on Record Store Day Black Friday at Grimey’s, even though I had never heard of them and had not been to the performance.
- I knew very little about Relient K prior to seeing their co-headline show with Switchfoot at the Ryman in 2016. Since then, they have become a personal favorite of our family, and we’ve added 10 of their record titles to our collection (same number as Switchfoot).
- On this last day of the year, I’m recapping 2020 by listening to my favorite albums of the year. Here is the baker’s dozen (in no particular order)
- Dreamland – Coin
- Even the Devil Believes – Stryper
- Women in Music, Pt. III – Haim
- Half Moon Light – The Lone Bellow
- Out of Body – NEEDTOBREATHE
- Starting Over – Chris Stapleton
- Leave What’s Lost Behind – Colony House
- Weather – Huey Lewis and the News
- Silver Landings – Mandy Moore
- Good Luck with Whatever – Dawes
- Reunions – Jason Isbell
- Dear Life – Brendan Benson
- (Bonus) S&M2 – Metallica & San Francisco Symphony
- Of these 13 favorites, my top three studio albums of the year would be (3) Good Luck with Whatever by Dawes (2) Reunions by Jason Isbell, and (1) Dear Life by Brendan Benson.
- Even though it is not a studio album, my overall favorite for the year is S&M2 by Metallica & San Francisco Symphony. I really love what they did with this album, and it sounds fantastic. I would also recommend the accompanying video recording if you are a Metallica fan.
- All but one of these 646 record titles were listened to on my two primary turntables (1) Pro-Ject Debut Carbon or (2) U-Turn Orbit Custom. Both of these turntables have the Ortofon 2m Red Cartridge, and I would highly recommend either one. The only record not listened to on these turntables was the only 78 rpm record in my collection. This is a reproduction of My Happiness by Elvis, which was his first recording. For that one I used a cheap Crosley than can play 78s.
- Both of these primary turntables are hooked into my Sonos system, for which I have speakers in almost every room. In 2020, we added the Sonos Move portable speaker, so that we can enjoy listening to vinyl records while hanging out on the patio, which we did a lot in 2020.
- While I LOVE vinyl records, there are two pet peeves that I have about certain records:
- 12″ 45rpm records – I know that they are supposed to sound better at 45rpm, but I really can’t tell the difference. Mostly I just find them annoying because each side is shorter and I never remember to change the speed before I start them.
- Records where the sides are not clearly labeled – What’s the point? Don’t you want me to listen to your record in the order you intended without having to guess?
- I know that Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart is considered a cult classic album, but I find it almost unlistenable. It is in my collection because I’m a member of the Third Man Records Vault record club, but the “music” on this album is a hot pile of garbage. I just don’t get it.
- Speaking of not getting it, I know they are wildly popular, but I still don’t get Radiohead. My collection has one Radiohead title, and no matter how many times I listen to their music, it just doesn’t click with me. What am I missing?
Well…that’s it. Happy New Year everybody!