and the story goes like this:

Stephin Merritt is a huge ABBA fan and often mentions how perfect he thinks all of their albums were produced, composed, etc etc etc etc. While I'm not a huge ABBA fan, I can see his point. He said the same about Loretta Lynn's Van Lear Rose a few years ago, and while it isn't stylistically my cup of tea, it is a great album nonetheless.

I haven't been terribly pleased or blown away by anything I've heard in the past few months, so I've taken on a personal project to restore my faith in music. I am compiling a list of the most perfect albums of all time. My hypothesis is that near-perfect albums exist in most genres and time periods.

I'm still working out the criteria I will use, because I don't want them just to be my favorites. Granted, I cannot be an entirely neutral arbiter and my musical palette might have a taste for things that are a bit off kilter, but I think this is an important project and I want to finish it by the end of the year. Other parameters I have yet to set:
-Dates/eras/decades: My musical knowledge goes back through the late 70's at the earliest. It is mostly concentrated in the years 1989-2006. I would like to see how album quality relates to changes in media over time [i.e. is mediocrity a symptom of myspace, the internet, blogs, itunes, the quick distribution of stolen music? how does it relate to changes in the relative independence of record labels over time? what about clear channel?]
-Genres: I don't have any particular predispositions against certain genres and my collection is pretty international, but there are probably a few things that make me cringe. I'm not promising any yodeling or Korean pop.
-List size: I don't want to limit myself but having a long list of "perfect" albums seems to defeat the purpose of the project

It ultimately won't be as scientific as I've made it out to be. In fact, I know nothing about statistics and all of my field research has been strictly qualitative. I'm not concerned with bias, either. While I'll make the ultimate decision, I am open to suggestions for albums that should go on the list. Leave a comment with the album and your justification for why it belongs there, and I'll make sure to give it a listen.


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