Wow, that was a lot more complicated than I thought it was going to be when I started.  Originally, I figured I'd just write a paragraph or two about each song making my case for its greatness, but before I knew it (probably around #90, Duran Duran's "The Reflex") I realized that I wanted to go more in depth about each of these songs.  So what started out as glorified blurbs ended up being heavily researched, fully realized essays.  My wife often wondered aloud, "Does someone really need 1,500 words to talk about "The Reflex"?  For me, and for those who've told me how much they like my blog, the answer is an unqualified "Yes."

So how did it get so out of hand?  That's an easy question to answer.  As I was doing research on each song, I'd do all sorts of Google searches on the songs, the bands that did them, the albums they came from, and so on.  What I found is that while some songs had extensive Wikipedia* entries, not many of them did.  There were other mini-reviews of the various songs on various sites, but nothing with the detail I find fascinating.  (I'm the guy that buys a movie's special edition DVD with three commentaries, four making-of featurettes and the music video, and watch every minute).  I love finding out how things were made and why they were made that way, and I didn't see a ton of it out there.  So I decided to throw my 2¢ on top of the pile.

For the two of you out there who were wondering about the process, I'll break it down in as many words as possible (I'd say, just kidding, but I'm probably not...).  It all started with lots of research.  I read tons of Wikipedia pages, read lots of magazine articles and transcripts of interviews.  I listened to each song at least a dozen times during the process and then, finally, began writing.  Many posts started out a bit strained, and I found myself forcing to find a voice for what I wanted to say.  Often I’d just throw away all I’d done and start fresh – or at least copy it down way down at the bottom of the post and then compare the two.  Inevitably, though, when I’m thinking why am I even doing an entry on this song, the juices would start flowing and the words would start to spill out.  Slowly, at first, and then my fingers would have to rush to keep up with the ideas that were leaping onto the page.  

Sometimes I’d just write down the main sentence of the thought to flesh out later while I rushed to get the next thought down before it escaped into the ether.  The funny thing is that many of these disparate sentences ended up being natural cousins of others, putting paragraphs together that I hadn’t even fully considered.  It’s a fun process when it’s really going.  The next thing I know, I’m typing the sum up and then I’m done.  I generally don’t have to edit it much more after that, but sometimes upon rereading it, some major reconstruction has to take place, because the introduction doesn’t really get to the summation in a way that makes any real sense.

But when the dust finally settles, I breathe a sigh of relief and smile.  “That’s a pretty good one,” I’ll think to myself, as I start doing the searches for the next post.  It’s weird that I’m done and there are no more to do.  It’s been a year and a half process, and I’ve loved almost all of it.  I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.   I think it was Aristotle who said that you are what you do repeatedly.  If that’s the case, then I’m a writer who loves his family very much.

I can live with that.

Here's a little extra stuff for you stats fans out there.

If you look closely, there were only four artists that had more than one song on my list.  They are:  Metallica (2), Peter Gabriel (2), Prince (2) and U2 (3).

After I was done putting my list together (and since it was a snapshot of my entire life), I got curious about which songs came out at what point in my life.  Being an Excel geek, I decided to put a chart together that broke it down.  (To see 2003-07, you're going to have to click on the picture of the graph)  Go ahead and roll your eyes now, Jennifer.

It was no big surprise to me that the year I graduated high school, 1987, had eight entries.  I'd wager that for most music fans, the songs they listened to in high school are among their favorites.  What did surprise me, though, was that my sophomore year of 1985 had no songs on my list.  Other than that, I'm pretty proud of the even distribution of songs throughout my lifetime.  It shows that I'm open to all sorts of music, no matter what the copyright date on the album says.  It also shows me that I'm not too old yet, so that's pretty nice to see.

The longest song?  If your're counting the live recordings, then it's Peter Gabirel's "Secret World," ticking in at 9:11.  Next to that is "Won't Get Fooled Again?" by The Who, at 8:33.  The shortest?  No surprise.  The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" is a trim 2:29.

* The stuff on Wikipedia is pretty great, but what it lacked was a cohesive voice, a subjective voice, and humor.  I like to think I added all to my posts.
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