Have you ever made one of those serendipitous discoveries on the web that just leaves you dumbstruck?
I’m not talking about finding some intentionally viral campaign cooked up by a marketing firm or big corporation, nor something created by people who get paid to put interesting content out there. I’m talking about something created by one person with a passion and desire to share simply because she wants to.
I made such a discovery on Saturday, when I stumbled upon a marvelously obsessive web project: Liz’s 1,001 Albums. Day by day for more than a year, Liz has been listening to and writing about each of the 1,001 albums listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. (Thanks to my Twitter pal Jason Rollins, aka @webslung, for pointing me to Liz’s blog on day 388 of her quest, in which Liz reviewed Peter Gabriel 1.)
I am in awe of this project for a number of reasons, but mainly because:
1. It involves music
2. It involves lists
3. It is obsessive
4. It is ambitious
5. It is a long-term project
I love music and lists, and I can be obsessive about some things, but when it comes to the ambitious and long-term aspects of projects, I wilt. I admire Liz’s ability to stick with this so far. (And I could benefit from applying some of Liz’s goal-setting advice to many aspects of my life.)
Liz began this project because “I know nothing about music.” Or so she claimed, way back in August 2009. That claim won’t hold up any longer, though. She’s plowed through many classics and a multitude of genres in her quest to absorb all 1,001 must-hear albums.
What I really love about Liz’s project, though, is that she is learning and exploring, and sharing her discoveries along the way. Her entries are not the prose of some music critic wannabe. She admits her lack of knowledge and approaches her subject with a joy and an innocence that music snobs (guilty!) are incapable of. It’s beautiful. Reading her entries about albums of my youth — the first Talking Heads release, say, or her latest entry, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell — reminds me of what it was like to discover new music and listen, really listen, to an album from the opening track to the end.
Liz’s 1,001 Albums is an audiophile’s version of Julie & Julia. I hope they make a movie about it, too.