Never heard of Tom Moon? Neither had I until a stop in a bookstore during a weekend trip to Victoria. There I stumbled over a fat book entitled 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. I pulled it from the shelf and flipped it open to analyze and criticize the book that would no doubt overemphasize a particular genre or era of music. If not, perhaps it would be a collection voted on by several critics, who really disagreed with the list as a whole, and written by several voices giving the book a disjunct feeling.
But 1000 Recordings is neither a unbalanced list of one musical style or concept over another, nor is it written by a committee or forum of critics. One man, yes, Tom Moon, has compiled this list. He is one of the most adventurous and eclectic listeners I know of, appreciating recordings that span the centuries and the globe. More surprising, both country and rap have a sizable contingent. Even more surprising, he doesn’t group anything by category(!) but leaves it all alphabetical, so that you may find yourself in the same sitting read about composer J.S. Bach, hardcore punk band Bad Brains and the head-wrapped soul singer Erykah Badu.
Against my better judgment, I did not immediately purchase the book. I assumed that it would frustrate me, and that I would better spend my time finding my personal best 1000 or more recordings, but that decision could not stop me from looking up the author online. This is where I discovered his website, where I was quickly sucked into his blog. You have to check it out here. On the website Moon hasn’t had his entire book published, but you can spend hours (literally) browsing the list by artist or genre, and some of them do include the book entry. It’s still not quite enough to satisfy me (I’m going to see if I can find a copy of the book today).
I have discovered in Tom Moon another boost of inspiration (outside of the many albums that draw me to write in praise of them) as a writer who positively describes every kind of music in a way that inspires others to explore new worlds of sound.
Of course, the dreaded next question is if I will pull a Julie Powell on him and blog every album on his list. It was certainly the question that popped into my head, just before I discovered that there are at least two other bloggers in cyberspace doing the same already – see 1000 Recordings (The Ride) and Whit’s Blog. Besides, 1000 is a lot, and a nearly-never-ending project like that will probably just add never-ending stress. Plus, one of the reasons I love Moon is that he’s always writing positively, and I like writing about things I love. Going through the list will inevitably cause me to write blogs about albums I don’t really appreciate.
Instead, though I will no doubt have my listening shaped by his suggestions, I have my own list of to-blog albums that I will continue to make my way through. And I will, I promise, though I may be down to one post a month until graduation.
See you soon,