Welcome to the introductory installment of my “What I’ve Been Listening To” series, where I’ll publish a post every Sunday with my 5×5 collage of most-listened releases (which is sourced by my Last.fm account and made into a collage via this site). I don’t intend these to be lengthy write-ups, but I’ll also include some notes on my listening habits, discoveries, etc.
- Two big categories dominate this past week: new releases and Chevelle’s discography. I’ll come back to Chevelle later, but it’s worth noting that I’m part of multiple Facebook groups that regularly go through artist discographies together, usually at the rate of album-per-weekday. For example, the inclusion of Direction by The Starting Line comes from me finishing their discography listen-through on Monday.
- I became a big fan of Weezer in 2020, so they’ve been showing up at least once on all of my 5x5s thus far in 2021. Another comfort food album, Mae’s Destination: Beautiful, also makes an appearance.
- Both of my own full-lengths are present, and yes, I do listen to my own music. I’ve seen far-ranging opinions from artists on whether they love listening to their own music, whether they hate it, whether they’ll do it regularly or begrudgingly, etc. I don’t always have a fantastic time listening to my own albums — sometimes it’s a learning experience to take mental notes of how I can improve in the future — but my general explanation is this: “I create the music that I most want to hear because it doesn’t exist yet.” On some level, I believe this is why many (if not most) artists do what they do.
- Two of my biggest obsessions lately, which have ruled my January listening habits, have been my favorite American male pop vocalist, Barry Manilow, and my favorite Korean female pop vocalist, IU. The way K-Pop incorporates all styles and eras of pop music makes these two artists strangely symbiotic. However, while I’ve been listening to all of IU’s discography, I’ve been hooked on one specific Manilow album, his self-titled 1989 entry. Ironically, Last.fm doesn’t know the difference between his multiple self-titled records, so the album art pictured above is incorrect. The actual album looks like this:
- And now, back to Chevelle. If you took a close look at my 25 albums, nine of them belong to Chevelle, covering the band’s entire discography (eight official full-lengths plus a B-sides collection). This might seem crazy, considering how popular the band was in the early 2000’s, but I’ve never listened to them before. Sure, I undoubtedly heard a few songs on the radio, but even their most popular songs didn’t sound familiar to me as I dove through their discography these past two weeks. I listened to each album at least twice (and up to four or five times for the ones I enjoyed the most), and I came up with an album ranking (listed below) that has already proven quite controversial among bigger Chevelle fans. I’m not a crazy big fan now, but I came away with a few albums I love, a lot of killer songs, and some well-timed excitement for the band’s new album releasing this March.
1. Vena Sera
2. Hats Off to the Bull
3. Sci-Fi Crimes
4. Point #1
5. Wonder What’s Next
6. La Gárgola
7. 12 Bloody Spies
8. This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In)
9. North Corridor
Author’s Note: The reason I created this website and write these articles stems from my belief that artists should support other artists, in the same way that art inspires art. My debut album Unfall is out now, and I’d love for you to hear it. My sophomore album Development & Compromise is currently available for pre-order.