Hmm after typing that title I am wondering if the word “music” was derived from “muse”. Must Wiki that... *
Here’s an exercise/experiment I want you to try. It’s really very simple!
1. Pick an album that you used to listen to a lot a long time ago (say 5-10 years ago), but haven’t really listened to any time lately.
2. Listen to it.
3. Be amazed at what emotions, thoughts, memories are brought about by listening to it.
To put the proposed exercise in context, I recently received an awesome present of an E-Reader, that ALSO PLAYS MUSIC! Oh yes, very excited I was. So I was going through my mum and dad’s computer to find some music to load onto said e-reader when I came across Howie Day’s Stop All The World now. Now I was borderline obsessed with this album in around 2007 (I tend to get obsessive and listen to one album or artist over and over for about 6 months then never again), and so naturally I thought why not slap it on and take a trip down memory lane!?
Now, without baring the secrets in the depths of my soul, the period I was listening to this I was pretty messed up, and did a lot of things that I’m not proud of; I found it interesting to be able to listen to the album and remember those times, but have some distance to reflect. How big and all-consuming those issues were at the time! How far I have travelled that those issues are so rarely thought of today! Perhaps, just perhaps, the issues that I feel are never ending and so distressing today will, in time, be observed with the same retrospective safety. This thought gave me a little smile at a period in my life when there is not much to smile about.
As well as just being a good pop/rock album, Howie Day’s Stop All The World now is a perfect demonstration of the Wolfenblergh Principle. Wolfenblergh is an entirely fictional person who, through rigorous analysis, has unearthed the veracity that the vast majority of music albums place their best songs as track 3 and/or 7. Think about it- yeah, that’s right- your favourite album? Chances are your favourite track is 3, no? And this is not a recent phenomenon, but has roots back to Chet Baker and Elvis Presley.
Here’s a list of albums (in no way exhaustive) that prove Wolfenblergh’s Principle:
Alanis Morrisette – Jagged Little Pill
Daft Punk – Homework
Architecture In Helsinki – Fingers Crossed
Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
Now, I have heard people dismissing the Wolfenblergh Principle by saying that their favourite track of most CDs is track 1. Track one doesn’t count, as of course it has to be the strongest piece- if you put a shit song as number one, no one is going to persist through the rest of the album, no?
Oh, also, a special mention needs to be given to Track 13. While it holds no significance in recorded studio albums (hey, lets face it, most albums released these days don’t go for 13 tracks) but is crucial when discussing mix tapes/CDs/Playlists/however the cool kids share music these days. Track 13 should always be the an incredibly awesome song, so when you’re out somewhere with the recipient and you hear the track you can shout loudly “OMG TRACK 13!” If you hear Track 13 and you’re not in the company of the person who made you the mix tape, it is obligatory that you text them “ OMG TRACK 13!”. If in doubt what particular song to use as YOUR Track 13 next time you are composing a mix tape, the default is If I Ever Feel Better by Phoenix. This is the original and the greatest Track 13.
After having fun reliving my uni years by listening to old Howie, here’s a list of other albums I plan to dig up, brush off and give an ear to:
The mix tape my friend Liz made for me in 1998, my first year of high school. This has such classics as the Austin Power’s opening theme song and Callypso by Spiderbait. I’m certain there us old school No Doubt on there as well. The issue is finding the tape, and then a cassette player to listen to it!
Naughty By Nature’s Nineteen Naughty Nine- another album I listened to 500 times in 6 months and then never again. Borrowed from and never returned to one of the coolest guys in my year (won’t use names, but you know who you are- you once got a phone call in class and told the teacher “sorry, it’s my psychiatrist I have to take this”. classic.).
Nelly’s Country Grammar- Remember Nelly, guys? EVERYONE had this in their car when people were first getting their licences.
Well, here endeth the lesson. Please comment on what albums bring up memories for you; what albums prove (or disprove) the power of Wolfenblergh’s principle, or anything really- PLEASE COMMENT!
Here is a link to a YouTube Playlist I made up of songs referenced in this blog article. Happy Listening!
According to Wikipedia the word music “...is ultimately derived from mousa, the Greek word for muse...” So there you go.