Posted by: markhowell101 | November 21, 2010

Music masterpieces month

A completely non-educational blog but just wanted to share something I do every year in the run up to Christmas. Every year Zane Lowe plays 4 ‘masterpieces’ during November. He chooses 4 albums every year and plays them in their entirety without breaks, adverts, editing or talking. I make a point of listening to this each year even if I have no interest in the records and have enjoyed it each year. This year, starting in Monday (22nd November) he will play records by The White Stripes, Fatboy Slim, Jay-Z and The Smiths.

Since starting teaching I have sort of lost my way with music, listening to podcasts and radio on my way to and from work and only picking up new music via the Zane Lowe show which I listen to in the evening whilst sorting myself out for the next day. I also no longer have the time to keep my finger on the pulse of music so new stuff does tend to pass me by. What that means is that I tend to forget just how much I enjoy music and in particular I forget the joy of listening to a great record from start to finish. Therefore every December I make a point of listening to a CD in it’s entirety without breaks each day listening to a different personal masterpiece. Often I will be doing something else whilst listening to this (usually planning work or running) but always make sure no track is skipped and I get the full journey that the album was designed to take me on.

The rules for selection are simple, 31 great records which I think are brilliant and worth a listen start to finish. No artist can have more than 1 entry and there can be no compilations of course as these are not always intended for a complete listen. Now this years albums are currently being considered and I will make a comment in the coming days to share the selection but last years were….

Slipknot – Slipknot, Foo Fighters – The colour and the shape, The Bronx – The Bronx, At the drive-in – Relationship of Command, The Darkness – Permission to land, Jamie T – Sticks and stones, Hell is for heroes – Transmit disrupt, Levellers – Levelling the land, Frank Turner – Love ire and song, A – vs Monkey kong, Pearl Jam – Ten, Nirvana – Nevermind, Funeral for a friend – Casually dressed and deep in conversation, ….And you will know us by the trail of dead – Source tags and codes, Sparta – 3’s, Strung out – Twisted by design, Oasis – Whats the story morning glory, The Offspring – Americana, The Music – Strength in numbers, Gaslight anthem – 59 sound, Bloc Party – Intimacy, The cooper temple clause – See this through and leave, Kasabian – Kasabian, Longcut – A call and a response, Million dead – Harmony no harmony, Seafood – When do we start fighting, Arctic Monkeys – Whatever you say I am that is what I am not, Biffy Clyro – Puzzle, Roddy Woomble – My secret is my silence, Mars Volta – De-loused in the comatorium, Interpol – Turn on the bright lights.

Would be interested to hear what other people do to make sure they never fall out of love with music.



  1. Every year since 1993 when I was 18 I get all the end of year listings from NME, Kerrang, Q, Pitchfork and whatever else has survived, along with Peel’s Festive Fifty then work my way through the singles. If I like a single and the album is also listed in a top 50 then I might take a chance on it. The brilliant makes it easier and, although it isn’t the same as going to gigs, hanging out in record shops and all the other things I used to do to keep up with music it does serve to see me through several months of discovering new stuff.

    • Thanks for the comment mark, will be sure to check out that link. I know what you mean about nothing replacing all the gigs etc that I had time to do in the days before teaching. I think you have to do something to remember why music is so brilliant and how genius it can be.

      • Agreed, let me know how you get on with rocklist, but be warned it is dangerously addictive. And don’t get me started on!

  2. So this year’s 32 are At the drive in – Relationship of Command, Bloc Party – Intimacy, Enter Shikari – Common Dreads, Foo Fighters – The colour and the shape, Jamie T – Kings and queens, Levellers – Levelling the land, Mars Volta – Deloused in the comatorium, System of a down – Toxicity, The streets – Original Pirate Material, Nirvana – Nevermind, Million dead – Harmony no harmony, Hell is for heroes – Neon handshake, Funeral for a friend – Casually dressed and deep in conversation, Frank turner – Sleep is for the weak, Cooper temple clause – See this through and leave, Biffy clyro – Infinity land, Bronx – Bronx, Jose Gonzales – Veneer, Kasabian – Kasabian, Slipknot – Slipknot, A – Hifi serious, Arctic Monkeys – Whatever….., The offspring – Ixnay on the Hombre, Gaslight anthem – 59 sound, Yourcodenameis:milo – Ignoto, Longcut – A call and a response, Interpol – Turn on the bright lights, Gallows – Orchestra of Wolves, The music – the music, The Darkness – Permission to land, Rival schools – United by fate

  3. Some really interesting choices. I haven’t managed to put mine together yet, need to get on it. Would probably share at the drive in, Jose Gonzalez and bloc party…

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