Day 7: The Coronavirus Countdown – 100 Days of Great Music

The staff of the College Football America Yearbook is on the road every weekend of the college football season, shooting games and gathering information for the following year’s book. That means a lot of driving and listening to a lot of music.

Earlier this year our College Football America Yearbook publisher Kendall Webb and our director of editorial content Chuck Cox put together ‘The Coronavirus Countdown – 100 Days of Great Music.’ Each of them sat down and compiled a list of 100 great albums. Their goal was not to select the ‘100 greatest albums of all time.’ It was simply to select 100 great albums to write about as they passed the time during quarantine and shelter-at-home orders.

This 2020 college football season will be unprecedented in so many ways. It’s very likely none of us will be on the road for games because, like most people, we’re trying to stay healthy. And we hope you are too.

So, for the next 100 days, we’re going to publish their countdown here at CollegeFootballAmericaPR.com (the list was originally published on Webb’s personal site, kendallwebb.net). Consider it the ultimate playlist for the ultimate college road trip — music for every taste, from every genre and from every decade of the modern era of music. When the staff of the College Football America Yearbook is back on the road, you can bet these will be some of the tunes we’re listening to.

Here’s Day 7. One day after the countdown featured its first movie soundtrack, we feature our first Broadway musical. Plus, we lost another musical great to the coronavirus.

We’re still hoping and praying for good news regarding John Prine, and we’re keeping an eye on news from Ray Benson as well.

Unfortunately, the news wasn’t good for the alternative rock band Fountains of Wayne yesterday. Founding member Adam Schlesinger lost his own battle with the coronavirus at the age of 52, and our bonus pick today is the band’s eponymous debut from 1996. I wasn’t intimately familiar with their music, but I did remember “Sink to the Bottom.” Chuck featured Weezer here, and while the music isn’t exactly the same, the vibe is similar — just a group of guys having fun and not taking themselves too seriously.

We’ve also got our two picks of the day. Chuck’s is particularly interesting, and we hope you’ll enjoy two under-the-radar picks today that are among our personal favorites.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Various Artists

Hamilton: An American Musical (2015)

Why I Love It

I finally got to see what the fuss was all about when I saw Hamilton in Chicago in 2018 with our College Football America Yearbook editor, Matthew Postins. Wow. I can tell you that I have never seen a more original, impressive work of art in my life. Lin Manuel-Miranda’s vision of making a hip-hop musical about “the ten-dollar founding father” is unparalleled. It is pure genius on every level — all 46 tracks.

Album Highlights

“Wait For It,” “My Shot” and “Your Obedient Servant”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

Wow is right. I’m not sure what I expected here, but not having seen the musical in person, I just honestly didn’t know that much about it. I didn’t know it was a hip-hop musical (not what you expect from a musical about one of our founding fathers), but that’s often what makes art great — presenting stories and ideas in unexpected ways that will still be palatable to a contemporary audience. An exceptional choice from the Chuckster.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Blue Rodeo

Casino (1991)

Why I Love It

The Canadian Music Hall of Famers have roots stretching back to 1977 when the band’s two lead singers Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor first started playing together. They formed Blue Rodeo in 1985, and the rest is history — the group has been a consistent presence on the alt-country/Americana (or is it Canadiana?) scene ever since.

There are many albums worth exploring in their catalog – early efforts like their 1987 debut “Outskirts” come to mind along with “Lost Together” and “Five Days in July” – but their finest moment is still their 1991 release “Casino.” Yeah, it was a little glossier, a little shinier than their two previous efforts, but the Beatle-esque pop of the album’s first two tracks (“Til I Am Myself Again” and “What Am I Doing Here”) along with the Dylanesque presentation of “5 A.M. (A Love Song)” and “Last Laugh” hook you in and make you forgive the band for any unnecessary polish. This is Blue Rodeo’s one big swing for the big time, and they knock it out of the park.

Album Highlights

“Til I Am Myself Again,” “Montreal” and “After The Rain”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

I believe I stumbled upon Blue Rodeo around the same time as Kendall, but I don’t recall us talking about the band for a while. When we did, it was sort of a “Oh, you know Blue Rodeo?” moment. Solid choice.

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