Day 30: 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.

And, if you missed the previous installments of our series, just click here to head to the Coronavirus Countdown — 100 Days of Great Music home page.

Here’s Day 30.

So we’ve been counting Chuck’s picks down from Z to A while presenting Kendall’s from A to Z. That’s led to a few odd days where our pairings really stand in contrast — probably no day more jarring than today’s juxtaposition between the new age sounds of Enya and the industrial rock of Nine Inch Nails.

Looking for a bonus pick with common ground was tough, so instead, we focused on the story of Trent Reznor and how Chuck’s Album of the Day came to be. Apparently, Reznor, the front man for Nine Inch Nails, worked as a janitor at a recording studio at the time that he began assembling the band’s debut “Pretty Hate Machine.” It reminded me of another famous musically-inclined janitor who supplemented his meager income with custodial work during his early days as a struggling songwriter in Nashville. His name was Kris Kristofferson.

He eventually, of course, hit the big-time as a songwriter, but his early demos as a singing janitor were released in 2010 in a package titled “Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends: The Publishing Demos 1968-1972.” And that collection is your bonus pick of the day.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Nine Inch Nails

Pretty Hate Machine (1989)

Why I Love It

There’s something extra exciting when an artist breaks onto the scene with a record that commands you to sit up and take notice. Trent Reznor did just that by dropping this industrial masterpiece. Although the type of music on this album wasn’t really what I was into at the time, I immediately connected with all of it. It’s a dark album that has such a relatable human element to it with catchy songs that stick with you. It’s such an honest album about the pain that we sometimes endure as humans. It was like nothing I had ever heard before when it came out — and still is.

Album Highlights

“Down In It,” “Head Like a Hole” and “Something I Can Never Have”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

This was a hard one for me. I had heard it before during my musical explorations in college, but I’m not sure when I last returned to it — if I ever did. I am a huge fan of Billboard’s old “Modern Rock Tracks” chart, though, which was renamed “Alternative Songs” a few years back, so I was familiar with “Down In It” and “Head Like A Hole.” Listening to the album again, I was struck that maybe I need to spend some more time with the rest of it. Maybe you should, too.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Enya

Shepherd Moons (1991)

Why I Love It

Chuck said we got this from our college buddy Noel Gross; I’ll take him at his word, and it fits the timeframe when we were all together at Kilgore College.

What I do know is this — it’s been one of my favorite records for nearly 30 years now. I love several of Enya’s albums — “Watermark” is probably equal with this one and “The Memory Of Trees” is special, too. This is a late night album for me, and “Shepherd Moons” has lulled me to sleep many times. That’s not to say it isn’t an album worth your full attention; but it is a relaxing album that never fails to bring me clarity and peace of mind. It’s simply gorgeous — the rare perfect album — and it never disappoints.

Album Highlights

“Shepherd Moons,” “Caribbean Blue” and “How Can I Keep From Singing?”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

I will never forget our college buddy, Noel Gross, introducing this album to Kendall and I during a long car ride from Dallas to Kilgore. I was mesmerized by its beauty. Enya has such a gorgeous voice that she knows how to use like a finely-tuned instrument. I must have listened to this album a few hundred times. This one almost made my list. Great choice, Kendall. Thanks again, Noel.

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