Day 51: 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 51

With our two artists of the day lacking any direct connections, we decided to give you some fresh music released in 2020.

John Anderson is a country legend with a string of hits dating back to the late ’70s, including one of country music’s biggest crossovers ever — 1983’s “Swingin'” which took the country by storm when it was released.

Anderson went through some health problems in recent years, but just a few weeks ago he resurfaced with his latest album — a project produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach titled “Years.” Both of us have already given the album a spin, and it captures the 65-year-old singer/songwriter in fine vocal form. If country radio was open to playing records by artists in their 60’s, they’d find several songs here that could end up being hits. Don’t hold your breath, though — the best way to hear it isn’t likely to be on the radio but rather by pulling it up as your bonus pick of the day on our Coronavirus Countdown.

– Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Janet Jackson

Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)

Why I Love It

Especially if you were a child of the 1970s like me, you were familiar with Janet Jackson from her television roles on “Good Times” and “Fame” before she launched a music career. In 1986, little sis stepped out of the shadows of her famous siblings in the Jackson 5 with her breakthrough third album, Control. That record and this follow-up put her on hit-making par with her brother, Michael. With a whopping nine singles, Rhythm Nation 1814 was a monster concept album steeped in social consciousness that fans of every music genre seemed to love. The music fit in seamlessly with the times as a new decade was dawning, but it also remains timeless more than 30 years later. From start to finish, it’s fantastic and will get your toes tapping.

Album Highlights

“Miss You Much,” “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” and “Black Cat”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

Janet Jackson’s Control album was a big deal around the time I entered high school in 1986, so this album was eagerly awaited just after my senior year started in 1989. Both are fantastic, and along with her 1993 album Janet, represent Jackson at her peak in a recorded history that is otherwise a bit hit and miss.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Mazzy Star

So Tonight That I Might See (1993)

Why I Love It

Mazzy Star was a vehicle primarily built around Hope Sandoval’s lazy, dreamy vocals. On this album, they remain front and center throughout with sparse instrumentation on many tracks. For me, it’s always been one of those perfect late-night albums that helps you wind down.

It’s probably an acquired taste overall, but I was drawn in by Sandoval’s voice first and foremost. She’s an elusive figure in rock music hard to pin down for interviews, but Sandoval’s persona in live performances matches the music here which has elements of shoegaze and dream pop. In the end, it’s neither of those exclusively by any means; it has too much depth lyrically-speaking to be so casually categorized. In the end, it’s hard to know exactly what to call it as the final product turns out to be just as mysterious as the artist herself.

Album Highlights

“Fade Into You,” “Bells Ring” and “Mary Of Silence”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

Like Kendall, I am a sucker for a female lead singer with a beautiful voice. Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval certainly falls into that category. I’ve always thought her voice has a dreamlike quality that gives the music a distinctive vibe. Although this album included the band’s biggest hit, “Fade Into You,” it is criminally underrated and well worth your time.

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