Day 71: 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 71.

Our two picks both come from the emerging alternative rock scene that was gaining steam in the mid to late ’80s with Chuck’s pick dating from 1987 and Kendall’s pick coming in 1988.

Beyond that, they are quite different, but we figured we’d look to that era for inspiration for our bonus pick of the day. And in 1987, a band that would become one of the best-selling acts in rock history was formed — a group called Green Day.

Green Day didn’t release its debut album until 1990, and the band didn’t breakthrough until the release of Dookie in 1994. But my favorite Green Day album came a decade after that — the sprawling rock opera American Idiot — your bonus pick of the day.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Dead Or Alive

Rip It Up (1987)

Why I Love It

When I was a senior in high school, there wasn’t a whole lot going on for those of us who were under 19 in Longview, Texas. But a teen dance club called Monaco’s opened downtown and gave us something to do besides cruising Highway 80 with our car stereos blaring. Fortunately, we were in the heyday of club music in the 1980s. Few bands of that era did it better than Dead or Alive. Any time I stepped foot in Monaco’s in my Coca-Cola shirt wearing my Swatch watch with plenty of mousse in my hair, I knew that I was going to hear at least four of the band’s insanely catch songs. When they started playing, the dance floor instantly filled up. I am especially fond of this collection because it’s basically one long club mix of eight songs from Dead or Alive’s first two studio albums. It’s also a huge part of my journey of falling in love with music.

Album Highlights

“Brand New Lover,” “My Heart Goes Bang” and “Lover Come Back to Me”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

Honestly, Dead or Alive sounded like the name of a Bon Jovi album to me, so I have to admit that I wasn’t instantly familiar with this group. It’s possible Chuck has played it for me, but it didn’t register, I guess, and so sitting down to listen to it, I wasn’t expecting to recognize anything. But right out of the gate I recognized “Brand New Lover” and I was also familiar with “You Spin Me ‘Round (Like A Record).” An engaging amalgam of various styles heavily influenced by disco and dance-pop.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

R.E.M.

Green (1987)

Why I Love It

A friend of mine was playing this album one day when a song called “You Are The Everything” came on. I was instantly hooked.

While country was my forte in high school, I knew some R.E.M. songs, but this was the album that turned me into a fan. Maybe it was the rootsy nature (there’s mandolins and accordions here for goodness sake!) of some tracks on this album that captured me including the song above. I was also intrigued by the songwriting and the voice of lead singer Michael Stipe.

This was the band’s major label debut, and the moment when they started their climb toward becoming one of rock music’s best-selling acts. In some ways, it’s more organic and accessible than the mainstream modern rock that followed, and it remains my favorite R.E.M. album.

Album Highlights

“You Are The Everything,” “Stand” and “World Leader Pretend”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

This is another band that was oh, so close to making it on my list. I have always loved the quirkiness of Michael Stipe’s voice that is so suited for the lyrics that R.E.M. consistently produced throughout its career. This album is right up there with the band’s best. I vividly remember sitting in Kendall’s apartment in Austin and listening to “You Are the Everything” on repeat and especially loving the offbeat lyrics and overall sound of that song and the whole album. I also recall “Stand” being all over the radio and MTV. This is one part of a fantastic catalog worth checking out.

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