Day 75: 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 75.

In the press materials for his 2004 live album Stone, Steel & Bright Lights, Jay Farrar of Son Volt spoke of his love for the album Cheap Trick at Budokan.

It’s also an album that Chuck mentions below in his review, and two of the cuts are on The Greatest Hits by Cheap Trick which is Chuck’s Album of the day. Kendall went with Son Volt’s Trace.

But I’m also a fan of Cheap Trick at Budokan, thanks in part to Farrar’s endorsement, so how about a double dose of Cheap Trick today? Start with The Greatest Hits below to reacquaint yourself with some of the band’s biggest individual moments. Then give Cheap Trick at Budokan  — your bonus pick of the day — a spin to hear the band’s greatest album. Don’t miss out on Son Volt’s Trace when you’re done exploring Cheap Trick’s catalog

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Cheap Trick

The Greatest Hits (1991)

Why I Love It

Cheap Trick is another band that I have known and loved for most of my life. As a kid, I was always struck by how cool these guys looked. I still believe that, from an aesthetic standpoint, Robin Zander is the ultimate front man, and Rick Nieslen is the ultimate lead guitarist. Cheap Trick also had the substance to back up its style. As much as I love Cheap Trick at Budokan, the album that introduced me to the band, I wanted to stay away from live albums for my list. I knew that only a greatest hits collection would suffice for a band with such staying power and a powerful discography. The favorite sons of Rockford, Illinois, put together a strong mix of their biggest chart-toppers, along with a couple of fantastic covers of The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” and Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel.” Plus, the compilation has two live cuts from the aforementioned Cheap Trick at Budokan album, so it’s the best of both worlds. This remains one of the greatest hits albums that I go to the most.

Album Highlights

“Dream Police,” “She’s Tight” and “Surrender”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

This is another one of those bands from Chuck’s ’80s heyday that I’m just not always instantly familiar with. But then you put on something like this greatest hits collection, and you realize how many songs you actually know. This was an engaging spin, and it takes you back to an era when pop music was just fun without always having to be super serious.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Son Volt

Trace (1995)

Why I Love It

This is my favorite album of all time.

That’s a big statement, especially for a music fan like me who is a fan of many different artists and genres. But something about this one just connects in way that few albums do.

The sequencing is fantastic alternating between melancholy slow songs and hard-driving punk-influenced rockers. The songwriting is often abstract, but consistently evocative. Farrar manages to convey meaning through feelings as much as he does through the actual words themselves. In the end, it all makes perfect sense, and Trace is a perfect masterpiece that has seldom been matched in the Americana world.

Album Highlights

“Windfall,” “Live Free” and “Catching On”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

Had I not been 100 percent sure that Kendall would include this album on his list, I would have probably made room for it on mine. It’s an Americana masterpiece that evokes tremendous imagery with beautiful lyrics by lead singer Jay Farrar. I love everything about this album, which includes some of my all-time favorite songs, such as “Windfall,” “Tear Stained Eye” and “Drown.” Even for music fans who aren’t into Americana, this is one of the most enjoyable records from the 1990s. I never get tired of hearing it.

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