Day 87: 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 87.

Back In Black (Chuck’s Album of the Day) by AC/DC will turn 40 in a few days, and I Hope You Dance (Kendall’s Album of the Day) turned 20 a few weeks ago.

Both albums represent the critical and commercial high points for their respective artists. That led us to try and find a similar landmark album that was celebrating a 30th anniversary this year and that led us to a group called Public Enemy.

The hip-hop ensemble had released two albums when they began writing and recording what they hoped would be a deeper more complex record. They wrote an album that focused on racial relations in America at the time, examining the organization of groups within the black community that focused on empowerment. They used their pens and their voices to tackle white supremacy and institutional racism in a call to arms that was captured on your bonus pick of the day, the group’s 1990 album Fear Of A Black Planet.

Sound familiar?

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

AC/DC

Back In Black (1980)

Why I Love It

I was 11 years and three months old and living in Phoenix when this rock and roll masterpiece hit the record shelves. Up until then, I had little knowledge of AC/DC or that the band was releasing its first album with new vocalist Brian Johnson after the passing of original lead singer Bon Scott a few months earlier. Even with all of that upheaval, the band pulled everything together and released a rock and roll masterpiece. I knew every song on this record backwards and forwards before I delved into the band’s first six albums. I often wonder if I would love this album as much had I been familiar with the band earlier, but I firmly believe that I would have. Bon and Brian are both great — yet, very different — lead singers. On one hand, I would have loved to hear Bon Scott sing these great songs. But it’s really perfect the way it is. Back in Black is one of the first hard rock album I can remember hearing and loving. To this day, it would be on a list of my 100 all-time favorite albums. It never fails to make me think of junior high school and Arizona and why I love music so much.

Album Highlights

“Back in Black,” “You Shook Me All Night Long” and “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

This album was my entry point into “heavier” metal. I was familiar with the pop metal of my high school years with bands like Poison, Warrant and Whitesnake releasing singles that grabbed my attention. But bands like AC/DC and Metallica mostly remained beyond my reach at the time, and it wasn’t until college that I started to dig a little deeper. What I found was a rowdy, raunchy, carefree romp that checked all the required boxes for a hard-rock heavy-metal outfit at the time – basically, partying and having sex to a rock and roll soundtrack with no regard for the consequences. Not exactly high society, mind you, but what was missing was just as important – the dark undertones of deliberate evil that permeated the work of some of their peers. I could put this on in the background and enjoy it for rock-and-roll’s sake without having to overanalyze the subject matter to determine the intent. Debauchery never sounded so good before or since.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Lee Ann Womack

I Hope You Dance (2000)

Why I Love It

There’s something about the Piney Woods of East Texas and its ability to produce top-shelf country music talent, especially on the female side.

Over the past 19 years, the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award has been handed out nine times to East Texas natives. Of course, that includes the seven trophies handed to Lindale’s Miranda Lambert, who we both featured earlier in our countdown.

We also both featured an album by Kacey Musgraves from Golden, Texas, who took the award home last year and figures to be in the running again for the foreseeable future. But back in 2001, Lee Ann Womack of Jacksonville added her name to that prestigious list of winners. Her win was fueled by the singles from this album including the chart-topping title cut — her only No. 1 hit to date and the 2000 CMA Single of the Year — and the No. 4 hit “Ashes By Now.” Womack was in perfect form here; she never sounded better on record, and she had a flawless set of songs to work with. One of country music’s best albums of the 2000’s.

Album Highlights

“The Healing Kind,” “I Hope You Dance” and “Why They Call It Falling”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

Our third female artist from East Texas on the countdown, Lee Ann Womack is the real McCoy. I have always loved how the Jacksonville, Texas, native has consistently made great music throughout her career. Womack also does a great job of picking songs to record that have something to say. In a lot of ways, she is a throwback to old school country. But that’s not to say her sound isn’t fresh. This album, in particular, displays how she never fails to make songs her own. The title track is a powerful, inspirational song that avoids being cheesy. Great stuff.

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