Day 88: 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 88.

So, it’s the 88th day of our Coronavirus Countdown, and that brings us to a unique place. This marks the final day of our individual picks as the remaining 12 selections are all consensus picks.

We counted Kendall’s selections down from A to Z while doing Chuck’s picks in reverse order so that the overlap would be minimal to this point. The final 12 picks of our countdown starting on Day 89, however, will feature 12 albums that we both selected independently before we ever started this adventure. We each ranked those 12 albums, and we’ll count them down from No. 12 to No. 1 before wrapping this thing up.

In the meantime, the final day of our non-consensus picks includes an album from Dwight Yoakam and a band called The 1975. The year 1975, meanwhile, was a key year in the life of Yoakam who began attending Ohio State University that summer before dropping out and moving to Nashville for a brief stint to try and make it as a country star. He eventually would make it, but only after uprooting himself once again and moving to Los Angeles.

Meanwhile down in Texas, a long-haired outlaw entered a studio in Garland near Dallas that year to make an acoustic-based concept album about a red-headed stranger. The album — appropriately, Red Headed Stranger — would go on to be a breakout hit for Willie Nelson yielding his first No. 1 hit (“Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”). That big break came only after a long stretch in Nashville where stardom was elusive, but after a successful stint on Atlantic back in Texas, he signed with Columbia Records. The deal gave him full creative control, and Nelson immediately went to work honing the spare sound that would often be a hallmark of his work in the years and decades that followed. Red Headed Stranger is your bonus pick of the day.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

The 1975

I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It (2016)

Why I Love It

In the last 20 years or so, I have come to love two new bands on a different level than any of the others — the Avett Brothers and The 1975. Their music couldn’t be much different, except that it’s all spectacular. On this double album, the British quartet delivers one of the catchiest records I have ever heard. Although much of it sounds like it came to the future with Marty McFly from the 1980s, it still sounds modern and relevant. The songs all have such individualism and personality but also make up a cohesive and groundbreaking record. It’s a bold stroke for a band to release a sophomore album with 16 words in the title and 17 tracks. The 1975 has the goods to back it up. One common thread between The Avett Brothers and The 1975 is their talent for performing live. I have seen more than 1,000 concerts in my time, and I believe they are two of the best live bands I have ever witnessed. The 1975 has continued to release great music, but this album will always be the one that got me hooked on the band.

Album Highlights

“A Change of Heart,” “The Ballad of Me and My Brain” and “Somebody Else”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

The first word that came to mind when I saw the title of this album was “pretentious.” So I Googled “The 1975 AND pretentious” and the first thing that came up was a quote from the band’s frontman Matt Healy that said, “I am pretentious, and I’m not apologizing.” Okay, then, now that we’ve got that out of the way, what about the music? Well, it’s funky, it’s retro, it’s arty, it’s, well … pretentious. But that doesn’t mean it’s not good. On the contrary, it’s very good, and for me, it often brought to mind the music of ’80s-era Prince. It definitely doesn’t sound like anything else from 2016 or the current day for that matter, and if you can find a way to stand out in today’s crowded pop music market with all its various forms of delivery, then that in itself is an accomplishment. Their name may be frozen in time, but it was a good year for music, and The 1975 are doing a good job of living up to it.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Dwight Yoakam

Gone (1995)

Why I Love It

I struggled with this pick because Dwight Yoakam’s first three albums are three of my favorite records of all-time – Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc., Hillbilly Deluxe and Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room.

All three of those records are, for the most part, solid Bakersfield-inspired country, but then Dwight started to explore and drift a little further away from his roots. It wasn’t a bad thing, mind you, but I think this is the album where those musical explorations all come together. This is rock, soul, and R&B meets Bakersfield country — it’s an astonishing record, a snapshot of a musical rebel saying “to hell with the charts” and making music that’s more captivating and enduring than the actual hits from that era. It’s the Dwight Yoakam album you may not know as well as the others — but it’s the one beyond those first three that most deserves your attention.

Album Highlights

“Don’t Be Sad,” “Nothing” and “Never Hold You”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

It’s appropriate that Kendall, who is a huge Buck Owens fan, included another disciple of the Bakersfield sound, Dwight Yoakam, on his list. I must say that I am a little surprised by the album choice. That’s not to say this isn’t a great album, although it did not enjoy the same commercial success of some his previous efforts. But I love the fact that even as well as I know Kendall’s taste in music, he can still surprise me with a selection on his list by an artist I know he loves.

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