A Stupid Opinion About Comfort Albums

3 Sep

Way back in the simpler times of last February, back before Stupid Opinions Written Poorly was read by nines of people, when Caitie and I attempted our first podcast, I was fairly adamant about not even touching music when it came to writing something poorly on this site. Partly because writing about music doesn’t interest me and partly because the only music I find worth talking about is Kanye West. It was pretty straight forward, I’d let Caitie tackle all the hard-hitting stupid opinions about music, but since she has gone off and won the life lottery of being verbally abused by delinquent youths and Carl Wells favorite genre of music is books, it looks as if I have no choice but to throw my hat into the ring amature pop music criticism.  And who knows what the future will hold for that, but for right now, I’m going to share one reason why I have been and will continue to be a terrible amature music critic.

I think it boils down to a substantial flaw in my personality; my inability to make choices.  Making a choice is same thing as a suburban landscape of ranch-style homes as a battleground for Spider-man, I am virtually useless when it comes to making decisions. Even things as simple as choosing what music to listen to at a given time cause me to break out in a flop sweat. Some of the ways that I’ve been able to get myself out of this dilemma is listening to every song on my iPod in alphabetical order, which took nearly four and half months. The next decision-avoiding method was to try to listen to every album on the iPod in alphabetical order.  There is only so many ways you can set out to make choices to listen to music, and when all the alphabetical choices are exhausted I always fall back on one thing: The Comfort Album

The Comfort Album isn’t the favorite album, but sometimes it is. It doesn’t have be qualified as a guilty pleasure, even if you don’t really care to play it when friends are around. The Comfort Album is the music I listen to when I can’t decide what to listen to. The album I can listen to a thousand times and not even feel a shred of guilt for not at least attempting to find something different instead. They’re the first songs that get loaded on the new iPod. The albums you couldn’t do without on a long solo road trip across the country. Off the top of my head I have three or four comfort albums.


1. The Ladybug Transistor – The Albemarie Sound


I believe this was a gift from a friend with exponentially better music taste than me. The music fits me so perfectly that every time I listen to it, I’m just begging my brain to have the songs get stuck in my head. And if you catch me making trumpet melodies under my breath, you’ll know I’ve recently listened to this album. It’s just one great song after another. Their instrumental tribute to spaghetti westerns and Ennio Morricon, Cienfuegos, pulled me right in, as getting the reference is wont to do. So, when faced with a decision on what to listen to, this album gets picked more than any other, even though the band has the shocking disadvantage of being listed near the middle of the alphabet.


2. Pulsars – Pulsars


The “legend of the recordstore cheap bins” says there are gems in there if you just look. I’d like to set the record straight and save anyone who still goes to a brick and mortar record stores a lot of time, there is nothing in those bins worth your time. Sure, this, one of my comfort albums, was in the .99 cent bin, but this CD is Kobe Bryant and every other CD in there is any person who ever shot a basket at any age, at any place. Not a good ratio. I guess there are some gems, but they require an Gladwell-esque* 10,000 hour search to find. Luckily, in my case, this amazing album was recommended to me and I just happened to find it in the cheap bin. This disc is so great. There’s a song about tunnels. And it turns out that I’m a sucker for catchy pop songs about trivial topics. But the overarching theme of the album is this uneasiness about technological advances written at time before you could even play snake on your Nokia. This album is impossible to listen to without putting a smile on your face.


3. The Postal Service – Give Up


There was a time when I thought that the next album from The Postal Service was going to change the world, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was that kind of widely held attitude that kept the sophomore album from The Postal Service from ever existing. I first listened to this album on repeat while I was driving across country on a failed amateur-designed tour turned vacation in Wisconsin. The impetus behind the whole trip was taking two weeks to be a roadie/driver for my friend’s acoustic sets across the dive bars of the midwest to get over one of my at-the-time life-shattering heartbreaks. When the tour fell apart in Milwaukee, my friend and I went to an late night record store where I faced the fact that this trip was not going to be an opportunity to meet drunk strangers to hopefully sleep my heart back into a slightly functioning mess and so I purchased Give Up.  While driving home I forced my soul to make a connection with this album out of pure self-loathing escapism. The happy ending to the whole story is I stick up for The Postal Service way more than I should.


4. The Zombies – Odessey & Oracle


This album is flawless and, no matter the mood, time of day, political landscape, I am always in the right frame of mind to listen to it. I think this album has single-handedly stunted my desire to find new music.  If something this perfect was made, and practically ignored in 1968, really, what hope is there for popular music? I think this is my most comforting album both because I think it is the best, but also because The Zombies weren’t successful other than a few hits on the oldies stations and it just makes me question the whole stupid idea of pop culture. Why comment on a designed-to-be-polarizing choreographed performance at a fixed award show, when we could just listen to The Zombies or any one of your comfort albums?

Do you agree with these comfort albums? What are some comfort albums of your own? Have an opinion about Justin Bieber? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment in the section below.**


-C. Charles


*New book coming out, who knew?

**In this great book I’m reading “How to Do Things to Get Attention Online without Looking Like You’re Seeking Attention to Validate Yourself” in the chapter titled “Creating a Dialogue About How Great You Are” it suggests to end all blog posts with a string of questions to bait your readers into commenting about your work.    


7 Responses to “A Stupid Opinion About Comfort Albums”

  1. postcardsfromme September 3, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    My job is so much more than getting verbally abused by kids. Sometimes I get physically abused too.
    This is such a great idea. I want to write a rebuttal(read: completely copy your genius).

    • ccharlesconfidential September 4, 2013 at 3:02 am #

      DO IT!! Well, that is if 8 year-olds don’t pull out your fingernails first

  2. Carl Wells September 4, 2013 at 2:15 am #

    Well since a book told you to ask me. My current favorite comfort album I spend about 90 minutes every day with, and is so widely popular they’re making it into a movie. Oh wait, its just another book.


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