Top 20 albums of all time?

Just what the world needs: another top 20 albums of all time list, courtesy of the Y! Radish Music Blog. This list is a bit different from the usual critical assessments because it seeks to be more objective and empirical, weighing factors such as album sales, “critical rating value” (an amalgam of critical reviews), and number of Grammy Awards won. (The approach reminds me of those convoluted formulas that The Wall Street Journal uses to assess baseball and football players.) After all the dust settles, the Top 5 albums are:

5. Abbey Road, the Beatles.

4. Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin

3. Thriller, Michael Jackson

2. Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd

1. Songs in the Key of Life, Stevie Wonder

You can see the complete list here. I love these kinds of lists. They confound, inspire debate, and, hopefully, force us to think more critically — none of which I’m going to do here. But I do have some random thoughts:

  • I admire Stevie Wonder; but I cannot remember the last time I played Songs in the Key of Life. How many of your friends own it?
  • There are four Led Zeppelin albums on this list. Now, I love Led Zeppelin. But I also know full well that in its day, the band was consistently bashed by critics. It wasn’t until well after the band broke up that it achieved critical respectability. I wonder how well this list takes into account critical response at the time the albums were actually released?
  • An album’s staying power is a worthy measure as noted by the formula employed by the Y! Radish Music Blog. But by definition, newer bands are penalized simply because their work hasn’t been around as long. I don’t know how else you can explain Radiohead being completely shut out of this list.
  • It’s a hoot to see Van Halen crash the party like a drunk uncle at a wedding reception, making Number 14 on the list with its eponymous first album. But how on earth did George Michael sneak in?
  • No Rolling Stones? No Doors? No Dylan? I’ll tell you why: the list fails to take into account an album’s influence on other albums, which is why The Doors or nothing by Dylan made the cut.
  • Fortunately the list assigns very little weight to Grammy Awards won, but I question why the Grammy Awards should have been a factor at all. The Grammy Awards are notoriously out of touch with the times. This is the esteemed organization that honored “Winchester Cathedral” over “Eleanor Rigby” for best rock & roll recording in 1966. Enough said. I would stay as far away from the Grammy Awards as I could just in priniciple.

What are your reactions?

Top 20 albums of all time?

Just what the world needs: another top 20 albums of all time list, courtesy of the Y! Radish Music Blog. This list is a bit different from the usual critical assessments because it seeks to be more objective and empirical, weighing factors such as album sales, “critical rating value” (an amalgam of critical reviews), and number of Grammy Awards won. (The approach reminds me of those convoluted formulas that The Wall Street Journal uses to assess baseball and football players.) After all the dust settles, the Top 5 albums are:

5. Abbey Road, the Beatles.

4. Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin

3. Thriller, Michael Jackson

2. Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd

1. Songs in the Key of Life, Stevie Wonder

You can see the complete list here. I love these kinds of lists. They confound, inspire debate, and, hopefully, force us to think more critically — none of which I’m going to do here. But I do have some random thoughts:

  • I admire Stevie Wonder; but I cannot remember the last time I played Songs in the Key of Life. How many of your friends own it?
  • There are four Led Zeppelin albums on this list. Now, I love Led Zeppelin. But I also know full well that in its day, the band was consistently bashed by critics. It wasn’t until well after the band broke up that it achieved critical respectability. I wonder how well this list takes into account critical response at the time the albums were actually released?
  • An album’s staying power is a worthy measure as noted by the formula employed by the Y! Radish Music Blog. But by definition, newer bands are penalized simply because their work hasn’t been around as long. I don’t know how else you can explain Radiohead being completely shut out of this list.
  • It’s a hoot to see Van Halen crash the party like a drunk uncle at a wedding reception, making Number 14 on the list with its eponymous first album. But how on earth did George Michael sneak in?
  • No Rolling Stones? No Doors? No Dylan? I’ll tell you why: the list fails to take into account an album’s influence on other albums, which is why The Doors or nothing by Dylan made the cut.
  • Fortunately the list assigns very little weight to Grammy Awards won, but I question why the Grammy Awards should have been a factor at all. The Grammy Awards are notoriously out of touch with the times. This is the esteemed organization that honored “Winchester Cathedral” over “Eleanor Rigby” for best rock & roll recording in 1966. Enough said. I would stay as far away from the Grammy Awards as I could just in priniciple.

What are your reactions?

Big experiences come in small packages

I’m always hearing about how retailers like Bass Pro Shops and American Girl are the masters of building a brand through a great experience. Instead of peddling merchandise on bland-looking racks in its stores, American Girl creates a fun destination where families can dine together and explore themed rooms patterned after its popular dolls. But you can find some pretty cool experiences beyond the confines of in-store retailing. I recently attended the Cirque du Soleil Kooza show with my family in Chicago. No surprise there — you expect a Cirque du Soleil show to be an engaging experience. But what about the compact disc recording of the show’s soundtrack? After all, CDs are supposed to be dying in an era of digital downloading — so you could forgive the Cirque for packaging the CD in a pedestrian slip case.

But not so with the Cirque. The Kooza soundtrack slip case is engineered to form a jack-in-the-box with the CD popping out of the box as you open it (a clever tie-in with the show’s visual motif). One moment, you’re studying the back of the case. The next moment, you’re playing with a beautiful box full of purple and yellow color, which builds anticipation for the music you’re about to hear.

You should have seen the reaction inside a restaurant where my family and I were playing around with the box. Waiters walked over to get a peek. Diners glanced at our table and smiled. In effect, we become willing brand ambassadors for the Cirque, with the humble, dated device known as a compact disc at the center of the experience.

To that, I’d add the amazing packaging for the re-release of Bonnie and Clyde on DVD this year. The “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” lives up to its name. DVDs containing the movie and bonus features are packaged in hard-bound casing along with a reproduction of the pressbook used to promote the 1967 release of the movie and a hard-cover booklet with production stills and other cool memorabilia. All these elements are packaged inside a striking black case that invites exploration. Warner Brothers benefits from word-of-mouth marketing when my friends see me totally engrossed with the goodies — before I even flip the movie into my DVD player.

Someone forgot to tell Cirque and Warner Brothers that digital downloads are supposed to be putting an end to this kind of fun.

Where has someone surprised you with an effective marketing experience lately?

Big experiences come in small packages

I’m always hearing about how retailers like Bass Pro Shops and American Girl are the masters of building a brand through a great experience. Instead of peddling merchandise on bland-looking racks in its stores, American Girl creates a fun destination where families can dine together and explore themed rooms patterned after its popular dolls. But you can find some pretty cool experiences beyond the confines of in-store retailing. I recently attended the Cirque du Soleil Kooza show with my family in Chicago. No surprise there — you expect a Cirque du Soleil show to be an engaging experience. But what about the compact disc recording of the show’s soundtrack? After all, CDs are supposed to be dying in an era of digital downloading — so you could forgive the Cirque for packaging the CD in a pedestrian slip case.

But not so with the Cirque. The Kooza soundtrack slip case is engineered to form a jack-in-the-box with the CD popping out of the box as you open it (a clever tie-in with the show’s visual motif). One moment, you’re studying the back of the case. The next moment, you’re playing with a beautiful box full of purple and yellow color, which builds anticipation for the music you’re about to hear.

You should have seen the reaction inside a restaurant where my family and I were playing around with the box. Waiters walked over to get a peek. Diners glanced at our table and smiled. In effect, we become willing brand ambassadors for the Cirque, with the humble, dated device known as a compact disc at the center of the experience.

To that, I’d add the amazing packaging for the re-release of Bonnie and Clyde on DVD this year. The “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” lives up to its name. DVDs containing the movie and bonus features are packaged in hard-bound casing along with a reproduction of the pressbook used to promote the 1967 release of the movie and a hard-cover booklet with production stills and other cool memorabilia. All these elements are packaged inside a striking black case that invites exploration. Warner Brothers benefits from word-of-mouth marketing when my friends see me totally engrossed with the goodies — before I even flip the movie into my DVD player.

Someone forgot to tell Cirque and Warner Brothers that digital downloads are supposed to be putting an end to this kind of fun.

Where has someone surprised you with an effective marketing experience lately?

So you want to work for Avenue A | Razorfish?

Check out “Confessions of a Summer Intern” a blog by Maddie Graunke, which gives you an inside look at the experiences of an intern for my employer, Avenue A | Razorfish. Based in the Chicago office, Maddie has been interning on my team for several weeks. She has captured some interesting insights about life here and the kind of work she’s been assigned. All I care about is that Maddie be honest and open in the true spirit of blogging. I learn more about my own employer that way. If you are wondering what it’s like to work here, visit her blog and ask her whatever you want to ask.

So you want to work for Avenue A | Razorfish?

Check out “Confessions of a Summer Intern” a blog by Maddie Graunke, which gives you an inside look at the experiences of an intern for my employer, Avenue A | Razorfish. Based in the Chicago office, Maddie has been interning on my team for several weeks. She has captured some interesting insights about life here and the kind of work she’s been assigned. All I care about is that Maddie be honest and open in the true spirit of blogging. I learn more about my own employer that way. If you are wondering what it’s like to work here, visit her blog and ask her whatever you want to ask.

Are you experienced?

Engagement-based marketing is all the rage. Forrester Research, Gartner, and JupiteResearch have all published major commentary on engagement in the past 12 months. Agencies like my employer Avenue A | Razorfish are talking about the importance of building brands through experiences that engage consumers, online and offline. David Polinchock of the Brand Experience Lab publishes a popular blog, The Experience Economist. In reality, marketers have been pursuing the holy grail of engagement since Starbucks proved that you could charge a premium rate for a cup of coffee if you provided a memorable experience (probably even before that). So why all the talk now – and why will agencies like mine continue to talk about engaging experiences? I can think of three reasons:

Continue reading

Are you experienced?

Engagement-based marketing is all the rage. Forrester Research, Gartner, and JupiteResearch have all published major commentary on engagement in the past 12 months. Agencies like my employer Avenue A | Razorfish are talking about the importance of building brands through experiences that engage consumers, online and offline. David Polinchock of the Brand Experience Lab publishes a popular blog, The Experience Economist. In reality, marketers have been pursuing the holy grail of engagement since Starbucks proved that you could charge a premium rate for a cup of coffee if you provided a memorable experience (probably even before that). So why all the talk now – and why will agencies like mine continue to talk about engaging experiences? I can think of three reasons:

Continue reading

This is why we read digital media

In a recent blog post, I shared the story of a bright and talented 20-something job candidate who confessed to me that she’d never purchased a print edition of any newspaper in her life because she’s so comfortable consuming all her media digitally. Invariably this story evokes frowns and head shaking from anyone north of 40 years old when I tell it. But after reading my July 24 Chicago Tribune sports section, I see her point. I wanted to find out the results of a crucial Chicago Cubs-Arizona Diamondbacks game played in Arizona the evening of July 23. The Cubs, clinging to a shrinking first-place lead in the National League Central, had been faltering of late and needed to do well. So the team’s performance against the Diamondbacks was no small matter. But you’d never know it from reading the print edition of the Tribune (Near West edition) which carried no results of the game because the print edition went to press before the game ended. (The Near West print Tribune also failed to report the final score of the 2008 Major League All-Star game.) Of course I found what I needed from the digital world. But the problem is that when I access the internet, the Chicago Tribune is competing with MLB.com, ESPN.com, and a host of other destinations. The Tribune loses that one-to-one relationship it has with me when I dive into the print edition on the commuter train. Yes, I got what I wanted from digital this morning. But did the Tribune?

This is why we read digital media

In a recent blog post, I shared the story of a bright and talented 20-something job candidate who confessed to me that she’d never purchased a print edition of any newspaper in her life because she’s so comfortable consuming all her media digitally. Invariably this story evokes frowns and head shaking from anyone north of 40 years old when I tell it. But after reading my July 24 Chicago Tribune sports section, I see her point. I wanted to find out the results of a crucial Chicago Cubs-Arizona Diamondbacks game played in Arizona the evening of July 23. The Cubs, clinging to a shrinking first-place lead in the National League Central, had been faltering of late and needed to do well. So the team’s performance against the Diamondbacks was no small matter. But you’d never know it from reading the print edition of the Tribune (Near West edition) which carried no results of the game because the print edition went to press before the game ended. (The Near West print Tribune also failed to report the final score of the 2008 Major League All-Star game.) Of course I found what I needed from the digital world. But the problem is that when I access the internet, the Chicago Tribune is competing with MLB.com, ESPN.com, and a host of other destinations. The Tribune loses that one-to-one relationship it has with me when I dive into the print edition on the commuter train. Yes, I got what I wanted from digital this morning. But did the Tribune?