Begin again – revisiting the beginner’s guides

In all, between 2014 and 2015, this blog posted 66 beginner’s guides. The idea was to present six things:

  • Key moments – why you might have heard of these people before
  • Where to start – my thoughts on which of their albums to buy or listen to first
  • What to buy – the three items you should track down next
  • Don’t bother with – an item that is probably best avoided, or definitely should wait until you graduate to the level of completist
  • Hidden treasure – one song that’s hidden away somewhere and should be located at all costs
  • For stowaways – some collected highlights from their posts on this blog

They were very popular – in fact, for a long time, Depeche Mode‘s was the most popular post on this blog, and while that does suggest to me that it reached the wrong audience slightly, it’s still a good thing. They were also divisive – inevitably, people disagreed with a lot of what I wrote and told me so in angry or passive-aggressive ways. This is the internet, after all.

So what’s happened since they were written? Here are some highlights:

  • Air released a vinyl-only box set called Music for Museum, which you can probably skip for now
  • Conjure One released Holoscenic, which is nearly as good as their debut album, so is probably worth tracking down
  • Crystal Castles came back with a new lineup – I haven’t heard it yet, but the feedback seemed positive
  • Depeche Mode returned with the fantastic Spirit. You wouldn’t want to start with it, but it should be high on the list
  • Erasure keep churning albums out every couple of years, and finally seem to have returned to the consistent quality of the late 1980s and early 1990s
  • Goldfrapp have a new album, but it’s not quite as good as the previous one
  • The Human League have a new best of to consider, A Very British Synthesizer Group
  • Hot Chip keep throwing out great albums every time you turn your back for a moment
  • Jean Michel Jarre has managed three fantastic new albums: the two Electronica volumes and Oxygène 3
  • Kraftwerk now have a diverting live collection to consider
  • New Order now have the fantastic Music Complete to add to the list, which wouldn’t be a bad thing to add to the “what to buy” list either
  • Pet Shop Boys brought us the lovely Super
  • Röyksopp reappeared with two albums, Do It Again and The Inevitable End, before taking what looked at the time like an early retirement
  • Saint Etienne reissued their reissue series and just came back with Home Counties

You can find the index to all the beginner’s guides here.

Retro chart for stowaways – 20 May 2006

While I’m still away on my holidays, here are the top 10 albums from eleven years ago:

  1. Massive Attack – Collected
  2. Goldfrapp – Supernature
  3. William Orbit – Hello Waveforms
  4. I Monster – Neveroddoreven
  5. Depeche Mode – Playing the Angel
  6. Madonna – Confessions on a Dance Floor
  7. Röyksopp – The Understanding
  8. Pet Shop Boys – PopArt
  9. Röyksopp – Röyksopp’s Night Out
  10. Sugababes – Taller in More Ways

Chart for stowaways – 18 March 2017

This week’s top singles looked like this:

  1. Depeche Mode – Where’s the Revolution
  2. Goldfrapp – Anymore
  3. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 17)
  4. C Duncan – Wanted to Want It Too
  5. Delerium with Phildel – Ritual
  6. Pet Shop Boys – Leaving
  7. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 19)
  8. Röyksopp feat. Susanne Sundfør – Never Ever
  9. Depeche Mode – Going Backwards
  10. The Weeknd Ft Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming

Chart for stowaways – 4 March 2017

Singles:

  1. Depeche Mode – Where’s the Revolution?
  2. Goldfrapp – Anymore
  3. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 17)
  4. C Duncan – Wanted to Want It Too
  5. Delerium with Phildel – Ritual
  6. Weeknd Ft Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming
  7. Röyksopp feat. Susanne Sundfør – Never Ever
  8. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 19)
  9. Pet Shop Boys – Memory of the Future
  10. Pet Shop Boys – Say It to Me

Chart for stowaways – 18 February 2017

Here are the singles for this week:

  1. Depeche Mode – Where’s the Revolution?
  2. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 17)
  3. Goldfrapp – Anymore
  4. C Duncan – Wanted to Want It Too
  5. Delerium with Phildel – Ritual
  6. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 19)
  7. Röyksopp feat. Susanne Sundfør – Never Ever
  8. Weeknd Ft Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming
  9. Pet Shop Boys – Say It to Me
  10. The Human League – Sky

Chart for stowaways – 4 February 2017

Here’s the new singles chart:

  1. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 17)
  2. C Duncan – Wanted to Want It Too
  3. Delerium with Phildel – Ritual
  4. Depeche Mode – Where’s the Revolution?
  5. Pet Shop Boys – Say It to Me
  6. Goldfrapp – Anymore
  7. Röyksopp feat. Susanne Sundfør – Never Ever
  8. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 19)
  9. The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming
  10. Röyksopp – I Had This Thing