Music is the soundtrack to our lives. And on Christmas Day 2012, four days after the world was supposed to end, GuysNation columnist Bryan Lienesch was given the book ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die’. As he flipped through it, an idea dawned on him right then and there: he would attempt to knock all 1,001 albums off his list. Not just before he dies, but as fast as life would allow.

This is the Bucket Beats List.

Robert Wyatt

Admit it, you thought this article series had ended, didn’t you? It’s okay, I did, too, there for a while. But to quote the great poet Miley Cyrus, we can’t stop. We won’t stop. Can’t you see we still have 984 more to go? Okay, I may have added that last part, but whatever.

So which album picked at random are we going to cover to get this thing going again? Maybe a little Led Zeppelin? Another one from The Beatles? How about…Robert Wyatt.

Um. Okay.

Robert Wyatt’s 1974 6-track, sub-40-minute record is certainly interesting, but I’m using interesting in the same context I do to describe the homeless man in front of a boarded-up storefront talking to his trash bags.

The opening song, ‘Sea Song’, is okay. Okay, it’s good, but from there the album devolves into what can only be described as a bad acid trip in a poetry coffeehouse. There’s jazz, there’s notes on haunting blues, and there’s insane orations that seem to have a serious beef with what we suppose to be the English language.

Robert Wyatt Rock BottomGreat albums do give you that sort of “contact high”, where you feel partially removed from yourself when you close your eyes and the music is playing, but Robert Wyatt’s  1974 effort here is a different kind of strange. And not a particularly good one.

But it is strange, to be sure. In almost every sense. From its abrupt  runtime to its minute array of tracks to that point during ‘Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road’ where Wyatt foregoes singing altogether and just starts rambling stanzas of poetry. It’s so strange, in fact, that I can’t even give you my three favorite and least favorite tracks. After all, that’d be the whole friggin’ record!

The frustrating thing in all this is that Wyatt actually led an incredibly interesting life. Shortly before recording this album, he was actually paralyzed from the waist down after falling out of a fourth-story window in London inebriated during a party for some friends.

After this record, Wyatt’s music, like some we’ve covered by other British artists already, got extremely political. He himself would even join the British Communist Party for a short period of time.

While never permanently leaving the spotlight, Robert Wyatt gained fame once again last decade when a small craze called ‘Wyatting’ started to break out. And what is Wyatting? The act of playing atypical music on pub jukeboxes to annoy the patrons.

I won’t go so far as to say that Wyatt’s music, at least here on ‘Rock Bottom’, is annoying, but let’s just say I completely get how Robert Wyatt ended up the namesake for such and act. After all, if I was looking to unwind with a cold pint and then was subsequently subjected to nearly four minutes of whispers of “Alifib”, I too might get a little irked.

Do you really need to listen to this album before you die?
No, but if you make a habit of going to pubs, chances are some jerk kids may just play a track or two for you, anyway.