The one hundred fourty-third TV show: #690 The X Factor

I'm not a fan of these singing competition reality shows, but The X-Factor feels like it's more off-putting than others in the type. It feels like it's all about stroking the judges' egos, having them belittle and play tricks as they compete, rather than actually being about the performers themselves. This may change in later seasons, but it's so strong in the first season that I watched that I was genuinely put off even after the first episodes, auditions that seemed set up to take too much advantage of people. It seems to be made to feed these egomaniacs, whether they play it up or not, and I wouldn't want to watch any more of it.

The two hundred and twenty-third album: #223 Don McLean - American Pie

Listening to the title track of the album, it really made much more sense to me. As a statement, it says a lot about Don McLean's point of view, a statement about his work as much as it's commemorative. It's still joyful and excited, not just sad about the day the music died, and it's that sort of celebration that carries through. The sensitive Vincent - the other notable song here - isn't jubilant, but it's so caring and sweet that it makes its own impact.

Everybody Loves Me, Baby is the oddball on the album, a jubilant, noisy number that's partially just people making noise. Through that contrast, Don McLean makes his point - that of the self serving, unaware annoying person - so much better. He is being over the top, but considering that if others would have recorded it this way, it might have been slightly more of a jubilant love songs rather than a complete send up like it feels here.

While not all instant classics, it feels like American Pie has a few tentpoles, and a number of thoughtful songs surrounding it, with plenty of different emotions portrayed in the album. It was a really enjoyable listen, a folk album that, like the best of them - really shows you what's happening and impressing those emotions on you without thinking.