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Old 30-12-2003, 14:32:42   #1
Guy
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Is the Album a dead art form?

Yeah, this is hardly a new idea, but it's one I've been thinking about recently. Blame Christmas. Traditionally, a very safe and quick gift for my brother has been to pick up a couple of albums that he's been looking for, but this year he didn't want any. When I asked him why, he said that there wasn't any band out that he liked more than a few tracks from and didn't see the sense of paying for a whole album.

That aside, while there has always been an emphasis on producing one or two 'air-play' singles to sell collections of mostly filler, most of the albums I used to pick up at least made an effort to make a composition of the songs, to at least lead the mood of a listener if not tell a story or make an overall defining statement. They (mostly) had a beginning, an end, and some logical/emotional path that they took from one to the other. Most of the newer albums I've bought are more just collections of singles with no underlying theme or process to them. Maybe I've just been collecting the wrong bands, but it makes me wonder if, in the era of downloadable tracks and iPod, if artists are no longer thinking in those terms.

There are certainly still artists out there who are still producing Albums and not just Tracks, but what do you think? Are we past that phase? Is the Album dead? Will there ever be another Pink Floyd (ie a band that hits the mainstream where you need to listen to the entire album, in order, to really get what they were trying to say)?
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Old 30-12-2003, 14:49:12   #2
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I see your point.

Albums which have no apparent order to them are, for me, difficult to listen to. A disjointed album is as dissapointing and frustrating as a disjointed book or film I think. Even most Greatest Hits albums have some theme behind them as they are chronological.

It amazes me as to why bands/artists don't spend more time trying to string together thier songs in a more coherant way, because by lumping a load of songs together, they're selling thier own product short which is a shame as the hard part, the writing, recording etc, has already been done.
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Old 30-12-2003, 14:53:01   #3
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Do you really want to have to sit through 70 minute+ concept albums a la Floyd? Do you really want to have to have to concentrate hard for over an hour just to get what the band's trying to say (when usually it's some half-baked, rich kid, 1984 style dope-fueled paranoia bullshit)? Have you heard Kid A?
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Old 30-12-2003, 14:59:55   #4
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No, thank God.

But thats the complete other end of the spectrum. No-one wants to hear concept albums because, as you say, they are rubbish.

I was thinking more along the lines of My Morning Jacket or the new Muse album. Theres no theme as such, but they have a beginning, middle, end to them. They sound like some thought has been put into the order of them, about how the whole album will sound.
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Old 30-12-2003, 15:01:25   #5
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Good riddance! Ala Pink Floyd puts me to sleep.
Hooraaay for short attention spans!
(including mine )
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Old 30-12-2003, 15:03:16   #6
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I think all bands do that, just some are more successful than others.
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Old 30-12-2003, 15:05:36   #7
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Old 30-12-2003, 15:07:17   #8
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Agreed, and I'm not saying everyone should be like Floyd, just wondering if the time of that sort of thing is over.

I do like bands that that put together albums where each song 'fits' with the others and builds a mood or a feeling, even if the real point is a couple of standout tracks.
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Old 30-12-2003, 15:12:47   #9
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The Mars Volta album is like that, as is the My Morning Jacket album (as Gramercy said). I don't think that sort of thing is over at all, it's just hard to do well.
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Old 30-12-2003, 15:14:30   #10
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Sadly, it probably highlights more a decline in good artists rather than in albums.
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Old 30-12-2003, 15:16:29   #11
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I wouldn't say that, although I do think there is a much greater emphasis on producing singles now than there used to be. Albums have become more compilations than compositions.
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Old 30-12-2003, 15:28:57   #12
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Only for pop bands. I buy lots of albums and I can't remember the last thing I bought that I thought that about.
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Old 30-12-2003, 18:30:53   #13
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Why is all the discussion focused on albums being tracks in a certain order, rather than about a certain thing, fitting a certain mood, etc.?
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Old 30-12-2003, 18:40:03   #14
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Surely the order dictates the mood.
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Old 30-12-2003, 18:42:34   #15
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I don’t think the mood of, say, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out has much to do with the order of tracks.
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Old 30-12-2003, 19:09:11   #16
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Roger Waters and Lou Reed do some great "albums".
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Old 30-12-2003, 19:22:54   #17
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S'true. "New York" is my favourite concept album, closely followed by "Berlin". I'm not a Roger Waters fan.

The last new album I bought was a concept double-album, and that was just a couple of weeks ago.
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Old 30-12-2003, 19:37:41   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Guy
I wouldn't say that, although I do think there is a much greater emphasis on producing singles now than there used to be. Albums have become more compilations than compositions.
And thus we're back to the good old ways before the Beatles came around and spoilt everything.
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Old 30-12-2003, 23:19:04   #19
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The Mars Volta album, very special indeed.
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