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June 30th, 2000

Death of the Album

Quick: name a major label album from the past five years that you listened to all the way through and interpreted as a whole.

Unless you’re a musichead, it’s kind of tough, isn’t it? We’re living in a world of singles – 3 minute cuts – and albums might be paying a larger sacrifice. It seems to coincide with the return of the pop phenomenon (I somehow doubt Oops I Did It Again stands as a whole like, say, The Wall does), and the advent of MP3s. Unless you’re on a fast connection, chances are good that you’re just downloading a bunch of singles and not the whole album. And let’s not leave out MTV: a video has to be fast and doesn’t even have to pick up on the single’s lyrics.

The idea of the album as a whole seems to be going away, and that’s a sad thing. I can remember the first time lots of albums made sense to me as one cohesive piece, and it’s a great experience. Breaking off songs from the album afterwards seems kind of strange. While it seems that artists concentrate on songs, things such as album flow and song placement are very very important. Establishing a mood or theme is also important, and while a single can give you a sampling of that concept, it can’t entirely convey it.

We live in a singles world, folks. -pm

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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