Thursday, 10 November 2011

Albums a thing of the past?

I got really incensed by this article in the Sydney Morning Herald online. Granted it's an opinion piece, but really, it just highlights the ignorance of the author more than anything.

The key point, as highlighted in the quote off the left side of the story is:

Musicians need to swallow the fact that we are the curators of our musical exhibitions, not them.


What complete rubbish. Musicians should be able to release their music in the form they choose. It is their canvas of expression, NOT the consumers. Who are we to dictate to our favourite artists how they make records? They're our favourite artists BECAUSE of what they do, because we like what they do. Not because they are a puppet to the whims of their fans. Unless of course, they're a winner of "The X Factor" or a band like Nickelback, of course.

Sure, I have no problem with hearing a song off an album, and if I like it, I explore the album, and then other albums by the same artist if I really like them. The fact that people don't care much for albums as a long-form statement these days surely can be put down to a lack of attention in the listener.

Also, I'm not averse to making random mixes or playlists from album tracks. Radio stations do it all the time and I think sometimes playing a mix like that is refreshing. It allows the listener to recontextualise the music against other songs, making a rich listening experience. However, album should be taken as a complete whole. That's how they were designed. "Best Of" albums are designed as a collection of tracks; regular albums, in a lot of cases are complete pieces of art. Most of the best albums of all time are best experienced when played from start to finish.

Sure, make a mix, or play a song from an LP as it suits your whim. But don't let that cheapen the value of the album as an artform and a creative statement. Creating a great album demonstrates talent and skill or the highest order, as far as I am concerned.

Discuss.

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