I employ the past tense “used to” because you may not anymore. You may instead listen to kickin’ tunes; the greatest hits; anthems; floor fillers; singles etc. Since Rob was kind enough to ask what was up for debate next, this was a topic that came up over the weekend.
Now that there’s no compulsion to listen to those album tracks that aren’t as seductive as the singles, why bother with them? The digital revolution has underlined the power of The Song. The album as a concept seem a bit redundant. And why should an album deserve to sell well when it’s relying on three or four solid tunes (that may well have been recorded separately under the guidance of a superior producer) and merely supplemented with a host of second-rate fillers that are little better than b-sides, or instrumentals or at worst, ambient nothingness?
But then isn’t this the price you pay for discovering a couple of gems? A few songs that really should have been singles or a slow-burn epic that is structured so that it builds or even explodes into a euphoric wonder (it might sound all the sweeter for you having invested that bit of extra time). There might even be a few songs that didn’t appeal or washed over you the first or second or even third time you heard them that have over time become your favourite tracks that you might never have heard if you had only downloaded the singles. Maybe you’ve now listened to those same singles so many times that you’ve reached saturation and let’s face it, you’ve gone off them now. And let’s not forget those concept albums that are structured so that each track developes on the last or is mixed into the next track or the album as a whole tells a story where removing a track would be like editing out a chapter of a novel.
Maybe your playlists are made up exclusively of party favourites or head bangers and you only bought singles before or had to use that track skip button too much before but maybe you miss developing an appreciation of the whole album and those pieces that allow the oft overlooked keyboardist/bass guitarist (who is a virtuoso with a musical saw) of the band to display their genius?
We got to talking about which was best overall. I’d be interested to know your opinions and also whether the digital music revolution has forced or made people naturally lean towards one way or the other.