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Is the album dead?

Discussion in 'Pop Culture Board' started by scotchcrotch, May 12, 2010.

  1. scotchcrotch

    scotchcrotch
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    A friend and I were discussing how entire music albums don't get the level of respect they used to.

    With a la carte choices for buying songs these days, an album in its entirety is often overlooked.

    Focus- So it the album as we know it dead?
     
  2. Solaris

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    People buy songs?

    In the Uk and Ireland, we have a program called Spotify which allows you to listen to almost any song or album of your choosing with an ad every 30mins. It's utterly brilliant.
     
  3. Backroom

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    I think the artists may be fucking themselves over. Now that you can buy specific songs, there is no reason for bands/whoever to make a cohesive album that was meant to be listened to completely to tell a story. They might be ruining it themselves. That's just my uneducated 2 cents.
     
  4. redbullgreygoose

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    That's because they never deserved that respect in the first place. Before you had to buy the album for the few hits you wanted. If those hits were popular so was the album, because people would buy them only for the song. If an album really is good I'll give it the respect it deserves.

    The only two I can think of are

    Tha Carter III - Lil Wayne
    The Eminem Show- Eminem

    Other than that albums as a whole usually suck.
     
  5. Fernanthonies

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    I always did love whole albums. I listened (and still do) to a lot of classic rock and they seemed to put more effort into cohesive albums than most other genres. I miss being able to go to a record store and spend a good hour just browsing through their collection.

    Even today with the prevalence of single song purchases, I refuse to put anything less than a complete album on my iPod or into my music collection on my PC.
     
  6. jennitalia

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    This. I'm a music purist, I guess you could say. The shuffle feature is the most underutilized feature on my iPod since I prefer to listen to albums in their entirety.
     
  7. Nettdata

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    Back in the day, artists were more apt to write an album with an entire theme, so that it was a complete piece of work with a running, related storyline.

    Rush - 2112
    Who - Tommy
    Pink Floyd - The Wall

    Today, the BS marketing and financial guys have everything focused around what the single will sell like, what that single's video will look like, and are still incredibly against the concept of selling singles. They want to force you to buy the entire album, with the 95% shit filler on it, so they get more cash out of it.


    I'll be damned if I can think of even a single cohesive album that has been made within the last few years.
     
  8. mya

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    I really liked In Rainbows. A bit older, but Lateralus was one that you would listen to from beginning to end. I thought Back to Black had mostly awesome songs with just a couple of duds. I am sure there are more I can't think of right now.

    Personally, I like listening to entire albums. Just because the watered down singles may be the most marketable and have more mass market appeal, it doesn't mean that I won't enjoy a more obscure song on the album more. Of course I am brain dead after a long work week so can't think of a single example right now.

    But to answer the question, I think that for the majority, yes, the album is dead. Just a shame.
     
  9. Cubix

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    It may just be the artists I listen to, but it seems that some artists are starting to realize this and doing more concept albums. People like Lupe Fiasco, Kid Cudi, and even Radiohead's last album.
     
  10. Kubla Kahn

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    If the record label hadn't pushed for a single with Money on Dark Side of the Moon you'd might have never heard The Wall. Labels have pushed singles since the beginning. Its not like you're going to hear the entire Wish You Were Here album on Kiss on your commute home. I don't know how much of it can be blamed on these labels when WE are the ones that are downloading and buying the songs individually. They are pushing a format that the public demands with their dollars. Why do you think cassettes became popular, burnable CDS, then ultimately MP3s?

    I think some of the popular genres of today are also skewing it a bit. Rap in particular focuses a lot less on a cohesive album and more on the newest hottest single. But even then there are some artist that focus a lot on albums, Eminem and Lil Wayne (though he does what ever he wants it seems) come to mind. I think ultimately it is up to the artist to decide whether they want to create a cohesive album or not. The label will always push for singles to sell an album.
     
  11. taikaviitta

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    This. It also works in Finland as well. I pay for the premium, which is 10 euros a month, so I don't have listen to the shitty commercials (I'm looking at you Usher, stop making music and die). With premium I can also use it on my phone. Hey now, is that pretty much all the music in the world available instantly with good quality and kick-ass software for a low fee of 10 euros a month? Why yes, yes it is. I'm aware that artists don't make shit from this but still... fuck buying albums.
     
  12. Maltob14

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    I tend to pick and choose my songs from albums. The only full album I have is Lateralus by Tool. That album is incredible. Once you rearrange the songs and join them it makes one non-stop track. Because lets face it, like most of you said, albums as a whole are terrible today and only one or two songs are worth listening to.
     
  13. Crown Royal

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    The album may be discontinued, but it will always exist in my book. There are certain ones I must own on vinyl, and do:

    The Downward Spiral
    Led Zeppelin IV
    The Chronic
    Thriller
    Rumours
    Pet Sounds
    Aenima
    Catch a Fire
    Doggystyle
    Springsteen- Nebraska
    Master of Puppets
     
  14. dixiebandit69

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    If you really appreciate the artist, you buy the album, and you see them live if you are really into the music (and have the money to burn. That way you meet them in person).

    With the album, you can hear the songs that didn't make it past the censors (AND YOU GET HIDDEN TRACKS!)!
     
  15. Stealth

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    I think it's largely "horses for courses".

    It depends on the artist and their target audience.

    I have a few hundred CD's and a mere 30 odd vinyl LP records (including all the Led Zeppelin albums) , but have not bought a thing since getting onto the torrents bandwagon a year or two ago and getting an iPod 160GB last year.

    I need to pack away some of my CD's as they are now just taking up space and are never played and I only really listen to music in the car from the iPod.
     
  16. carl24

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    I guess I am different than most. In fact, I am totally anal and have to have complete albums by every artist I have, no singles. Then again, the music I listen to is more obscure so there is usually no stand out song on the album, upon the first few listens, so maybe that is why I still value the album as a whole.
     
  17. JPrue

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    Matchbox 20 - Yourself or Someone Like You (1996)
    [​IMG]

    An album that I loved years ago, that I just rediscovered is Matchbox 20's first album. This album is highlighted by singles, but is still cohesive and filled with quality, as opposed to the all-to-common modern strategy of surrounding hit singles with filler crap songs. What really sets this album apart, for me, is how applicable it is to "real life". These songs aren't about being famous and having "fuck you" money, but reflective on relationships and many of society's perceptions and perspectives. One of my favorites.
     
  18. ssycko

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    In order from my iTunes, albums worth listening all the way through:

    The Avalanches- Since I Left You
    The Beach Boys- Pet Sounds
    The Beatles- Sgt. Pepper's, Revolver, White Album, etc. etc.
    Bloc Party- Silent Alarm
    The Clash- London Calling
    Death From Above 1979- You're A Woman, I'm A Machine
    The Doors- The Doors
    Gorillaz- Demon Days
    Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
    Interpol- Turn on the Bright Lights
    Jay-Z- I prefer the Black Album, but I know just posting one is going to incite some ANGER so you know, the Blueprint, etc.
    Jimi Hendrix- Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland, Rainbow Bridge, Cry of Love, Band of Gypsys (motherfucker Jimi is awesome)
    Metallica- Master of Puppets
    MGMT- Congratulations and Oracular Spectacular
    Neutral Milk Hotel- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
    Nirvana- Nevermind
    Pink Floyd- The Wall and Dark Side O' the Moon
    Radiohead- Uh... Pretty much everything, but OK Computer, Kid A, and In Rainbows are at the top.
    Red Hot Chili Peppers- I prefer By the Way.
    The Strokes- Is This It
    Vampire Weekend- Vampire Weekend
    Velvet Underground- The Velvet Underground and Nico, White Light/White Heat
    The Who- Tommy

    Granted, out of a whole shit ton of artists I could only come up with this list as for sure albums full of great songs that work as a great albums, but for anyone saying "I can only think of two," well, you're full of shit.
     
  19. Trakiel

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    Call me Caitlyn. Got any cake?

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    I'm also an album purist; I only listen to and buy complete albums. I don't think the ability to just purchase individual songs is killing the concept of an album though, because most people I know buy complete albums of bands they really like and just cherry pick singles from bands they don't care for but have a song they enjoy.
     
  20. Fracas

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    That's been true of rap for the last 10 years or so, but it wasn't always. In the late '80s/early '90s, when it was becoming mainstream, there were a lot of rap concept albums, or at least albums that were designed as front-to-back experiences.

    Public Enemy - anything
    Wu-Tang - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
    Ice Cube - Death Certificate
    Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die

    A lot of rappers and hip hop producers are film nerds, and a lot of classic rap albums were structured like films. The "skits" used to be expository, before they became part of the genre's increasingly bad filler problem.

    I think a lot of it comes down to timidity in the music industry. Do you have a single? Great. OK, now, is EVERY trending subgenre represented? Fantastic. Finally - this is really important - does EVERY FUCKING RAPPER AND SINGER with a hot song out get a guest spot?

    Album continuity and storytelling are the least of the industry's problems. They need products that can't miss and cater to everyone.