There's a lot of talk about albums being dead now, yadda yadda. So I'm just wondering what the peeps here listen to.
For me, the album is the greatest artwork, when it's done right of course. It can bring you on a journey and it's a canvas for the artist to explore the limits of their creativity. I can listen to albums over and over and discover new things every time. For me a great album is a complete work. From Sgt. Pepper's to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, from The Sophtware Slump to Karuki Zemen Kuri no Hana, from OK Computer to Strange Mercy, I love my albums.
That being said, singles are cool. Motown was based upon singles. I heard It Through The Grapevine. Wow. Used to be singles were a calling card for an album. Now the album's in decline, or at least it's not the money maker it once was. Now shows are sold on the strength of singles. I can't count the amount of times I've been at a show for the current flavour of the month only to find the rest of the songs don't stack up. The thing is, anyone can write a popular song, it can happen by accident. You have to be gifted to write a great album.
For me albums edge it, just by the sheer joy they bring me when I hear a great piece of work. But then, I don't own an mp3 player. Well, I do but it's a USB stick in my car and there's just a pile of albums on it. Nothing annoys me more than when I go through someone's iPod and see an amazing album on there, only to find when I open the folder that it's just one track from the record. Maybe I'm wrong and it's not singles anymore, but songs. It's great to be able to listen to a song on youtube to get an idea of what an artist's about...
But anyway. What are your thoughts? Poll attached...
Albums for me, in most respects for getting to know an artist, and for appreciating the talent as you say for not just being able to write a very good song, but a great album that flows and has been produced well.It is especially the case when you try and listen to some really obscure stuff, because the more popular an artist is the more often you will find that their singles are easier to listen to.
The vast majority of pop artists do have an agenda in making the music they make, that their latest release should do well in the charts. That is probably why the record companies put so much into promoting them through the media, and why the artists don't usually put as much effort into the album tracks. Barr Robbie Williams and Kelly Clarkson I rarely hear a non-single song by a pop artist that I enjoy.But then again singles are conventionally the more radio-friendly of all an artists songs. I was listening to Iceblink Luck by Cocteau Twins today and found it was somewhat safer than some of the other tracks on its album.
But you definitely learn a lot more about the album's production, instrumental production, the impact other artists had on its sound, the impact it had on other artists etc from listening to the whole album rather than just one song from it. You can only recognise all the different underground styles that Radiohead exposed their fans to by hearing all of Kid A.
The poll result seems to be overwhelmingly in favour of albums. This pleases me.
I'd hoped to hear an argument for singles though. I think singles are pretty damn alright. They permeate the public consciousness far more so than albums. Maybe not so much singles necessarily, but individual songs. (Really) Great songs are rare enough and I guess it helps if the record they're from is just as good, though maybe not necessarily as commercial as the songs that promote it. Take QOTSA for example. Their singles are super catchy and even commercial to a degree but the rest of the songs on the albums are equally cool, in different ways, but just not single material.
Being able to do that is an art in itself. Like, intentionally writing a single with broader appeal to pull people into buying your records. The records have to be good though, and not a crap tonne of filler padding out the 2, 3 or 4 singles. The greatest songwriters are those who are just as comfortable writing a pop song as they are writing a shoegazey, industrial wig out.
Twas me clicked singles really as a default option (no atari jaguar ) ..maybe wrong option because I cant argue for either....these days I rarely add to my album collection mostly acquired before 2007 (that i now store in suitcases ,rarely open and lug around rented accommodation-am a rolling stone).
There's such a wealth of on-topic free music(not illegal) out there and that mostly satisfies me, I get bored so quickly and am always searching for the next fix.10 years ago it really was'nt possible to explore so much music and hence I bought my fair share of albums both good and bad..But even in my digital plastic buying days a single would be a rare purchase given that another tenner and you have the album! .
.Im a fan of songs these days rather than following bands obsessively.There are very few albums that you need to hear every single song and they are usually concept albums like mars volta or green days american idiot for e.g.
Having said all that I would possibly buy for e.g PiL's new album but again most of the good songs..singles if you will... are on utube so why bother?
I rather channel my spare cash into live performances rather than stacking up albums..being there done that..now I just buy the t-shirt!
Kelly Clarkson and the Cocteau twins, in the same post. Both talked about in complimentary terms, even given the size and scope of the Internet, that's got to be a first
Albums all the way for me. Never bought a single in my life.
If I like one song from an artist then generally I'll like the rest of their music from an album. But then maybe its to do with the way I listen to music. I only really listen to albums, I don't make playlists where I skip from one artist to another.
I love EPs, I'm not going to say I have a favorite format and that's it, but there's something I just love about a short and economical piece of work that leaves me wanting more.
There's many bands whose best work is an EP and not an album.
Slates by The Fall
Barely Real by Codeine
Eggnog by Melvins
I'm a fan of a concise piece of work. Also, there's so many "classic" albums that still have a couple of iffy tracks or are just too long to consider and appreciate properly.
Slates is considered a proper LP in the Fall's canon and charted in the indie album charts back in 1981. PAY NO MORE THAN 2 QUID. I bought a second hand copy in Base X Records in the summer of 1986 along with a couple of other Fall LPs and it was the same price for each one.
Back in the glory days of the indie 12" EP (Inspiral Carpets, Ride, MBV, Curve etc) all those releases were catergorised "singles" and were priced accordingly.
I prefer albums to singles. One of the reasons is that flicking through boxes of singles is a lot harder work.
I have hundreds of "one-tracker" LPs that I'd love to exchange for 45s of the killer track.
If you're into 60s and 70s singles I like me then European (French / German / Dutch) versions are way more desirable than their UK counterparts due to the picture sleeves.
i.e - some from Utrecht 2011