I first met at his record store in town and we quickly bonded over our shared interest in music and in vinyl collecting. Since that fateful day Richard and I have spent a lot of time together, discussing music and many more things as we have traveled from state to state picking up albums. Something which we often discuss is how the art of listening to a full album has been lost, and the need for this to come back into style. If you are guilty of this then here is why listening to an album in its entirety is something you need to try.
It is easy to see why people have stopped listening to albums and this is digital music, something which began when the iPod came into being. We can now switch songs in an instant which was something that you couldn’t do in the past, or at least you could but it was a pain in the butt to switch CDs, tapes or vinyls to listen to the next song. With so much choice it is simply too easy to listen to 10 singles in a row.
The idea that every album had to have a single on it was something dreamed up by record executives and this breakout single was supposed to sell the album. Over the years those big singles became successes on their own and people needed at least 2 or 3 singles before they bought the album. What should be focused on however is the fact that the artist has created this album as a piece of art, and it should be appreciated as one. Let’s say that you cut Elvis’ face of that famous Warhol painting, it would look great but you wouldn’t see the rest of the piece, which of course looks better.
Songs are great for singing along or to accompany a task which you are doing but to listen to an album is to completely lose yourself in what they artist has created. Each song is selected in a certain order so that it takes you on a journey. This is why up tempo songs are interspersed with slower number, so that you can really grasp where the artist’s mind was during the making of this piece of art.
You can’t truly learn about a band if you only fixate on their hit singles, you must also learn those album tracks which make them who they are. Take Fleetwood Mac for example, you can listen to Dreams and Go Your Own Way and pretend to know who the band are, but it isn’t until you get into those early albums or the album tracks on Tusk and Rumors that you can fill in the its and truly understand what the band were all about.
Why not give it a try and see how much you enjoy listening to an album in its entirety?