The Ending Of The Last Track

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    I just bought some CDs at Amoeba Music in SF. Probably one of the few independent music stores still standing.

    What I wonder is if and when the death of a physical medium for recorded music will destroy the concept of an album. It used to be that people would only buy individual songs or a small collection of songs but the 1960s marked the start of the L.P. and eventually thematic records with a serious of songs, some of which would become the radio songs or singles. Others not. But if we are going to streaming is there a need for albums? Not really.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      I’m actually OK with the death of the album, I almost never buy one because I rarely want more than one or two songs off a given LP or EP. I’ve often felt most LPs were full of filler tracks that the producers tossed in just so they could justify the cost of the album when consumers really just wanted those few popular tracks*.

      *I remember the bitching the labels were doing when cassingles were first coming out, or single track digital purchasing.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        There is a lot of interesting scientific information that shows people generally like listening to the same songs over and over again. One of the ways popular music works so well is that it plays on this love for catchy repetition!

        I’m generally the same way but it is usually 4-5 songs I really like and the rest are okay.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      One of the reasons for the rise of the vinyl record even after being replaced technologically, CD’s and MP3’s etc, is that it takes, due to the mechanics of listening to it, a focus on the music that you cannot get from other methods of recording sound. It forces you to listen to 4-5 songs and then get up and flip the record. Storing it, you need to put it in a sleeve to protect it. And making sure that the needle on the turntable is good, that there is no stretch in the belts (unless direct drive) and all the other aspects that make it an active experience. As opposed to streaming music, which just takes a whim to listen to a song.

      Will this make the listening to albums more of a hobbyist act, not unlike buying hardback books or driving a stick? I would argue it already is.Report

    • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      I’m no great music guru, but I like the idea of albums. Some, as you point out, have themes or tell some sort of story by their songs’ content and arrangement. And while in the Age of the Album I, like Oscar, sometimes found myself buying an entire record or CD for just one or two songs, sometimes I’d actually grow to like the other songs.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    When I was in college back in the dark ages, sometimes we’d dedicate a Friday Night to sitting and listening to an entire album, start to finish, then we’d discuss it.

    We weren’t in a place where we were dating a whole lot.

    We hit stuff like Tommy and Quadrophenia and Electric Ladyland. We discussed how one song evolved and morphed into the other and how some albums were just a mishmash of songs but some were brilliant at taking the listener through an emotional journey. Emotional peaks and troughs and albums that closed on a resolute note vs. an open or hopeful one.

    Ah, well.Report

  3. Avatar gabriel conroy
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    says:

    I guess I’m as wistful as I’m supposed to be about the demise of the CD, but I’m not very sorry to see it go. To me, at least, the sound on the CD’s seemed a bit antiseptic and “canned’ in a way that the sound on, say, vinyl or cassettes did not (again, at least to my ears). And frankly, CD’s are too fragile. They too easily scratch and skip. I suppose that’s true of vinyl as well.Report

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