Friday, August 13, 2010

Arcade Fire and albums

I bought the new Arcade Fire, The Suburbs, last week. I coulda downloaded it on Emusic, but I went in and paid my $13 for a physical cd at Ameoba, because that's how the band meant it to be digested. I do a lot of digital downloads, and there is a positive side to it, but there is something to be said for the permanence and physicality of an actual album.

I believe in albums. I believe in listening to 40-60 minutes of what an artist has to say, to hear how their songs interconnect, what the different songs have to say about an artist, and the mood that is struck over the course of an album. Mostly I listen to music on shuffle on my iPod, but I'm fucking sick of it. I'm tired of hearing a reggae song after a punk song after a hip hop song after a jazz song. I'm tired of how it doesn't make sense, how there's no rhyme or reason, how I skip ahead before I reach the end. I used to know how all of the songs bled together on the albums I loved, how the end of one song fed into the beginning of another, the mood shift as a slow song is followed by an uptempo song. Now it's just a hot mess, 1000+ songs on shuffle with no rhyme or reason. I want to go back to listening to albums. I want artists to keep making them. I realize it began with the technical limitations of records, but it makes sense. And I think 45 minutes is a perfect time frame, maybe a little less, maybe a little more. In the 90s, every album became a double album, all of them pushed to their 75-minute capacity. This meant that albums were bloated, full of filler, and not enjoyable to listen to as a whole. Less is more. Give us your good shit, leave the detritus for a mixtape or box set.

I haven't listened much to The Suburbs, but when I do it's as a whole, not on shuffle, as an album, like Win and fam meant it. Dammit.

1 comment:

Justin said...

I really like the new album. It has a very rich and majestic sound to it.
I've never been a shuffler myself. There's such a wide variety of musical genres on my iPod that it just doesn't work. I guess I'll always be an album guy.

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