One of my current musical goals is to have every Beatles and John Coltrane studio album. I'm close on the Beatles: I'm just missing their first two and Sgt. Peppers. For Coltrane I have some work to do. The Beatles released eleven albums, Coltrane somewhere in the twenties or thirties, so he has more territory to cover. I also want to actually LISTEN to all of his albums. I'm familiar with all the Beatles. Coltrane's work takes concentration. I've owned "Ole" for over a year and just recently started really getting it.
Every year I say that I'm going to buy less music, and every year I fail at that goal. I am trying to be more honest about what I can listen to and what I am going to want to listen to in my free time. It's hard to fight my natural inclination to want to hear everything, even if I know I'll never be able to truly absorb it.
I'm convinced that many of the most loved albums from the past fifty years are loved in part because people spent so much time with them. If you only listened to Abbey Road a few times on your iPod, I'm not sure it would have the same impact as it did to the people who listened to it over and over again, in its entirety. I wonder if that means that the music we admire the most twenty or forty years from now will be songs rather than albums. Who listens to entire albums, and how many times do they listen to them?