Over the last month, I’ve streamed or downloaded somewhere around 40-50 albums, and I’m sorry to say that I’ve found that the vast majority of them are the aural equivalent of suffering from a Sominex overdose. Since the birth of the iPod, most of my musical joy comes from hitting the shuffle button and letting the unexpected be just that, but these words from No Depression co-founder Grant Alden from seven years ago still echo in my mind:
Really Ed? You don’t listen to albums anymore? What kind of fun is that?
With Grant on my mind — I recently watched him get interviewed in an old BBC4 television special called Beyond Nashville — I decided to go full-album crazy for the past two weeks, beginning to end, in several four- to five-hour blocks. I tried my best to let the artist’s vision and concept sweep me off my feet, and discovered that either my attention span has gotten shorter or the full-length album has run its course.
Has it become simply a commercial vehicle to sell concert tickets and merchandise? Looking at the sales and streaming charts these days, the latter theory seems to hold more water. People like songs.
As most kids from my generation, I got into music by listening to radio and scooping up 45 rpm vinyl singles. The picture I used here is a replica of the player that my sister and I shared, and it wasn’t until February 22, 1964, that I began to collect and listen to full-length albums. I remember that date because of these details:
Meet the Beatles.
George Washington Birthday Sale.
Korvettes Department Store.
That was the first album for me. Twenty-six years later the collection was close to 20,000 albums, when I sold most of them off in order to get a down payment for a house. Heresy, I know.
While I might be regressing back to the days of my youth and boss-jock radio, today, as I scanned my playlist of (mostly) newer albums, it came to mind that my favorite tracks are the shorter ones — three minutes or less. So, with that, here’s my Top 5 Pick-To-Click Fantastic Faves of the Week.
See you at the hop.