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Long Play


It is with some dismay that I've had to accept the notion that the album truly is dead (or dying). This doesn't come as a surprise, though the sadness isn't lessened any by it. For years I would be able to rattle-off my top ten favorite albums of a particular year. Then it became five. Then, finally, I stopped doing the list altogether, as there just wasn't much to choose from.

New music is constantly being made, of course. Just go to iTunes, Spotify, or your local record store (if one is to be found), and you'll see plenty of new albums available. But the experience just isn't there anymore. I used to purchase an album, put it in the cassette deck or CD tray, and just let it play. Not so anymore. They just don't have the cohesive quality I'm looking for.

We live in a singles-driven society. The song's the thing, not so much the song collection. This isn't necessarily a new existence for the music industry and its fans. Before the 1960s, most artists put out songs first, eventually followed by a grouping of them to be released later. There were a smattering of concept albums (by the likes of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra), but for the most part we weren't all that big on the album.

Now, after fifty years, the album has gone back to being mostly a collection of the (hopefully) hit songs you heard on the radio or sampled online. With few exceptions, there doesn't seem much point in listening to a complete album all the way through. If one tries, it's often a disjointed experience.

I still listen to music, of course. Music is important. It is one of the quickest routes to the soul. It's a drug-free way of altering mood, mind and body. I love it. And there's plenty of new songs that are worthy of a listen. I just wish they worked better together.


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