Over the years, there have been several albums that have been incredibly successful. That’s true primarily as the songs are great and the album to a certain extent has a journey and some continuity throughout the 45 minute collection of songs. I hate to think how the industry is going, but is the idea of the concept album and having a solid set of songs that marry together really nicely gone out the window with the idea and the focus being on releasing single tracks on iTunes?
Well no, I don’t think so. I think there are quite a number of artists that still retain the album’s journey as an important part of the process. Josh Pyke has just released his fifth studio album and thinks being able to decide how the album flows is still an important part of the creative process. In some small way, it allows the listener to be able to get into the head space and mindset of the artist and experience what the band were feeling at the time of writing that song.
Looking back through the history of music, there are a countless number of albums that you could look at to see a perfect albums journey. If you were thinking about perfection to an album (and this is probably subject to public debate) you would have to include Sgt. Peppers and Dark Side of the Moon in the list. For many years, and it is quite funny to think about now, but I really didn’t see what the big deal with Sgt. Peppers was. Yes, it was in the period of the band where there was a lot of experimentation – just listen to the likes of the lyrics and instrumentation on ‘For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite’. However, having indulged in the record (listening to it on repeat for three weeks straight) I have to say that it is a solid journey throughout the album.
Another great album from start to finish is Oasis’ second record. Yes, I am an Oasis lover and quite frankly think Noel Gallagher is a genius despite his attitude and temper sometimes, and their 1994 effort (What’s The Story) Morning Glory is perfect. Opening with ‘Hello’ the album plods along through both interludes and radio smash hits ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, to finish the backside of the album with ‘Cast No Shadow’, ‘She’s Electric’. Then there’s the seven minute album closer epic ‘Champagne Supernova’ featuring electric guitar solos from the best of them including the Mod Rock Godfather himself Paul Weller – it is up there with one of my favourite records and songs of all time. I sincerely apologise if this column seems to be coming across as self indulgent and opinionated, however, if you look at the pop hits of today, Ed Sheeran and Nicki Minaj as prime examples, it seems that albums today are filled with pop singles and a few B sides.
There is a certain point as to why this is happening, but what happened to the good ol’ days of rock and roll and classic albums from start to finish? If you’re feeling a little nostalgic after reading this column, why not crack out the old vinyl records and listen to some greatness from start to finish without hitting skip on your iTunes library.