In several instances my post carried the secondary question "In a world gone mad for playlists, algorithmic song recommendations and singles, are you listening to albums any more?".
Here is some of the great feedback received:
Emerson Prado - I do, and enjoy it a lot. But this only makes sense for albums written as such, what I think is the case for Dream Theater. When it comes to those albums with a few good singles and lots of "filling" tracks, no way. And, for the matter, I prefer listening to good albums than to good singles.
Tim Bazell - I absolutely try to listen to albums. I also try to make albums. Working on a track is one thing, but an album if it's done properly can be such a total experience. For me it's the great art form of the last 100 years. Shame to see a generation growing up without knowing what it's like to listen to a whole album over and over until you know every last microsecond of it. There's a lot to be said for limited access to songs. You get more out of the ones you have.
Michael Diamond - I listen to albums as well, and lament their demise in favor of downloaded single tracks. One of the comments I hear is that a lot of albums have "a few good songs and a bunch of filler." While I'm sure that is true in a percentage of cases, for a lot of artists an album represents a body of work, and I'm sorry to see that being lost, along with album art, liner notes, etc. As a recording artist myself, my albums are carefully created with continuity, to have a specific flow, and to be experienced as a whole. While any track can stand on its own, in a way, just listening to one track is like reading one chapter of a book and missing the rest.
John Nixon - A good album is a snapshot of where an artist is creatively at any one point in their career. I think listening to albums as a whole, and as stated above; listen to an artists catalog in order chronologically to see their development is where I get my most enjoyment. Even in cases where I don't "love" an album from an artist, I can at least see how their development began in the case of an older album where a song or two may show signs of what is to come later; or I can understand their decline and remnants of past greatness as may be the case in later releases. Either way, that is lost in the case of perennial "shuffle" mode most people listen in. And artists now releasing a song here and there maybe thru their website, further diminishes our ability to see a body of work as a unit; and what it may mean at that particular time.
Roger Norman - Let's put it this way. How good would Dark Side of the Moon be if it were randomized, or you could only listen to one of the songs today, another tomorrow, etc? The problem is that today's releases are supposedly total works on their own, encompassing all of the story to be told, whereas albums, intentional or not, tend to be whole stories, even adventures because they can take you different places each time you listen to them. Or, they, in toto, create a mood in a person perhaps not necessary, but well worth the time to listen to find out.
Elaine Goodall - I still listen to albums. There are certain albums where the artist has intended you to listen to the tracks in a particular order and it makes sense musically to do that. Marillion's Brave album is a good example of this, and a great album as well. If you listen to the tracks in the wrong order it's like listening to the movements of a classical symphony in the wrong order - it just doesn't sound right. I think it occurs more with prog rock and classical music than other music, but you can tell that in other genres, e.g. rock, pop, country etc. the artists plan the sequence of their tracks so that the order makes some kind of sense musically.
Gerhard Guter - Having just produced a new one released in November with my group, I can attest to the creative decisions that go into creating an album as opposed to creating several individual tracks which happen to sound good on their own. Artistic choices relating to key, tempo, flow, artwork, creative crossfades/effects occurring between tracks aren't duplicated by throwing together a "playlist."
Randy Gabbard - As a mature musician (Old rocker) I was there for the ride from there to here, and to concur with Oskar it is sad. But here we are. To stay viable, one has to learn both sides of the situation, I guess. I must admit, that not being at the top of the charts, I don't really speak from personal success. But it seems that if you're wanting to have the "Art" sell, you first have to knock a whole in the new wall, and seemingly this can only be done on a "single" basis. I don't know of any way to get anyone's attention long enough to have them view/listen to an entire album, no matter what the quality. If there is such a platform, throw it on me baby and I'll give it a shot.
Irminsul - Part of the problem today is our obvious lack of an attention span, as a culture. I can recall a day when you listened to an entire album by a favorite artist, so that you could judge the effort yourself. Sure, there may have been a hit or two that led you to it, but you still heard out the entire thing if for no other reason than the all too familiar "why didn't THIS get more radio play?" moment. Unfortunately our society these days doesn't have that longevity of interest or concentration. The single track tends to be about as far as it goes.
Kevin Richards - In this 4G speed, microwave, iPad, instant gratification society its very hard to get people to sit through an album of an entire artists anymore. Attention spans have dropped sharply over the last 15 years thanks to the internet. The second problem is also the lack of artists today who make great albums. They seem to be creating for the iTunes download generation anyway. Gone is the new artist seeing a vision for his whole body of work on an album. Its about the quick single. Even someone like Paul McCartney have fallen into this trap. The industry is to blame as well creating tons of "here today, gone later today" disposable Rock stars. Gone are the days of developing an artist from the ground up - slow build. Hit it big right away or you're gone. So the easiest way to showcase an artist is with a single, not an album.
Tara Mosby - I definitely still listen to albums. I'm a heavy user of Spotify, Pandora and similar apps but I use those to discover the artist. After I hear a song that I like, I listen to the artist's CD and then buy it if I enjoy it.
Stewart Brennan - Variety in music is once again emerging from the shadows through Independent and unsigned artists on the Internet so the answer to your question of “are you listening to Albums anymore?” the answer is yes. I no longer listen to the mainstream radio or much of what the 3 major labels offer anymore because most of what they promote is a standardized mechanical package and narrowed field of music genres that promote lude, crude, and rude. Of course, not all mainstream artists fall into these 3 categories and there are a lot of older artists still sponsored by the major labels, but the real quality music today is found with Independent artists, and that is where you will also find albums worth listening to in full.
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