This past week I set up an old record player. The player had belonged to my wife's grandparents, along with the rather large collection of records. We have hooked it up a few times in our various apartments but never truly used it. As it turns out, I really like listening to records.
Artists tailor their art to however most people will be consuming it. This applies to music today, because almost all of us consume our music digitally. Whether it's iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Google Music, Xbox Music, or any of the countless other options, it is digital. Now, digital on its own does not change a whole lot, but how we use it is very different. Digital music made playlists an everyday thing. We then took that a step further to randomize playlists. Randomized playlists, ensure that pretty much every song is from a different artist, recording, and sometimes even genre.
I don't think this is bad, just different from years past. By consuming music in different ways we have forced musicians to produce different music. Before random playlists, or any other type of mixing music, an artist could mix songs together to create a literal feel for an entire album. Artists try to do this now by saying that all the songs may have a consistent theme, but for the most part the songs are all interchangeable. The way we consume music today, forces artists to create the emotional highs and lows all within one song.
Records were different.
Records, almost guaranteed, that a listener would consume at least half the album in a row. There was no automatic way to switch after each song. The best thing you could have is a stack of records that would each play after the previous one had finished. This gave artists a certain liberty that they don't have today.
By forcing artists to tailor their albums to an individual song level, we have forced various creative styles to extinction. Records are our time machine.
For this reason I am attaching homework to the reading of this blog. Listen to two albums, twice, digitally. One album should be The Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd. The other can be any album released in the past year that has at least two radio single on it. Which can be pretty much any of the top albums from the previous year. Listen to both of them through first. Then listen to both of them through with the shuffle option on. I think you will understand what I'm talking about.