Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Listening to an album from start to finish has become passe lately. In an iPod culture there is shuffle, which means songs, not necessarily grouped the way there were meant to be played. iPod is more like Top 40 radio of yore. A great album consists of great songs performed not always by great musicians, but certainly those with a passion for what they are doing. The average listener probably doesn't think about why Caroline No is the closing track on Pet Sounds or why Brand New Cadillac follows London Calling. There is an art to sequencing an album properly. When vinyl was king, an artist could split their work into two sides, essentially having two opening tracks. There is only one track to lead off a CD and one lead track for the iTunes user to hear. Sequencing is still very important to many musicians and listeners. That lead track sets the tone for what the listener is in for. That song hopefully signals a Pandora's box of musical gems. The listener should be taken through a journey of highs, lows, middles and it all should sound seamless. The New York Times had an article about the lost art of listening to an album. Their claim was that most people hear whole albums in concert these days, such as Lou Reed performing Berlin from start to finish or Brian Wilson recreating Pet Sounds. The piece hit home as All Night Chemists are preparing their sophomore album. Much thought and agonizing goes into putting the right songs in the right place. It looks like the first two songs are set. More hours will be spent on making sure the rest of it falls into its destined place, making this a total body of music - so one day it can be performed in it's entirety on a stage in front of many music loving fans.

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