Originally posted in Current, Etc publication last issue (well CURRENT issue until Thursday):
During the month of February I undertook a sort-of music boot camp. Each week, I had a particular way of enjoying music that I confined myself within for the entire 168 hours of that week's regular listening periods. I endeavor to tell you in a four part series my results for each week here in these Current, Etc pages. I do not promise these four parts will be in sequential order, or even in a row, depending on how pressing future music topics will be, but for today I'll share with you my rediscovery of THE ALBUM.
Listening to an album in order, in one sitting, is becoming a lost art. I recently realized I don’t know music I’ve discovered/downloaded in the last five years as albums. I know it as songs floating in and out of shuffles/mixes. Conversely, I don't think artists conceive of their music in album form as often as was done in the '70s-'90s.
The album has had a relatively short shelf-life in the grand scheme of music, if you consider The Beatles' Revolver (1966) as the birth of the album (and lots of rock critics do). THE ALBUM being a collection of songs with a conceptually-thematic atmosphere that lures you into an aural landscape for approximately three quarters of an hour, transfixed. Ultimately, I discovered that while the album did have a short run and many albums are very important to me, it’s really always been fragmented. We pick and choose the songs we love, the sides we pick up the needle for again and again. The attention span of a human does not normally last 45 minutes. For an album to make it into your pantheon of things to sit still for, it has to be spectacular! It is rare that an album makes it, without the need to skip, replay, multitask. ALBUMweek made me realize I hardly ever quiet my mind enough to experience music as its divine creators intended.
In undergoing this project, I wanted to recapture the feeling of letting my self dissolve into the sound of the album (I've been on shuffle for too many years). I felt like I did restore something deep within the earth of my mind. I defiantly reclaimed the ability to pay attention to music. Picture a woman wearing ridiculous plaid pants sitting cross-legged in a papasan chair clutching a vinyl sleeve whilst gazing wistfully into the middle-distance. This was me the entire first week of February and here are ten of the best albums repossessed during my love affair with THE ALBUM:
The Cure/Seventeen Seconds
Marilyn Manson/Antichrist Superstar
Nine Inch Nails/The Downward Spiral
Brian Eno/Before and After Science
Cibo Matto/Viva! La Woman
Fiona Apple/When The Pawn...
Veruca Salt/American Thighs
Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Fever To Tell
What are your favorite albums? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org