The album still means a lot to me. But the ability of the full-length album to infiltrate the entire nation have practically ended. I still hold on to the hope for another “Born In The USA” or “Rumors” but except for the occasional album like “21″ where seemingly the entire nation is aware of every track, the end is closing in on the album.
Digital Music News presented a thoughtful essay on the state of the album and asked a number of interesting questions for an artist:
“Do you release a traditional album with ornate packaging, treat it as an event, tie it to a tour, give it an iTunes exclusive (if they care)? Or, are songs and outtakes released as soon as they’re baked, online or onstage, spread out over time? Or, it is one of a million variations in between”
I don’t have answers to these questions but I do know that thanks to iTunes and YouTube everything is being chopped up into little bits and that’s the way people like it. Who wants to spend 50 minutes listening to an album when you can pull up the single instantly on your computer? 1.7 million people watch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon but over 5.8 million people have watched Jimmy Fallon slow jams the news on YouTube.
I don’t blame people for wanting to just get the hits. Here’s the top 5 albums right now and their score from the website Metacritic which tabulates reviews from various critics. Scores are based out of a possible 100.
Chris Brown “Fortune” 43
Katy Perry “Teenage Dream” 52
Justin Bieber “Believe” 68
Maroon 5 “Overexposed” 54
Linkin Park “Living Things” 57
By the way, the 25th anniversary reissue of “Graceland” by Paul Simon received a perfect score of 100. I guess that kind of proves the point that these current top 5 albums are strictly for today and will most likely not be listened to again in a year’s time (Katy Perry excepted, that album will be guaranteed to be reissued in at least 10 different configurations during its lifespan).
As was also pointed out older albums are now outselling new releases
As I posted last week, there are still really good albums to listen to all the way through, it’s just going to happen less.