While the music industry saw CDs as their savior in the 80′s as everyone rushed to upgrade their collections, their friend the CD eventually turned to the dark side. Artists suddenly felt that they had to put 70 minutes of music on each disc. Every note of music suddenly had to be heard forgetting that those great albums from the 60s and 70s were 45 minutes or less. A double album was 70 minutes long and how many great double albums can you name? Artists got paid more because there were more songs on the CD and the artist and record label ruled, but at what cost? Cut to today and now the consumer rules. When we do pay for music we get to pick the songs we want and cut out all that crap on those bloated discs.
With that said, I am still a fan of the full length record. If an artist can create a unique vision and sound with 12 songs I usually become a life long fan. It’s not an easy task and artists need to self edit and leave the filler off but I think it pays off in the long run.
I am a huge fan of My Morning Jacket because I think they understand the idea behind making a record. Their new CD Circuital is a focused work, where the songs flow seamlessly together. It’s fun, it rocks and it’s a beautiful focused piece of work. Click on the cover to give it a listen.
One more record I can recommend that is also streaming on NPR is Death Cab for Cutie’s Codes and Keys. Like all great artists, they seem to get better after each record. It took a while for me to fully appreciate their early work as it seemed a bit overly sensitive for me (read Emo). However singer-songwritter Ben Gibbard has matured and with it has created a fully realized work that I can happily relate to and enjoy. Click on the cover to hear it.
I should also note that both My Morning Jacket and Death Cab For Cutie records that I highly recommend come in at 45 minutes. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.