Is the death of the album nigh?

[This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]

Once upon a time, there was a complicated decades-long ritual involved in listening to music.

You’d purchase a piece of plastic from a store, unwrap it, place it on a turntable, and then lay back and listen to the songs that spilled forth over the next 30-40 minutes. Enjoying an album — a special collection of songs written, recorded and carefully ordered on the record by the artist — was one of life’s great pleasures.

Listening to a vinyl LP was great, but the compact disc made the experience even better because you didn’t have to get up midway to flip the thing over. And if there happened to be a song you weren’t so crazy about, meh. Just let things run. A better song was coming up in just a few minutes.

Sometimes, though, you even learned to like those songs, too. They just needed time to be properly revealed to you, something that could only happen with repeated exposure.

Now let me ask you this: When was the last time you listened to an album the old-fashioned way? Front to back, start to finish. Chances are it’s been a while.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Is the death of the album nigh?

  • February 4, 2020 at 6:38 pm
    Permalink

    …and albums were ordered into sides 1 & 2, with a definite transition from the first song to the last on each side.

    A friend just resurrected his turntable, and I donated my 200 albums that had been sitting in the basement. We’ve had more fun playing them recently. Much better than the random “greatest hits” from my iPhone.

    Reply
    • February 25, 2020 at 4:48 pm
      Permalink

      Please assure us that no actual music was lost during this disaster.

      Hopefully the Masters are stored in a safe place. With backup. Restored regularly.

      Reply

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