IMAGE? Save the album, bin the single

lisa-hanniganMy friend Jordan has made this a day for causes with his impassioned defence of Orange M and Ms, which got me thinking about how much I love great albums. Not that I dislike singles per se, but it’s often the case that the band or artist has bugger all to offer beyond one or two warbles being played on high rotation until embedded in our brains – it’s like Maccas: easily digestible, slickly marketed, but far from satisfying.

A good album, on the other hand, usually offers the following:

  • A journey – start big, start small, build up, come down, tell a long story or a few different snippets of a whole. Good artistes can do this in 8 tracks or 28 (I’m thinking Smashing Pumpkins here) but you’ll rarely see it in 3 and a half minutes.
  • Cover art – ok, maybe it’s taking on a different dimension now that loads of albums come via iTunes, but there’s still websites.
  • Variety – having loads of tracks in a single sitting mean that a good album has to show the breadth and depth of what the artist has to offer, lest the audience doze off or throw stuff at the stereo.
  • Decent concerts – instead of standing still and bored stiff for 45 minutes waiting for the one song you know, you get to jump up and down through most of the night.

So anyways, my point is that art doesn’t come in soundbites. Recently I’ve been lucky enough to pick up CDs from Lisa Hannigan (pictured) and the Silversun Pickups which I’d not even heard on Triple J – if I’d had to find individual songs, I’d … be taking up the guitar or some such.

And on a final note, my top 10 albums as at 2007 (posted on 456 Berea Street) were as follows …

  1. Hourly, Daily – You Am I
  2. Mezzanine – Massive Attack
  3. Heaven or Las Vegas – Cocteau Twins
  4. Whipsmart – Liz Phair
  5. Vs – Pearl Jam
  6. I’m With Stupid – Aimee Mann
  7. Sunset Studies – Augie March
  8. Last Splash – The Breeders
  9. So Tonight That I Might See – Mazzy Star
  10. Grandslam – Spiderbait

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