Let's be honest--are you a singles or albums person?

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Let's be honest--are you a singles or albums person?

Postby The Write Profile » 11 Aug 2004, 00:25

To be honest, I probably lean closer towards the singles side of things.

Although most of my favourite albums in my collection were porobably designed originally a Long Player, more often than not, it's four or five tracks that stand out on an album that contains 10 or more songs in total.
As David Marsh once said, when asked why he made The Heart of Rock and Soul about the 1001 Greatest Singles, "no one hums their 1001 greatest albums"

And there's going to be an even greater lean towards the single within the next few years, Ipod and song downloading will see to that.

While, I prefer albums that are cohesive to those which are fragmented, there really doesn't need to be a musical progression, that a sense that all the ideas/music flows nicely or done with consistency
Your thoughts/choices please would be nice....
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Postby Matt Wilson » 11 Aug 2004, 00:26

Albums, which can contain singles of course...
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Postby Magilla » 11 Aug 2004, 00:32

Albums, definitely. Singles these days are more marketing tools for albums, as opposed to actual events unto themselves that made them worth buying.
Look at great singles bands like The Who, The Jam, Buzzcocks, Joy Division, New Order, etc.
Bands such as them all put out great singles that were great songs unto themselves and not merely great songs on albums. Often, the concurent albums were good enough even without the singles on them.

TRP, in an NZ context, the '80s indie scene was awash with classic singles and eps that were events unto themselves. There was a plethora of great singles and eps on Ripper, Propellor, Flying Nun, etc that were all great individual items.

Obviously things change and the advent of cds has also been a factor, but the single just isn't relevant, important or, prehaps most crucially, exciting these days.
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Postby Poppypoobah » 11 Aug 2004, 00:36

Definately an albums girl. i don't mind owning it even if I only like one song off an album! That goes for downloading as well as buying I'll always opt for getting the entire album (sometimes multiple albums) on the basis of a great song.

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Postby Grollope » 11 Aug 2004, 00:40

I'm an albums bloke and I still have a tendency to play albums all the way through rather than skipping tracks.

If someone gives me a comp of a particular artist I always feel a little sad that some of the less-favoured tracks are missing.
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Postby The Write Profile » 11 Aug 2004, 00:41

Magilla wrote:Albums, definitely. Singles these days are more marketing tools for albums, as opposed to actual events unto themselves that made them worth buying.
Look at great singles bands like The Who, The Jam, Buzzcocks, Joy Division, New Order, etc.
Bands such as them all put out great singles that were great songs unto themselves and not merely great songs on albums. Often, the concurent albums were good enough even without the singles on them.


Interesting point, and one that would be nice for someone else to develop. The one-off single is a rarity these days isn't it? Which is a damn shame, it would be nice for something to happen in regards to that.


TRP, in an NZ context, the '80s indie scene was awash with classic singles and eps that were events unto themselves. There was a plethora of great singles and eps on Ripper, Propellor, Flying Nun, etc that were all great individual items.


Yeah, weren't the Chills one of the best exponents of that?
Once again, I'd like to see the single to become more of an event--it seems obviously more immediate to me. That's what I want. Instant gratification, me :D
Obviously things change and the advent of cds has also been a factor, but the single just isn't relevant, important or, prehaps most crucially, exciting these days.


It's record company ignorance more than anything else that's stopping them capitalise. That and the fact that "indie" seems to be a marketing term more than an actual stance these days. But as I said, if they got their act together and realise how most songs are obtained by many these days (i.e. downloading) they'd realise the reason why retail singles are dead in the water. Sad, but it could change, hopefully, if they were savvy enough
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Postby Owen » 11 Aug 2004, 01:16

Magilla wrote:Obviously things change and the advent of cds has also been a factor, but the single just isn't relevant, important or, prehaps most crucially, exciting these days.


As far as I'm concerned the music people care about is totally single based these days. I bet the record companies are thanking their lucky stars that they convincd the middle aged that albums are where it's at because nobody under 30 cares about album tracks or even the 3rd or 4th singles off abums, it's all about downloading that one decent track these days

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Postby The Mysterious Doctor Satan's Robot » 11 Aug 2004, 01:18

A good single can be a fluke. A good album is never a fluke.
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Postby Quaco » 11 Aug 2004, 01:23

Although I like the idea of being a singles person -- it seems very freeing -- I am a homebody albums girl through and through. This does cause me to get bogged down in certain artists' careers (erm ... ELP, Bob Welch, Crosby Still Nash and/or Young), when I probably should have just accepted that they only had a half dozen good tracks. Still, I am more turned on by the flow of a good album than by the immediacy of a good single. I love all things having to do with album flow: the crucial second song and how it relates to the first one, end of side one, second to last song on the album, the lengths of all the songs and how the energy is distributed, etc. And invariably, I get something out of an album that isn't really apparent on the single.
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Postby Matt Wilson » 11 Aug 2004, 01:23

MysteriousDrSatan'sRobot wrote:A good single can be a fluke. A good album is never a fluke.


Ooh, good point.
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Postby The Write Profile » 11 Aug 2004, 01:23

Owen wrote:
Magilla wrote:Obviously things change and the advent of cds has also been a factor, but the single just isn't relevant, important or, prehaps most crucially, exciting these days.


As far as I'm concerned the music people care about is totally single based these days. I bet the record companies are thanking their lucky stars that they convincd the middle aged that albums are where it's at because nobody under 30 cares about album tracks or even the 3rd or 4th singles off abums, it's all about downloading that one decent track these days


Exactly. I should have put the word "retail" in italics. They've really, really dropped the ball on the singles market though because there's a real potential to capitalise on all the downloading done these days...

Hey, put it in a box, with free posters, a b-side and a live track, and other stuff. I'd pay $8 for that.
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Postby Nonbeliever » 11 Aug 2004, 02:49

albums. i don't listen to singles EVER. If i don't like the album as a whole then I'll live without the few songs I do like. I don't have any greatest hits albums or compilations. and I only buy live albums of my favorite artists.
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Postby James R » 11 Aug 2004, 03:03

I'm a bit of both. Call me a compilation person :D

I think I'm becoming more of an individual songs person, though, thanks to the Internet's perfidious influence. I'll download a couple of tracks by someone but will rarely go to the effort of a whole album (though I may buy the album, as I did with that TV On The Radio album, if I like the tracks I've sampled). This is perhaps why I'm enjoying compilations more these days, because I'm getting more used to listening to isolated tracks instead of whole albums...
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Postby Owen » 11 Aug 2004, 07:24

Nonbeliever wrote:albums. i don't listen to singles EVER. If i don't like the album as a whole then I'll live without the few songs I do like. I don't have any greatest hits albums or compilations.


Seriously?

I'm trying to picture just how much of the most moving music I would have missed that way, I suppose most great songs are on some 'proper' album somewhere, (although I'd guess your 'if I dont like the album as a whole..' thing would rule a lot out) but it seems a rather self defeating approach to me.

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Postby Cédric » 11 Aug 2004, 08:09

Motown, Stax, Atlantic, the Phil Spector production and the Brill Building in general, the garage bands from the 60s... Most of the music that I prefer has been made and thought for the 45 format.

I think that rock lost a lot of its freshness when the album format became dominant.
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Postby Corporate whore » 11 Aug 2004, 09:12

Matt Wilson wrote:
MysteriousDrSatan'sRobot wrote:A good single can be a fluke. A good album is never a fluke.


Ooh, good point.


Well Put.


I'm an album person, always have been (which made being a punk a challenge!).
For a good album the whole trancends its component parts, with the songs building on one another. Ironically an album that has one or two truly standout tracks has the oposite effect - the great songs contrast the filler.
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Postby Mozz » 11 Aug 2004, 09:20

Magilla wrote:Singles these days are more marketing tools for albums, as opposed to actual events unto themselves that made them worth buying. Look at great singles bands like The Who, The Jam, Buzzcocks, Joy Division, New Order, etc.


No response of mine can improve on that, but that won't stop me trying :?

How many bands today release singles for the sake of them? If there are any, they aren't getting that much attention.

Going back to the original question, it's like asking if you prefer 700 page novels to reading poems or short stories. Despite the discrepancies in length, a four line poem can be just as, if not more, enriching and enlightening as 50,000 words of prose. I also have more admiration for someone who can express a defining moment in a poem rather than in a novel. The same applies to singles and albums.

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Postby Leg of lamb » 11 Aug 2004, 14:37

I always respect a great album more than a great single and this has nothing to do with enjoying the sequencing or wanting a more complete artistic vision, or anything like that. Quite simply, I think that producing filler is pretty insulting to your audience and I don't see why great artists do it. There are many albums in my collection that sustain a consistent level of quality over 12 or so tracks, so my question is this - if, say, R.E.M. can produce a 6/7 album run of phenomenal quality, why can't artists from the 45-based genres (soul, pop, reggae, etc) do the same? Continuing to use the example of R.E.M., their albums are nothing to do with a quasi-mystical flow of songs that would only work in that order and should never be broken up; they're just fantastic songs, songs that can be isolated from the rest of the album and still have extraordinary power (like a single!). I find it hard to believe that the great artists of the other genres can't do the same.
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Postby Mozz » 11 Aug 2004, 14:42

A football analogy courtesy of Nick Hornby: the difference between a great single and a great album is the same as the difference between scoring the winning goal in the Cup Final and being capped for your country: the latter may well indicate class but achieving the former is more likely to have you remembered for years to come.

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Postby bhoywonder » 11 Aug 2004, 14:42

goldwax wrote:I like me a good album, but I'm more of a song (read: singles) guy in the final analysis.


Yup, I'm one of them too. Didn't used to be, but am now. Just so you know.