Play Me a Dirge…

As I have stated before, I’m stunted in my musical growth. That said, I’ve come to some conclusions as to the state of “popular” music:

  • Most of it sucks, but this is a numbers issue(throw enough ess at the wall and see if anything sticks).
  • The “Kidz Bop” CDs are evil incarnate(for so many reasons, it demands another post that, probably will never happen).
  • Downloads will kill the “album.”

Just so we’re on the same page(in terminology), and for the purpose of this post, an album will be defined as a collected release by an artist so as to tell a story or journey through music.

An opera, or an orchestral work is designed for such purposes, but so are more recent offerings. And from them there are favored movements or pieces that fans wish to revisit. Now, however with the instant gratification/OCD culture, a large musical “work” appears(to me) to be on it last legs.

With the downloadability of today, there’s no reason to experience the journey from song to song of the artist(even if it’s just once), and that, to me is a bit sad.

Not from a business standpoint, I totally understand the need to crank out hit after top forty boring and absolutely the same song hit. But there is(as I am led to understand and occasionally find), an artist that tells a story through an album, and that is what downloads are truly killing.

When you’re told to only listen to/download “x” song, there exists the possibility that you might miss the point that the artist was getting to on the album. There are some, though most assuredly not all, artists that want to take you on a journey. With what I’m going to call a, “one song, move on,” mentality, I doubt many recording artists will want to put forth the effort needed to make a long musical statement or journey(and yes I do realize that there will be exceptions).

There’s also the loss of the arts of both liner notes and album art that will continue to fade. I’ve enough tree rings to recall what vinyl is and maybe its my failing eyesight or perhaps I’m just embracing grumpy coot syndrome, but those two things seemed to add to the whole album experience for true fans.

I am, of course, aware that this is a specialized problem that effects music geeks and the masses are content to happily fill their iTunes folder with the song o’ the week and move along to the next download required for societal acceptance. I do however find interesting that these aspects of musical experience are fading away. Then again, given huge piles of cash involved and since those that would care are the smaller group, not too many people will notice or care.

On the b side, it may be time to scavenge what you can and invest in what might be a new or heightened level of collectibles. Plus, like I said before, I’m not an expert on the issue in any way shape or form. There are many positives to downloading as it’s eco-friendly(less energy used and less waste produced), easier to share, and it is easier to find that hard to find song. Perhaps that’s worth the loss of the tactile sensation and a broad musical story.

It is going to be one of those generational things that old people bore children with when they begin, “You know, in my day…”

Very much like what I’m doing right now.


One Response to “Play Me a Dirge…”

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I almost never download music, but I will for poppy crap that I secretly live like Justin Timberlake. I don’t want a whole album, just the one really good song that they’ll never play on the radio.

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