There are plenty of people in the music industry, from artists to executives, who maintain that the worst thing that ever happened was agreeing to Steve Jobs’ demands that individual songs be sold on iTunes for 99 cents. This, they say, was the end of the album as a long-form artistic statement.
Okay, so this argument might not apply as much to pop records, which tend to be collections of songs. But there are plenty of rock artist who sweat the details on stringing their works together in a very specific and coherent way.
For example, Pink Floyd’s The Wall is best consumed as a massive opus. Same thing for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper. Sure, it’s okay to extract individual songs for a playlist or mixtape, but those albums were meant to be taken as a whole, with songs carefully sequenced to either tell a story, to create a mood or deliver a message.
So here’s this week’s question: What alt-rock albums deserve to be–need to be–consumed in a single sitting start-to-finishi rather than just pulled apart song-by-song? I’ll go first.
The Verve, Urban Hymns: It’s not a concept album by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s just something about the way the must flows through its entire 75 minutes. Normally, that’s way too long for an album, but for me, it works.
David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust: A quasi-concept record with a nearly impossible-to-follow storyline. But turning off shuffle pays great rewards.
Weezer, The “Blue” Album: Pretty much perfect from start to finish. Why skimp on the experience?
What are your picks?