I keep hearing all over the place about now being the iPod generation – where our music listening is governed by homemade playlists, shuffle functions and genre-specific online radio… Does anyone else still listen to whole albums?
While I do occasionally listen to odd tracks (or even buy odd tracks on iTunes – the latest one was Carly Simon’s ‘Coming Around Again’ – just had an urge to listen to it, for some reason!) I’m still a big fan of the art of constructing an album, programming the tracks in the right order, developing a musical or lyrical theme and packaging it in a way that makes sense. Music just doesn’t seem to have the same significance in a disembodied ‘shuffle mode’ MP3 context.
On the flip side of this, I’ve always been a big fan of Greatest Hits albums, more because I’m looking forward to the day when I’ve got 10 or so albums under my belt and can cherry-pick the best tracks to go on a best-of. That feeling of looking back over your career and seeing how many great tracks you’ve made must be a very satisfying one.
so, my top 5 fave Greatest Hits albums –
- The Cure (Greatest Hits)
- Paul Simon (Negotiations and Love Songs)
- Michael McDonald (Sweet Freedom – the best of)
- Tom Waits (Asylum Years)
- Prefab Sprout (Life Of Surprises)
The other great packages of a lifetime’s material are live albums and re-recordings – my faves of those would be
- James Taylor (Live – mid 90s)
- Joni Mitchell (Travelogue)
- Kings X (Live)
- Bruce Cockbun (Live – late 80s)
- Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds (Live at Luther College)
So here’s to the magic of the album, long may it continue as an artform…
Soundtrack – Stevie Wonder, ‘Hotter Than July'; Tom Waits, ‘Nighthawks At The Diner’.by