There. I said it.
Why is everyone obsessed with the extinction of the album?
People say listeners don’t want it. That kids in their twenties just want that sweet, sweet hit of dopamine and be on their merry way.
Maybe I’m just unromantic. “Don’t you believe in love at first sight,” you’d say?
When it comes to music I don’t.
Exhibit A: There’s this musician I really dig, Kate Bollinger. The thing is, I completely forgot I liked her.
I’m not sure if any of her singles/EPs are longer than 15 minutes. I heard one of her tracks back in 2018 and I thought was great. But then I couldn’t find an LP she drifted away into the ether.
That is, until a new single of hers came up on autoplay. Also a great song. After digging into her Spotify, I still couldn’t find an album to listen to. I’m convinced in two months from now I’ll be saying, “Kate who?”
Maybe I’m in the minority. People say we live in a single-driven world. You need to capture your audience’s attention over and over again with quick musical bursts, spread out evenly over time.
But why are none of my favorite artists like this? Or, if they were, there was still an album at the end of the rollout, a light at the end of the tunnel.
I listened to Jason Isbell’s Southeastern all the way through for the first time in the subway on the way to work. It was 9 am and I was blinking away tears while he sang about how our daily lives should seem relatively easy, even though they don’t.
Would I have felt that if it weren’t for the fact that this was the closing track on a forty-seven-minute-long album? If I had been hearing it for the first time as a standalone song?
I don’t think so. It’s not because Jason isn’t a great songwriter (he is). But I’m not looking for a good song to kill time. I’m looking for a feeling. A feeling that sticks with me — some hint of permanence in the midst of this whole messy impermanence we call life.
That doesn’t happen in three minutes.
I’m not looking for a fun fling. Give me something to really fall in love with.
But what do you think? Am I full of shit? Am I biased in favor of the bands who’ve already “made it” and thus the bands that get our attention more easily?
Am I just turning into another old man yelling at clouds?