album notes


About the blog

NEW: FLEET FOXES, FLEET FOXES

I designed this blog mainly to be an information source, partly to be an outspoken believer in the composition.

The glory days of the album came during the 1970s. Before cassettes and 8-tracks, the album — as a vinyl — held music. It was viewable — people could actually see the needle detecting the waves and turning them into sound. The vinyl was an event in itself.

But 8-tracks made the vinyl compact, just as the music itself was becoming compact, manufactured. The cassette furthered this notion — now you can take your music with you (to your car, your portable stereo, your Walkman). The CD nodded to the vinyl with its shape and technique, but no more could you see how the music became the music. The CD was inexpensive, portable, simplified. One can even debate music today is the same.

The album as a medium has transformed with its liaisons. What began as “put your best songs at the front, go from there” became sonic realizations, stories and production tricks. There are still artists out there who tell stories with their albums, but it seems, with bloated production and studio trickery, it’s more about the song than ever. The album has taken a backseat again to the song.

Which is why my reviews will not grade albums as albums. And they will not grade with historical relevance factored. An album is, really, as good as the compositions on it. To its very definition, an album is “a collection usually in book form of literary selections, musical compositions, or pictures.” So I will look at the compositions and how they are collected. The album has changed, the compositions have not.

But like I said first, this is meant to be an informative blog. I won’t lower an album’s rating because I don’t prefer of the artist. I won’t even let that known. I’ll be as fair as possible.

That said, these are my words and thoughts, and obviously this is objective. While I can’t paint myself out of this corner, I can say that music cannot be subjective. There is no fact to music. There is no fact that Nirvana is a better artist than Pearl Jam. There is no fact that Bob Dylan is the greatest songwriter ever. There is no fact that “Imagine” is the best song ever written. Even presenting multiple sources and opinions wouldn’t be subjective, because I’m merely collecting other opinions.

So how does “Imagine” near the top of every great song list? Many were affected by the song after John Lennon’s passing. Its release coming during the Vietnam War has a good bit to do with it as well. Lennon’s influence on culture — sprouted by his time with the Beatles — has much to do with it. Of course, it is a good song. If it was dreck, it wouldn’t be rated that high up. If it was dreck, it wouldn’t have been replayed in December 1980. If it was dreck, it would’ve been like “Oh Yoko” and “How?,” fellow songs from the 1971 album. Hey, “How” could’ve easily been a posthumous anthem, but “Imagine” is just a good song.

That’s the goal. I’ll try to cut through the influence, the cultural impact, the man behind the song, all of that, and just present the songs for what they are — songs — and then the albums for what they are — a collection of songs (or compositions).

If you have questions about the blog, my reviews or my taste in music, let me know.

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