Saturday, January 03, 2009

Songs that grow on you

I've been listening to my new Neil Finn album, trying to let the songs sink in and make their home in my heart. It got me thinking about the digital revolution in music and the death of the proper album. When you buy your music online, piece by piece, song by song, there is no such thing as 'letting a song grow on you.' Songs aren't always supposed to find your favor immediately. Some songs need time to do their magic. Those are the songs you remember fondly. It's always rewarding to have that moment when you finally 'get' a song. Of course, there's also the matter of hearing a song in the context of an album, figuring out where it fits into the whole.

If the album truly dies, how will music making change? Will musicians give up quantity for quality? Will they focus only on the songs they (or their producer, or their record label) deems most commercial and widely appealing? It is likely that those sneaky, rewarding songs will be discarded and forgotten. Listeners will no longer have the opportunity to give things a chance and have faith in the abilities of their favorite artist. They'll merely buy what they like and ignore what they don't. Hits will become big hits and misses will sink into the void.

Just a few thoughts from an old-fashioned music fan.

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