Why I Think the Experience of Listening to an Album is Ruined

Here is something a little bit random to say the least, but as a big music lover I feel quite frustrated that I haven’t been blown away by an album that’s been released in ages, or maybe it’s just the whole experience has been ruined for me. Here’s the thing, I’m a lover of the CD, and yes, I know I should stop being so old-fashioned and get with the times. I do stream music of course, in fact I’d go as far as saying that using Amazon Music via my phone is my main way of listening to music, either through my headphones or an aux cable in the car. I mean having thousands upon thousands of artists at the click of the button is amazing, and I have discovered some of my favourite bands by doing this. No shade, I  just something is missing and I think I know why I feel this way.

2 of my most anticipated albums this year disappointed me a little. First up was one of my favourite bands from secondary school; You Me At Six, and secondly my beloved Arcade Fire. The first issue to me is that albums aren’t really bought anymore, and people seem to just stream individual songs instead , therefore so much emphasis is put on the singles, leaving filler tracks to be one of the very few unheard songs.

Let’s talk about You Me At Six’s ‘Night People’, which by the way is a fucking good album, although it failed to leave a lasting impression on me after the first few spins. I remember a time when my best friend and I was literally o b s e s s e d with this band. I will always have a place in my heart for YMAS, purely because of the good times with my best friend, and their first 3 albums were literally all I played from like 14 – 21. I genuinely don’t think that I’d enjoy them as much now if I had only just discovered them, but obviously I still feel excited when I hear they’re doing new music or touring.

Night People is a pretty short album with only 10 songs, and before the release date FIVE of the tracks were released. That’s half the album! I feel like it’s pretty underwhelming to get half of an experience that you used to when listening to an album. I do think that listening to the full thing gives the songs more meaning, but I miss them days when I got an album through the post, and it was actually something completely new and exciting. I know what you’re thinking… Don’t listen to the songs until you hear the CD – but it isn’t that simple when you love a band and can’t help yourself. And now that brings me onto Arcade Fire’s ‘Everything Now’.

I’m actually going to do a review of Everything Now as I’m such a big Arcade Fire fan, so I’m not going to go too much into what I did/didn’t like about the album. I do feel like I want to defend my favourite band, as I don’t think the album is as bad as some critics are saying, but I do think the arrangement of the singles has a big factor in why music critics aren’t loving it compared to their previous work. Why you may ask? BECAUSE THE BUZZ OF HEARING AN ALBUM FOR THE FIRST TIME IS GONE BECAUSE YOU’VE HEARD HALF THE FUCKING THING! And let’s be real; these bands need to sell records, and as physical music is a dying art they obviously are going to release some of the strongest songs first. ‘Everything Now’, the title track and lead single is the best song on the album to many still. You don’t actually listen to a new song until track 5, ‘Peter Pan’, which happens to be their weakest song on the album, perhaps even the weakest song they’ve ever done. The next 3 songs aren’t great (by Arcade Fire standards, they’re still good but nowhere as good as something you’d find on Funeral or The Suburbs). Next up is ANOTHER song that we’ve already heard, then the last 2 are the saving grace – ‘Put Your Money On Me’ and ‘We Don’t Deserve Love’, which are two bloody beautiful songs, by the way. I think if I had that euphoric feeling that I first had with ‘Everything Now’ and ‘Creature Comfort’, paired with the last 2 tracks I would have had a much more enjoyable listen. I honestly think that this is ruining what music is really about…

Like all I wanna do is have an album playing, with the lyric booklet in hand reading word for word, whilst feeling engrossed in somebody elses world for a bit. Is that too much to ask these days?



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