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Johnbee58

New Album Length Standard?

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Just a conversation starter for the Coffee House.  😀

Last week I bought the new release by one of my favorite artists.  "Fool" by Joe Jackson.

It's a great album and I love every track on it.  Weird thing I take notice is that it only has 8 tracks and the total time is less than 43 minutes. I'm not complaining as Mr. Jackson gave me my moneys worth of great new music but the short length made me wonder if this might be a coming trend.  Most albums released today that I've seen exceed an hour so I'm figuring that perhaps the new trend will be shorter album lengths again like back in the pre CD days.  Perhaps this might have to do with the fact that many people are trending back to vinyl LPs and it always was difficult to fit an hours worth of music on a 12" vinyl disc.  Other thoughts on this?

 

EDIT-Even though I bought the above mentioned album on CD, it is also available on vinyl, which is what got me thinking about what I suggested above.

 

😀John B.

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I've bought a few albums lately that are far too long. I don't know if it's a case of 'filling up the CD' or what, but it seems when albums drift to over an hour long, they lose coherence. Maybe that's just my age, and a throw back to listening to 45-50 minute LPs.

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My guess would be that after the initial sales subside  there will be a "deluxe" edition released with 3/4  other tracks on it so that diehard fans  will buy the album again.  I don't buy many albums these days, but when  I do I usually wait for the second edition. 

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I used to have a vinyl that was an hour long.

It was called the "Golden Hour of the Planets," although, to make up the hour there were a couple of tracks by Sibelius on it.

So, limiting albums to around 45 minutes has nothing to do with it being released on vinyl.

I know that the "Red Book" standard length of CDs was 74 minutes but I don't think even that was fixed. Reading the article about it reckons some CDs were 80 minutes long:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_Disc_Digital_Audio

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7 minutes ago, James G said:

I've bought a few albums lately that are far too long. I don't know if it's a case of 'filling up the CD' or what, but it seems when albums drift to over an hour long, they lose coherence. Maybe that's just my age, and a throw back to listening to 45-50 minute LPs.

For many years now I've found that after 5 tracks I'm getting twitchy. Apparently this is a thing and not just me, one theory being that modern production techniques are the cause of this by being fatiguing on the ears. I also think that in these days where people don't necessarily buy the whole album but cherrypick the individual tracks that they like that compiling the album in such a way that makes it more coherent is  becoming less of a thing because most people never listen to the whole thing anyway. Some of my favourite albums back in the day had a very distinct side 1 and side 2 where the mood changes as it builds and are just not the same if listened to in a random order.

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11 minutes ago, paulo said:

For many years now I've found that after 5 tracks I'm getting twitchy. Apparently this is a thing and not just me, one theory being that modern production techniques are the cause of this by being fatiguing on the ears. I also think that in these days where people don't necessarily buy the whole album but cherrypick the individual tracks that they like that compiling the album in such a way that makes it more coherent is  becoming less of a thing because most people never listen to the whole thing anyway. Some of my favourite albums back in the day had a very distinct side 1 and side 2 where the mood changes as it builds and are just not the same if listened to in a random order.

Yes, sequencing an album could be a dying art; I say 'could be' cos I don't buy enough albums to get a full picture. I noticed with Mark Knopfler's latest (Down The Road Wherever), that although it's chock full of good songs, there's just too many of them (16 I think), and they don't flow particularly well. If I go back to his earlier records like Get Lucky or The Ragpicker's Dream, they've been carefully put together with about 11 or 12 songs.

Edited by James G

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I still prefer to buy a whole album, but it definitely makes a difference if they intended to put it out as an album (and not just a collection of songs).  That Mystery album I linked to (in the Yes/Rush thread) is a perfect example.  The entire album fits together and features both topical as well as musical themes throughout the whole album.

I think the main issue stems from the fact that people no longer have any attention span (hence the simplistic, repetitive nature for most of today's noise, er, music!).  Good luck for them enjoying Classical music!

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I am, and always have been an album person. And I have a long attention span so often listen to pieces lasting twenty minutes or more.

Last time I bought a single would have probably been Can the Can...

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5 minutes ago, synkrotron said:

Last time I bought a single would have probably been Can the Can...

 

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Oh sorry where was I😀 album length. I feel it depends on the album type. I brought nonsecular CD and it was only 40 minutes long and some of the verses were omitted. It was brought to help learn the music because the choir director was out sick☹ 

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If I am not mistaken, bands and producers tried to get the album length to stay below a certain time due to the quality of the music. If the album was real long, the grooves had to be made smaller. This sacrificed the ability of the grooves to carry the full frequency of the music, especially the bass.

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In the 80s we had the "B" sides tracks. I often liked those as much as the hit songs. I find it hard to just listen to one song when listening to enjoy. It must be an album. But one album that is really too long is Dream Theaters "The Astonishing". It might also be that I am not smart enough to comprehend the greatness. Tho...

But for the analog LP, I am glad I can listen to album from a CD or HDD. It is cool with analog, but I remember the noise to well. One other thing is that I don’t want to buy HD tracks anymore. I don’t see the need. I would more buy the stem files for mixing, but just a few sells that.

Here is our Rob S recording on wax cylinder. Its cool, but for me, Its just that. LP and all that is just cool but not what I want to use for consuming music.

 

Edited by ØSkald

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I just read a very article saying that songs are getting shorter and now average well under 3:00.  The reason they offered for this is that streaming sites (Spotify in particular) pay by the NUMBER of songs an artist has played and not the LENGTH of time an artist is played.  The logic that follows is that shorter songs mean more plays means more income.  I don't know if he's right, but it was an interesting idea. 

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I grew up in the 60s with the 45 RPM single and 12" 33 & 1/3 album (as many of you probably have or are at least familiar with).  I know that even with the resurgence of vinyl albums the 45 RPM single is not making a come back.  Maybe they should consider bringing the 45 RPM singles back too.  I mean, why not?  If people don't mind the clicks and pops on the LPs today they shouldn't mind it on the singles either.  The can make them out of the super 180grain (or whatever) kind of vinyl too. 

With me, I don't really care much what the music's on.  My biggest concern is how it sounds.  And for my money the CD (Digital) at least so far is as clean a format as music was ever presented.  I know these new vinyl lovers talk about the "warmth of analogue" and if that's what they love fine. To each his/her own.  But I just can't hear warmth in vinyl, but I don't listen to music to hear warmth.  I listen to music to hear music.  I want to hear just music and not hiss or clicks and pops (or wow & flutter or any of of the old artifacts that came with records pre CD).  I like to hear pure music and the CD (or any other form of DIGITAL) gives me that.

Don't get me wrong.  I respect the vinyl.  It was Edison's baby and it gave people a way to listen to  and appreciate music in a way they could only dream of before it existed  and for over 100 years it was the mainstay of music.  It's production process was also fascinating.  But as with almost everything, somebody comes up with a new invention or process to make things better.  In music, it was digital (via the CD at first). 

There will always be a place in my heart for LPs.  Vinyl gave me music in my young years and showed me how much of a joy it could bring me.  But I always wished it could be cleaner sounding and closer to live performance.  The CDs came along and gave me that too.

😀JB

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