Radiohead's Thomas Yorke recently issued a pronouncement that the band may never make a full-length record/album again, citing that "...it's become a real drag," from a creative standpoint. Sasha Frere-Jones, on her blog at The New Yorker offers this and then, this.
Her take as a musician is that albums are a mere "widget" that is produced to keep record companies happy. She adds,
Only a crazybones would deny the magic of “London Calling” hitting the Earth. But that kind of perfect chain comes along only once in a while, and even when it does, how often do you listen to it in the original order, without interruption? Unless you’ve got lots of free afternoons or long rides, you probably don’t. And most people with more than a few albums like to mix those public documents into private orders that reflect preferences and personal associations.
I would respectfully disagree with her opinion that great albums are an aberation. Well, let me back up a minute. There was a time when bands/artists regularly made great records, and in fact, there is a genius to the sequencing of songs that contributed to the magic of a great album, like London Calling.
Most of the music I listen to regularly, I know the track order and often listen in that order (although, not always). Is that the experience of others? Is this limited to age, as in older music fans prefer order and sequencing and younger listeners are happy with their iPod shuffle play music experience?
It's apparent that the day is coming, I think, when albums and blocks of songs won't matter, and Yorke and Frere-Jones comments indicate that it's not that far away.
I'm curious if readers have a particular record/album that they couldn't imagine life without?