Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The album is dead; long live the album

Interesting trend popping up in the news this week: artists doing their damnedest to make sure the album survives as an art form.

As the Associated Press notes on MSNBC.com, the list of artists taking a moment to perform classic albums live in their entireity has ballooned from an oddity into a full-blown trend. In recent months we have seen: Lou Reed playing Berlin on its 35th anniversary, Public Enemy performing It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Sebadoh playing Bubble and Scrape, Mission of Burma performing Vs., Liz Phair recreating Exile In Guyville (which she will do again later this month), and -- well, okay, THIS isn't exactly news -- Roger Waters playing the entire Pink Floyd classic Dark Side of the Moon as his second set at Coachella. Not to mention similar recent performances of whole albums by artists as diverse as Jay-Z, Lucinda Williams, Sonic Youth, Wilco, Slint, Iron Maiden and GZA.

In the era of the download, where individual tracks and custom playlists have gained prominence in the marketplace, it's great to see that the artist's vision of a substantial set of interconnected songs can still have a place at the table. Rock on, album-makers...

1 comment:

The Captain said...

I wonder if this will motivate newer artists to make albums in which the songs are meaningfully connected or deemphasize that concept so much that it is abandoned. I think it's safe to say that it has been already by many up and coming acts.