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Albums with only 2 or 3 good tracks
mwalimu
post Jun 24 2011, 18:34
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A little background, leading up to a question or two here. Most of you have probably heard many times over but to summarize, CD sales have plummeted since 1998. The recording industry wants to blame the decline on filesharing. Others counter that it's due to a number of other causes, many of which represent a failure by the recording industry to adapt to the digital age and often alienating consumers in the process. It's not my intent here to discuss this admittedly very condensed and oversimplified description, but to ask for elaboration on one specific claim sometimes made in this debate.

The claim is that many CDs have no more than two or three good tracks, and the others are just there to pad it out into an album. People go on to say things like 'Why should I spend $15 to buy a CD when only two or three tracks are any good and the rest is crap?' and 'In the past you could buy an album and the whole album was good music, but not anymore'.

And now the question: What are some specific examples of albums that have only two or three good tracks on them?

I've listened to a fair number of albums released in the last 10-15 years, have looked at reviews, and followed statistics at sites like last.fm, and I'm not really seeing it. As far as I can tell, notwithstanding the antics of the management at the record labels, most CDs being released still represent a sincere and often successful effort on the part of the musicians to produce good music. Perhaps the question we should be asking is, why is there a perception that albums are being padded out?
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db1989
post Jun 24 2011, 23:53
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Unfortunately—or is it fortunately?—I can’t provide any examples. Often, I’m immediately grabbed by only a few tracks on an album or by an artist, and I have to devote time to listen (a lot of time, in some cases!) in order to appreciate the rest, but I usually end up either persevering and adding them to my list or giving up after a few bad songs and forgetting them forever!

Being able to purchase single tracks is a nice option, questions of attention-span aside, but it only appeals to me in a few cases (e.g. television themes or the occasional novelty) as I prefer to listen to artists who offer plenty of (what I think is) good material; even if their style changes over time and my preference is with a particular period of their career, I usually have an appreciation for most of their work.

As to your closing question, I could be cynical and speculate that either the album in question is fine and the listener has too short an attention span or too narrow a musical palate, or the album is just crap. Guess how often I listen to the charts. wink.gif
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d_headshot
post Jul 10 2011, 03:27
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Most commercial or mainstream pop/rock/rap/etc albums have few good tracks and the rest filler. Music these days is based on singles or "hit" songs. However some of my favorite bands have albums where I only like a few songs from an album.
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fuflo
post Jul 10 2011, 07:05
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With all the available material (many artists, many songs, teh internetz) people are spoiled now.
Mostly everyone wants to listen to hits. And 'hits' are the couple of songs from an album that gets played on the radio/mtv.. well not mtv i guess.. But you get the idea.

The nature of people is to be in a group. If you listen to hits, you are sure to find someone else who listens to the same songs and you have the same interests. It just makes you feel not alone.
Now if you actually listen to niche songs/albums/artists, that makes you a weirdo and it's a little harder to find another weirdo. But you don't care about that, the music is enough for you.

This is all just based on my thoughts ( i like to analyze the psychology behind everything ) and it might be completely false, but it's based on what trends i see in the world..
Many people say that MTV killed the music and that MTV isn't a music television by now. And i totally agree, but the real point is the whole MTV culture. Teens who no matter what want to be popular because they need attention.

Sorry if this is offtopic, but i think it all comes down to this:
The more information is accessible, the more people are spoiled and want more for less and as fast as possible.

To get back on topic - it's easier to grab several single tracks that are popular and most people like them, either niche or not, than to explore different tracks or types of music. People who are true fans of an artist at least try to listen to the whole album and see if they missed something before having an opinion.

As for myself, i like several genres, but i'm very specific on what i like. I may like 4 - 5 tracks of an album more than the others, but i can listen to the whole album without complaining.

This post has been edited by fuflo: Jul 10 2011, 07:06
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krafty
post Oct 13 2011, 17:04
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In the past albums were all we had because in many countries there were never a singles market. Concerning albums with 2 or 3 good tracks I can think of Richard Ashcroft's "Alone with Everybody" or Spin Doctors' "Pocket Full of Kriptonyte". The record company strategies have been always in a way that they would tight you around all the formats (specially in the UK, in which a single can have up to 4 formats on its own) so you would spend more money to get that special non-album track placed in a obscure rare Maxi CD Single. Those practices continue today with releases of "Deluxe Editions", "iTunes -lossy only- Bonus Tracks" and so on.

But as the internet gets more and more adapted to the way digital music is demanded, in the future you can buy lossless tracks from artist's official store, because that way will be proven to be more profitable than relying on CD sales or worldwide distribution of formats.

As for albums being entirely good will depend on who really can discern between good music and modern trash.

This post has been edited by krafty: Oct 13 2011, 17:06
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astroidmist
post Oct 30 2011, 14:48
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Here's an example :

Opus III - Mind Fruit

track 1: It's a Fine Day (hit single)
tracks 2-10: all trash and filler.

I'm sure if people delve into their CD collections they can find more examples.

Another example :

Prince - Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic

track 2: Undisputed (reasonable compared to other Prince material, features Chuck D. as well)
all the rest: trash and filler or at least not up to par with what Prince is capable of.

This post has been edited by astroidmist: Oct 30 2011, 14:52


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Dynamic
post Oct 31 2011, 10:18
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I seem to recall thinking Pocket Full of Kryptonite had a pretty good ratio of tracks I liked, so I guess that is a taste issue. Mind you, I haven't heard it in years, as I only had it the cassette album and never digitised it.

What I've noticed also is that the singles charts in all eras have also had a lot of terrible songs in them. I mean samey me-too attempts to have a hit in the current fashionable style, novelty singles and just pretty poor music that an artist's die-hard fans will queue to buy in the first week of release to help propel them into at least the lower reaches of the charts, which then get little airplay and fade away forever. There have also been numerous failed attempts by one-hit wonders to repeat that earlier hit, using the same kind of gimmicks, so you can just hear they're trying to do the same again using the same formula. I guess there are also hits that are based more on the video than the audio since the 1990s.

Compilation albums based on an era or a genre, and greatest hits albums for an artist tend to reflect the filtering out of the crap, as do our memories (viewing the past through rose-tinted spectacles because we remember only the good, not the mediocre, and maybe a little of the terrible if it really affected us). If you ever hear one of those radio shows where they run through the chart of "this week in 19??", you may well remember long-forgotten mediocre singles that haven't seen the light of day in years, mainly because they didn't make the grade.

I tend not to listen to those shows very often because the quality ratio isn't that high, especially for the 60s and early 70s where there's no nostalgia to help me. Sometimes it's good for a nostalgia kick if it ties in with formative memories of your youth and you can associate the song with the girl, or maybe an old friend or a place, or a fresher's disco (Ride On Time always does the latter for me, which usually gets me thinking about that place and that girl). Come to think of it, I don't think I own a copy of Ride On Time, but some songs are so implanted in my brain I don't need to.


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spile
post Nov 2 2011, 19:21
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Tangerine Dream's Zeit is a double album with only four really good tracks on it.
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