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album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Old 03-11-09, 03:54 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by chris_sc77 View Post
SO yeah if I hap my way every album would run at least 75 minutes. Even if the album only lasts 40 minutes after the album ends they can put the "b-sides" or whatever the hell they wanna call them after the album "tracks" end. I hate nothing more than a CD with room still on it for more music.
Why does this not surprise me?

Perhaps all albums would be better if they also had content that required a parental advisory sticker?
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Old 03-11-09, 04:08 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by starseed1981 View Post
I actually completely disagree. It is a producers job to say, "listen guys...this doesn't fit, its a great track but it doesn't fit." For example, if you like Coldplay there are some tracks on the "Prospekts March EP" that are much catchier than the ones on the "Viva La Vida" album. But Brian Eno gave the thumbs down cause they just didn't fit. Rick Rubin & Brendan O'Brien are also very notorious with this practice.
great example. Eno, Rubin and O'Brien are three of the best producers around for that reason IMO, they treat albums as ALBUMS, not "collections of songs".

I loved Viva La Vida and thought it was a perfect concise 50 minute album that didn't overstay it's welcome, but also loved the stuff on Prospekt's March, namely "Glass Of Water". I think what they did was smart, they released the album that flowed, and then released some bonus tracks separately. I think had those songs been added to the album, it likely would've run too long, and like with Radiohead, you can only listen to 45-50 minutes of Coldplay at a time
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Old 03-11-09, 04:11 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by The Bus View Post
Your first point illustrates the problem. If an album is an hour long and has what many people consider indispensable songs, it's considered one of the best of all time.
plus there's a vast difference IMO. Exile On Main Street was an epic 2-record set, The Stones knew what they were doing on there and the album had a perfect flow and it running over an hour was "special". On the other hand... Voodoo Lounge, Bridges To Babylon and A Bigger Bang all ran over an hour because The Stones can do whatever the hell they want and there aren't space limitations anymore, and all three of those albums would've been better if they were cut to 45-50 minutes.
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Old 03-11-09, 04:14 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by chris_sc77 View Post
I think its possible to have quantity AND quality. My favorite Tor Amos album is the Extended edition of Little Earthquakes. it came out at a time when most pop/rock albums were 10-12 songs and 35-45 minutes in length. Because of that my favorite song off the album was cut (Take to the Sky {Russia}) . If it came out now I'm sure Russia would indeed make the cut.
Some artists (MOst are favorites of mine) like TOri Amos, Peter Gabriel, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins are capable of putting both quantity and quality on a record. I dont think Ive ever heard a perfect record. SO even most of my favorite albums of all time have at least one or two "filler" tracks. I am still more than happy they were included on the album. A weak song on an album is still a weak song that I own instead of something not on the album and I wasnt even given a chance to like.
SO yeah if I hap my way every album would run at least 75 minutes. Even if the album only lasts 40 minutes after the album ends they can put the "b-sides" or whatever the hell they wanna call them after the album "tracks" end. I hate nothing more than a CD with room still on it for more music.

well, you were the one who initially got on me for saying that I'd rather a perfect album that doesn't run it's welcome. But can you honestly listen to "The Beekeeper" from start to finish? Most Tori fans I know say it feels like a ten hour record because it's so tedious and goes too long with too many fillers. Whereas the album might be regarded better had it run Little Earthquakes' length. Albums should be treated as albums, not random collections of songs. Many of the best albums of all time run between 35-60 minutes and part of the reason they're so good is because they end at the right moment and don't drag past their welcome with some inferior material.

I think you mistake length for quality, much like thinking if a movie runs three hours it has to be an epic. There ARE some good long albums. But for every Songs In The Key Of Life (which was 2 albums plus a bonus EP), there's several The Fragile's and The Beekeeper's out there that would've been so much better had the label made them pick the best 12-14 tracks.
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Old 03-11-09, 05:16 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by atlantamoi View Post
Yeah, that's probably true, but an album I was thinking of as long and consistently great is The Clash "London Calling". But even that recording takes a teensy drop near the end. Ending with "Train In Vain" is not a normal way to close out a long record, though.
i had to agree with you on this 'cause even if i consider 'london calling' one of the best double albums, usually i stop it on "lover's rock" (which originally opened side 4 on the vinyl). for some reason, i feel the record loses some steam after "the card cheat". this happens to me time and time again, i'd stop from listening all the way through at that point. nowadays i tend to listen to it in shuffle mode and i can hear it completely like that.
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Old 03-11-09, 05:28 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

I'm happier with quality over quantity. On the other hand, a track that gets cut and ends up on a single somewhere sometimes ends up being a great song. It would have been nice to have that song on the album.
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Old 03-11-09, 05:34 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

There are two kinds of albums. Albums that are a collection of individual songs, and albums that flow together as a larger work. Sometimes those songs that end up being a single or a b-side were cut because they didn't fit the flow. If it's just a collection of tracks, then sure, throw on another song if it's good.
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Old 03-12-09, 09:46 AM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by mndtrp View Post
I'm happier with quality over quantity. On the other hand, a track that gets cut and ends up on a single somewhere sometimes ends up being a great song. It would have been nice to have that song on the album.
i.e, Dubstar - 'I Lost A Friend'

or even in the very rare instance, a single comes out but the album never comes:

Straw - 'Sailing Off the Edge of the World'
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Old 03-12-09, 10:51 AM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

I'm a big fan of the all killer no filler 45 minute album myself.

But hey if you can pull off a 68 minute album that's great all the way through like Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation then I'm down with that too. But for every 60-70 minute album that works, there's 20 that don't so it's usually a losing proposition.

I can't think of single two CD set that runs over 100 minutes that wouldn't have been better as a single disc. The Fragile, Mellon Collie, Use Your Illusion I and II, they all have tons of filler.
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Old 03-12-09, 11:02 AM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

I'm a Rush fan so I am spoiled, I expect a 75 minute gem every album!
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Old 03-12-09, 11:44 AM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Since the whole concept of "Album Sides" has long since gone bye-bye, many albums have taken that bipolar mindset and do the double-album thing. Ben Harper's "Both Sides of the Gun" or Ani DiFranco's "Revelling/Reckoning" do this, with one album being the "harder"/"rockin'" material and the other being "folksy/unplugged/retrospective". I'm not sure if I like this approach. Knowing how to construct an album, to lead from one song directly into another, to balance the emotional content of one cut into the explosive nihilism of another (for example) is an art in and of itself. Putting songs into different "ghettoes" often makes the listening experience a fractured one.

"The Beatles" (White Album) has a double LP with some notable "filler" on it, but then again it works within the context of the album because it's a perfect sculpture of the sum of their parts, a band looking for a direction, distinct musical elments each trying to gain a foothold on their identity at the time and in the process creating something quite remarkable. Yeah, I really don't have to listen to "Revolution No. 9" again anytime soon, but in a lot of ways I'm glad it's on there, and in the context of what the album represents, it totally NEEDS to be there.

That having been said, I don't mind quantity as long as the quality is there. If there's a lot of filler, sure it's gonna affect my view of the album as a whole, but even if there's, say, 12 killers, 8 fillers, I'll just zip on by the boogernoodles to get to the sweet goody-goodie.
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Old 03-12-09, 11:49 AM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
There are some amazing double/long albums, such as Exile On Main St, Sign O' The Times, The Beatles, London Calling, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, etc.
Wow I'm a huge early Genesis fan but I think the second album of TLLDOB is the worst thing they ever did with Peter Gabriel. Mostly instrumental noodling that went nowhere. The first album is amazing stuff but by the time I get to the fourth side, I've had enough of Peter Gabriel's attempts to make a concept when there is no concept. Definitely an album that should have been a single album.
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Old 03-12-09, 02:53 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

I completely disagree. I think the second disc might be better than the first. There's some beautiful stuff on there, including the instrumentals that you consider noodling. To each their own, I guess.
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Old 03-12-09, 03:58 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Physical Graffitti

Or if you want to get technical because 1/4 were Houses of the Holy leftovers, two consecutive killer 60min. triple siders.
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Old 03-12-09, 04:23 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by cungar View Post
Wow I'm a huge early Genesis fan but I think the second album of TLLDOB is the worst thing they ever did with Peter Gabriel. Mostly instrumental noodling that went nowhere. The first album is amazing stuff but by the time I get to the fourth side, I've had enough of Peter Gabriel's attempts to make a concept when there is no concept. Definitely an album that should have been a single album.
No, no, no...I go back to the scond disc far more to listen to thise "noodlings".
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Old 03-12-09, 04:55 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

I think side 3 of The Lamb Lies Down isn't quite as good as the others, but side 4 is incredible.
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Old 03-12-09, 05:06 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
I'm a Rush fan so I am spoiled, I expect a 75 minute gem every album!
Too bad that sometimes instead of a gem, you get a shit sandwich:

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Old 03-12-09, 05:44 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Don't forget that 2112 and Moving Pictures are products from the vinyl era and both top out at 40 minutes. Those two albums are classics and will continue to sell for decades to come whereas the 70 minute opuses they do seem to only appeal to the hardcore fans only.
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Old 03-12-09, 06:00 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by panchor View Post
The best Black Sabbath, Metallica, Van Halen, Deep Purple, Ramones, etc. albums has 10 or less songs.
Ramones, Leave Home, and Rocket To Russia each have 14 tracks.

I mean, we all agree those are the best Ramones albums, don't we?
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Old 03-12-09, 06:20 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
Physical Graffitti

Or if you want to get technical because 1/4 were Houses of the Holy leftovers, two consecutive killer 60min. triple siders.
Gotta disagree on this one. I think Physical Graffiti is an overrated album that doesn't hit the heights of its two predecessors.
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Old 03-12-09, 06:59 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by nothingfails View Post
the 70 minute opuses they do seem to only appeal to the hardcore fans only.
Vapor Trails is the album that got me into Rush. As great as all of their albums are, VT and 2112 will probably always be my favourite albums.
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Old 03-12-09, 07:12 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
Gotta disagree on this one. I think Physical Graffiti is an overrated album that doesn't hit the heights of its two predecessors.
although i'll give you that is certainly no zoso or houses of the holy, and it's been a while since i've listened to it all the way through, i appreciate what zeppelin whas trying to do with graffiti. similar in a way to the white album, it feels like they had all this material that didn't fit the conceptual format of their previous records, so they left it out, but in itself was good enough to just let it go to waste. but i'm really glad they put it all out 'cause grafitti i think shows you all sides of what zeppelin was capable of, and i'll say it wasn't just a situation of throwing filler just to make a double album, most of those songs are very strong in themselves, it's just that they veer stylistically much more so from each other than on previous records.
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Old 03-12-09, 07:41 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
Ramones, Leave Home, and Rocket To Russia each have 14 tracks.

I mean, we all agree those are the best Ramones albums, don't we?
Add Too Tough To Die in there and I'm with you.
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Old 03-12-09, 08:57 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

aren't most classic 70's 2-record sets always debatable? For instance, I know a lot of people who think Songs In The Key Of Life is Stevie Wonder's magnum opus, but I know plenty of people who think that it's bloated and therefore the weakest of his 70's masterpieces. Same with Exile On Main Street, some people say it's the album The Stones will be remembered for eternity by, and many others who think the album was infinately weaker and unfocused after Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers one after the other.
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Old 03-12-09, 09:53 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by nothingfails View Post
For instance, I know a lot of people who think Songs In The Key Of Life is Stevie Wonder's magnum opus...
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