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album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Old 03-12-09, 10:05 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

I think it is too, although Innervisions comes close. Stevie was so brilliant in 1976 that even 21 songs wasn't quite enough
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Old 03-13-09, 02:17 AM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

I vote for quality over quantity.

One of the best things about the iPod is that you can separate the bonus tracks from the album.
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Old 03-13-09, 02:34 AM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by Gerry P. View Post
I vote for quality over quantity.

One of the best things about the iPod is that you can separate the bonus tracks from the album.
I agree, I have always separated the bonus tracks into their own separate album on ipod
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Old 03-13-09, 03:24 AM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

I mix in the bonus tracks between albums, where they fit chronologically. For example, a single that was never on an album gets put in the playlist between the two albums it was originally released between.
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Old 03-13-09, 11:11 AM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

The only problem with the 'no-filler' argument is it implies everyone is on the same page about which tracks and keepers and which are filler. Take Use Your Illusion, for instance. Many have argued it would have been better off as a one-disc with all the best cuts, but in every thread I've read on the topic nobody can agree on what those best tracks are. Sometimes one person's most hated track is someone else's favorite.

Obviously in cases where the artist is simply churning out junk to pad the runtime, leaner is better. Or in cases where the track feels tacked on, completely out of place with the rest of the album and ruining the cohesion, that track should be left off. But in many cases quality is not as obvious and unanimous, and in those cases I'd rather be able to sample it all and make my own decision about which tracks are keepers.
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Old 03-13-09, 11:52 AM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by DRG View Post
The only problem with the 'no-filler' argument is it implies everyone is on the same page about which tracks and keepers and which are filler. Take Use Your Illusion, for instance. Many have argued it would have been better off as a one-disc with all the best cuts, but in every thread I've read on the topic nobody can agree on what those best tracks are. Sometimes one person's most hated track is someone else's favorite.
The same is true of Bruce Springsteen's Human Touch and Lucky Town (which was basically a two CD set with both CDs sold separately ).

Scattered between the two albums, there was one excellent CD. I went so far as to create a playlist of songs from both albums that I think would have made a much better album.
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Old 03-13-09, 01:27 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Every album should be either 45 minutes or less.
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Old 03-13-09, 01:46 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Completely unrelated: Do you know what I hate? Adding a b-side or remix after the final track on the album. Talk about killing the album experience.
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Old 03-13-09, 02:50 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by DRG View Post
The only problem with the 'no-filler' argument is it implies everyone is on the same page about which tracks and keepers and which are filler. Take Use Your Illusion, for instance. Many have argued it would have been better off as a one-disc with all the best cuts, but in every thread I've read on the topic nobody can agree on what those best tracks are. Sometimes one person's most hated track is someone else's favorite.

Obviously in cases where the artist is simply churning out junk to pad the runtime, leaner is better. Or in cases where the track feels tacked on, completely out of place with the rest of the album and ruining the cohesion, that track should be left off. But in many cases quality is not as obvious and unanimous, and in those cases I'd rather be able to sample it all and make my own decision about which tracks are keepers.
I think one sign that an album has "filler" or not is usually by a general consensus of what the weakest songs off an album are. To use Madonna as a good example. Like A Prayer is generally regarded as her magnum opus amongst fans, or at least one of her absolute best. Take the brief outerlude Act Of Contrition out (which was mainly meant to be an outro to the album, not a song) and ask fans what the worst song off the album is, and you'll never find a general consensus. Whereas take Hard Candy, one of her weakest albums and you ask people the same question, and you'll hear a lot of people saying either Spanish Lesson or Incredible.

I think it's like this for a lot of albums, the "all killer no filler" type of albums almost never have people in general agreement what the weakest track is.
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Old 03-13-09, 02:54 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by Robot Rock View Post
Every album should be either 45 minutes or less.
I feel the same way. I know some people feel like a CD should be filled to the max, but I think that a band to churn out a good 45-50 minute album is better. In the days where vinyl was the standard (yea I know vinyl's still around and I still buy current stuff on vinyl, but I mean where you could find them at grocery stores), bands had space limitations, so only the best of the best would make the album. The space limitation went from 45-50 minutes to 75-80 minutes when CD replaced vinyl and people didn't always look at the additional 30 minutes in the sense that it's like recording a double-record set, they just started allowing more and more mediocre material to creep in.

So I agree with you, unless you intend on an ambitious 2-record type set, they should aim for great 45 minute albums (with 10-15 minutes give or take on either side)
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Old 03-13-09, 03:48 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

I'm probably in the extreme minority but I would prefer an 80 minute album be split onto two discs. IMO, if you have 80 minutes worth of music, you created a double album.
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Old 03-13-09, 05:53 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by auto View Post
I'm probably in the extreme minority but I would prefer an 80 minute album be split onto two discs. IMO, if you have 80 minutes worth of music, you created a double album.
But a single CD can accommodate 80 minutes worth of audio. Why break it up into two CDs, unless you want to hose the customer with a higher retail price?
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Old 03-13-09, 06:08 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!
I see your Rush and raise you a Dream Theater.

I think it largely depends on the genre. A magnum prog opus weighing in at 75 minutes? Hell yes. 75 minutes of the Offspring? Not so much.

Personally, there is no such thing as filler, IMO. One man's filler is another man's treasure. Plus a band that is tasked with filling an album is more likely to experiment and expand their sound and grow as artists. Not to mention that track you condemned as filler on release week you might rediscover and love a year down the road realizing there was more to it than you thought.
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Old 03-13-09, 06:22 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

The worst (somewhat related) is when a Best Of or a Live CD runs under 60 minutes, when obviously there is no cost involved to bring the time up to the full 80 minutes.
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Old 03-13-09, 06:38 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.
Actually only 8 of the 15 tracks were recorded during the "Graffiti" sessions. The other tracks were recorded between 1970 and 1972, and are leftovers from III, IV and "Houses of the Holy"

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.
I agree with you. It feels to me like the patchwork album that it is, with some standout tracks and a good amount of filler and is a bit of a let down after the previous albums.
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Old 03-13-09, 06:41 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

"Reign in Blood" was the first album I thought of when I saw this thread. 10 songs running 26 minutes. A swift, surgically precise attack on the senses, it's the perfect metal album.
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Old 03-13-09, 06:43 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by PerryD View Post
The worst (somewhat related) is when a Best Of or a Live CD runs under 60 minutes, when obviously there is no cost involved to bring the time up to the full 80 minutes.
Ah, but what if the band (or artist) in question does not truly have enough quality material for the full 80 minutes of a "best of" release? What if all their hits and/or really great non-singles only ended up being an hours worth of songs? Would you really want them to make their compilation not as good as it could be with the shorter running time by padding it out with 3 or 4 more tracks that really are not "the best of" their catalog?
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Old 03-13-09, 06:48 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

got an idiot question, can anyone post only the songs that were recorded during the physical graffiti sessions. it be an interesting expirirament to see how that album would play with just those 8 songs.
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Old 03-13-09, 06:57 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by Rypro 525 View Post
got an idiot question, can anyone post only the songs that were recorded during the physical graffiti sessions. it be an interesting expirirament to see how that album would play with just those 8 songs.
"Custard Pie"
"In My Time of Dying"
"Trampled Underfoot"
"Kashmir"
"In the Light"
"Ten Years Gone"
"The Wanton Song"
"Sick Again"

I've always wondered the same thing myself, but never tried it. To be honest though, it's not exactly the strongest set of Zep songs compared to their other albums.
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Old 03-13-09, 07:39 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by Matt Millheiser View Post
But a single CD can accommodate 80 minutes worth of audio. Why break it up into two CDs, unless you want to hose the customer with a higher retail price?
I think you're missing the point. An album is intended to be an experience not a lesson in efficiency. A double album is intended to have two opening tracks and two closing tracks (actually 4 with vinyl). A lot of albums are sequenced in order to take advantage of this.

As for the price, it cost pennies to press a CD. Pressing two doesn't significantly alter the production costs (maybe a few cents more for the double jewel cases). It still pisses me off to see Best Buy charging $29.99 for The Beatles ($34.98 list!!).
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Old 03-14-09, 10:15 AM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by auto View Post
I think you're missing the point. An album is intended to be an experience not a lesson in efficiency. A double album is intended to have two opening tracks and two closing tracks (actually 4 with vinyl). A lot of albums are sequenced in order to take advantage of this.
Not all albums are "experiences", and shouldn't be presented as such. The days of getting up to flip record sides are dead. I understand about two opening and two closing tracks, as well as the art of structuring how your music is presented, but the concept of the "album side" is long since dead and buried. Playlists, for lack of a better term, and for better or worse, are monolithic.

As for the price, it cost pennies to press a CD. Pressing two doesn't significantly alter the production costs (maybe a few cents more for the double jewel cases). It still pisses me off to see Best Buy charging $29.99 for The Beatles ($34.98 list!!).
The music industry has been ass-ramming the consumer for decades over the cost of a CD. Should it cost THAT much more for a double CD? Shit no. But the product gets marked up anyhow because they CAN. That's why I don't advocate having a double-CD for having a double-CD's sake, when everything can fit on a single one. It's gouging.

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Old 03-14-09, 10:23 AM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by Matt Millheiser View Post
The music industry has been ass-ramming the consumer for decades over the cost of a CD. Should it cost THAT much more for a double CD? Shit no. But the product gets marked up anyhow because they CAN. That's why I don't advocate having a double-CD for having a double-CD's sake, when everything can fit on a single one. It's gouging.
Very very true. Take for example the recent Cat Stevens "Deluxe" Editions. Even though I only payed less than $5 for each 2-disk Set. I still felt ripped off by how much music I got.
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Old 03-14-09, 06:08 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

I think it's a compromise. To reduce it to absurdity, some bands only have one good song in them. If bands were only allowed to release killer material, no one would ever have heard "Incense and Peppermints."

In a perfect world, every album would be another LedZep IV. But even Led Zepplin couldn't keep that pace, and it leaves no room for bands like Guns N Roses who can occasionally achieve brilliance, but spend most of their time with the needle at "pretty good".
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Old 03-14-09, 06:25 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

regarding Greatest Hits albums, I agree that those should be filled to the brim. They're not meant to be cohesive albums, but collections of the biggest hits. And it's odd seeing a huge hitmaker with a dozen top 10 hits under their belt releasing a 60 minute Best Of when there's almost 20 mins left of more hits they could've added on. Sometimes it seems like artists are cheap at putting every hit on a GH because of fear of cannibalizing catalog sales. Michael Jackson is a great example of this. It took him about four compilations (even a box set included) before "The Essential Michael Jackson" got it right. Before TEMJ, every compilation left at least one or two Thriller or Bad hits off. TEMJ was the first one to have every OTW, Thriller and Bad track, and even then with Dangerous, it left off "Jam" and only one track off HIStory and Invincible (which really only had one hit anyways, but still) a pop.
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Old 03-14-09, 06:56 PM
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Re: album lengths -- quality or quantity?

Originally Posted by Matt Millheiser View Post
Not all albums are "experiences", and shouldn't be presented as such. The days of getting up to flip record sides are dead. I understand about two opening and two closing tracks, as well as the art of structuring how your music is presented, but the concept of the "album side" is long since dead and buried. Playlists, for lack of a better term, and for better or worse, are monolithic.
Not only that, but many double albums (I'm thinking directly of Exile On Main St, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Daydream Nation) play perfectly on one disc. Others (like Sign O' The Times) play better in two sections.
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