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Album Track Order

Old 07-05-14, 11:35 AM
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Album Track Order

Lately I've been revisiting some of Prince's first albums, and I've noticed how much in perfect order his songs are. Not only that, he also made sure that each album side had about the same amount of running time.
I changed a few tracks in a specific order I thought might work but no dice. It just sounded "out of context" plus the running time for each side would differ too much.

Do you have a favorite artist/album you could easily change track order without 'disrupting the flow'?
Old 07-06-14, 03:32 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

Regarding running time, that was common due to the size constraints of vinyl and cassette tapes.
Old 07-08-14, 01:15 PM
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Re: Album Track Order



Why do I gotta listen to the songs in the order THEY pick? Fuck that. I wanna listen to the songs in the order I wanna hear 'em.

Old 07-08-14, 01:23 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
Regarding running time, that was common due to the size constraints of vinyl and cassette tapes.
22 minutes per side was about right.
Old 07-08-14, 02:10 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

Originally Posted by hbilly View Post
Lately I've been revisiting some of Prince's first albums, and I've noticed how much in perfect order his songs are. Not only that, he also made sure that each album side had about the same amount of running time.
I changed a few tracks in a specific order I thought might work but no dice. It just sounded "out of context" plus the running time for each side would differ too much.

Do you have a favorite artist/album you could easily change track order without 'disrupting the flow'?
What you're hearing is the lost art of the "album". It's pretty much gone from pop music now. Any great album should really make you feel the way you do about the track order. It's why I don't like most "Greatest Hits" albums.

Thankfully there are many non-mainstream artists who still create full albums of music, and not a few singles strung together with filler tracks.
Old 07-08-14, 03:23 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

The album side is definitely a lost art form. With few exceptions, a side had a defined beginning, middle, end. After flipping the disc, instead of continuing, you had a new beginning. You could listen to just one side and feel like you'd heard a complete piece.
Old 07-08-14, 03:27 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

No point in working hard on album order and concept when people just buy singles anyway.
Old 07-08-14, 03:44 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

Originally Posted by bunkaroo View Post
What you're hearing is the lost art of the "album". It's pretty much gone from pop music now. Any great album should really make you feel the way you do about the track order. It's why I don't like most "Greatest Hits" albums.

Thankfully there are many non-mainstream artists who still create full albums of music, and not a few singles strung together with filler tracks.
It's interesting, because the term "album" was originally to refer to a book that was literally an album holding several 78 singles. Even when the 33⅓ rpm LP came out, it was originally mostly for classical pieces, with pop music largely driven by singles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Album
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Album_Era


Originally Posted by hbilly View Post
I changed a few tracks in a specific order I thought might work but no dice. It just sounded "out of context" plus the running time for each side would differ too much.
Some of that may be up to the careful arrangement, but it could also partly be due to you simply being used to hearing songs in the original album arrangement. Sometimes albums have seen alternate arrangements when released in different countries and such.


XTC's album Skylarking was reissued with a new tracklisting when the b-side Dear God got play on US radio. They pulled the track Mermaid Smiled and put Dear God in its place, even mixing the intro and outros with the surrounding tracks to get it to feel in place. Mermaid Smiled became relegated to a later b-sides and rarities compilation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylarking#Track_listing


The Beatles ended up having a lot of their early work collected as completely different albums in the UK and US. Even when the albums had the same name, there'd be differences in track listing; it wasn't until Revolver that The Beatles releases in the UK and US had all the same tracks.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatles#Discography


I've read of people sometimes rearranging albums, occasionally digging into the b-sides to singles from the album, since it's often assumed that the b-sides were songs recorded for but left off the final album. Sometimes they'll just extend the album with the b-sides, other times they'll excise former album tracks in favor of the b-sides.


CD/MP3 bonus tracks also often mess with the track listing. Typically they're just tacked onto the end, so an aware listener may be able to distinguish between the "proper" album end and the start of the bonus tracks. However, I remember the original XTC CD releases by Virgin for their first 8 albums put the bonus tracks (which were originally b-sides to the various singles) between the end of side A and the beginning of side B, making for a very different album experience.

Last edited by Jay G.; 07-08-14 at 04:35 PM.
Old 07-08-14, 04:14 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

One album I can really remember vastly different track orders for was the UK vs US versions of The Clash. They're practically different albums, just with the same cover. And I'm realizing it's not in my collection (at least not on vinyl). Gonna have to fix that.
Old 07-08-14, 04:18 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

An interesting note about track ordering from the vinyl era: the frequency response is different at the outer edge of the record than it is closer to the center, because the needle is moving faster there (going a farther distance at the same speed). As a result, sometimes the primary frequency content of a song determined whether it would be placed near the end of a record side or not.
Old 07-08-14, 04:46 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

Originally Posted by kefrank View Post
An interesting note about track ordering from the vinyl era: the frequency response is different at the outer edge of the record than it is closer to the center, because the needle is moving faster there (going a farther distance at the same speed). As a result, sometimes the primary frequency content of a song determined whether it would be placed near the end of a record side or not.
This is interesting, I searched and found an article about this with an example:
http://performermag.com/tips-on-vinyl-track-sequencing/
After you decide which tracks are going to be placed on each side, it’s recommended that you put “hotter” songs, or tracks with more frequency information, at the beginning of each side. That way, mellower songs, or tracks with less frequency information, can be placed at the end of the side. With less room for musical information, packing the end of each side with blistering tracks will all but ensure you end up with noticeable inner groove distortion, even on good playback systems. For an example of a well-sequenced album, look no further than The Replacements’ Tim. Side A kicks off with the rocking “Hold My Life” and ends with the more subdued “Swingin’ Party.” Side B opens with glorious slop-rock of “Bastards of Young” and closes with the acoustic “Here Comes a Regular.”
Old 07-08-14, 06:42 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

I remember Peter Gabriel re-ordered some of the tracks on So when it was remastered on CD because he was no longer bound by the frequency restrictions on each side of vinyl.
Old 07-08-14, 07:42 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
I remember Peter Gabriel re-ordered some of the tracks on So when it was remastered on CD because he was no longer bound by the frequency restrictions on each side of vinyl.
It was apparently just to move "In Your Eyes" to the end of the album, which it couldn't be on vinyl due to the bass line:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/So_(alb...tes_and_legacy
Old 07-08-14, 08:06 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

Back to the OP....Once I start listening to "Sign O' the Times"...I have to let it play all the way. I think it's one of the best flowing albums ever.
Old 07-09-14, 02:37 AM
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Re: Album Track Order

Originally Posted by bunkaroo View Post
It's why I don't like most "Greatest Hits" albums.
I see your point but have you ever heard Billy Joel's GH Vol 1 & 2? Even though a greatest hits album, it's like a regular album of it's own with a perfect track listing. I used to listen to this album non stop when I was a kid. Now,even though I havent listened to that album in many years, whenever I listen to a song on his studio album that was on the GH album, I'll expect to hear the track thats next on the GH album (if that makes any sense).
Old 07-09-14, 09:46 AM
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Re: Album Track Order

Originally Posted by tommyp007 View Post
Back to the OP....Once I start listening to "Sign O' the Times"...I have to let it play all the way. I think it's one of the best flowing albums ever.
Then there's always Lovesexy, which, on CD, was released as just one long track, pretty much preventing you from rearranging anything, or even just skipping a song. Prince wants you to listen to EVERYTHING, IN THAT ORDER, and that's all there is to it.
Old 07-09-14, 09:52 AM
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Re: Album Track Order

Have to say I was never aware of the sonic limitations of vinyl - makes me wonder why so many tout it as a superior sounding format if it can't even reproduce certain frequencies properly all the time.
Old 07-09-14, 11:23 AM
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Re: Album Track Order

Originally Posted by The Infidel View Post
Then there's always Lovesexy, which, on CD, was released as just one long track, pretty much preventing you from rearranging anything, or even just skipping a song. Prince wants you to listen to EVERYTHING, IN THAT ORDER, and that's all there is to it.
I bought Lovesexy as an mp3 album, and it's still presented as one long track:
http://www.amazon.com/Lovesexy-Expli...dp/B002C7GBQG/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/lovesexy/id219202920

I used an mp3 cutter to split the album into tracks.

Originally Posted by bunkaroo View Post
Have to say I was never aware of the sonic limitations of vinyl - makes me wonder why so many tout it as a superior sounding format if it can't even reproduce certain frequencies properly all the time.
That's a whole can of worms. If you want to open it, you could start at this link:
http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php...=Myths_(Vinyl)
Old 07-09-14, 05:11 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

I ordered the UK version of Lovesexy from Amazon.uk a few years ago. It has separated tracks.
Old 07-09-14, 05:20 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

Originally Posted by JZ1276 View Post
I see your point but have you ever heard Billy Joel's GH Vol 1 & 2? Even though a greatest hits album, it's like a regular album of it's own with a perfect track listing. I used to listen to this album non stop when I was a kid. Now,even though I havent listened to that album in many years, whenever I listen to a song on his studio album that was on the GH album, I'll expect to hear the track thats next on the GH album (if that makes any sense).
Just as long as you don't say the same about the "Red" and "Blue" albums.
Old 07-09-14, 07:32 PM
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Re: Album Track Order

Personally, I don't think I could switch any albums around for a better flow.

That being said, Bob Dylan's Desire probably has the best flow of anything I've ever heard. In the last few months, it's really shifted to one of my all-time favorite albums with every song being a total knockout...but hearing them in order as they were intended is something else.
Old 07-09-14, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by JZ1276 View Post
I see your point but have you ever heard Billy Joel's GH Vol 1 & 2? Even though a greatest hits album, it's like a regular album of it's own with a perfect track listing. I used to listen to this album non stop when I was a kid. Now,even though I havent listened to that album in many years, whenever I listen to a song on his studio album that was on the GH album, I'll expect to hear the track thats next on the GH album (if that makes any sense).
That's why I said "most" - there are definitely exceptions. I've always felt the original Journey's Greatest Hits was a great album.

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