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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Long albums ruin music

A+microphone+and+a+set+of+headphones+hang+among+recording+equipment+in+the+Northern+Star%E2%80%99s+recording+studio.+Opinion+Columnist+Kahlil+Kambui+believes+shorter+albums+are+more+meaningful.+%28Joey+Trella+%7C+Northern+Star%29
Joey Trella
A microphone and a set of headphones hang among recording equipment in the Northern Star’s recording studio. Opinion Columnist Kahlil Kambui believes shorter albums are more meaningful. (Joey Trella | Northern Star)

Albums are getting too long. Some of the top albums of 2023 from artists such as Drake, Taylor Swift and Morgan Wallen all total well over an hour long. There is no need for an album to have that many songs.

Too many songs on an album can make it feel bloated with more room for error and mediocracy. The perfect length for an album seems like 40 minutes to 50 minutes. Any longer and it starts to feel more like a musical than an album. 

Avi Schmookler, a junior computer science major, believes long albums are great as long as songs have the substance to keep the album together. 

“If the quality of the album, like, requires the hour-long of it, then having a longer hour-long album is really nice,” Schmookler said. “But if it’s, like, weak songs, just like kind of mashed together, and it just happens to be an hour long then the album kind of sucks.” 

Hour-plus albums can be good, but it seems the majority of artists who make longer records don’t take the time to make sure every song is just as good. Instead, they just mash songs together.  

Addis Davis, a junior visual communication major, thinks long albums are only good if each song follows a theme or develops a story.

“I think they’re good,” Davis said. “It only happens if the artist has, like, a plan for the whole album, despite somebody who’s just putting a bunch of songs on an album to make it. It all depends on the quality of the music.” 

A good example of a long album is Paramore’s self-titled 2013 album. It’s a great work of music that has 17 songs and is an hour and three minutes long. Even though it is over an hour, all the tracks are amazing and don’t feel tiring or randomly thrown together.  

“I prefer longer. I feel like it has more variation,” said Jacqueline Tovar, a sophomore and nursing major.

It is true that long albums can have a lot of variety from song to song, but albums  can lose focus and vision when they’re too long, causing them to feel all over the place.  

Kelara Brown, a sophomore and psychology major, is not a fan of long albums. 

“You can feel the artist more. What the f– am I gonna get out of a 30-second song,” Brown said. 

When musicians create long albums it often feels they’re trying to appease the masses with 20-plus track albums that aren’t really that good.

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