Albums keep going downhill

By Peter Boskey

What happened to the album?

Sure, you hear modern groups and artists talking about how they released their new albums and that everyone should pick them up. I ask them a simple question: Why?

I have many reasons to defend my hatred toward the modern album. My first argument is simple: It sucks.

-Think about it. All a standard album is nowadays is one or two singles that are good radio-play songs. Then the bands take all these other garbage songs having the same sound as the good ones and add them. I like to call these “fillers,” and there usually are eight to 12 of these. Now, why is someone in his right mind going to pay $15 to $20 for an album like that? I laugh at the fact that the music industry wonders why music-trading Web sites were developed. My answer is because I, along with millions of other people, am not going to pay that amount for two singles and a load of crap.

Being an avid fan of hip-hop also brings attention to another big problem with the modern album: those stupid interludes.They need to go. I might as well say I haven’t bought any new hip-hop albums because of this.

Almost every recent hip-hop album I have heard has had multiple interludes, and one usually involves someone being murdered. I don’t know when listening to people plan murders, violently beat people or tell ridiculously lame jokes became a staple to the hip-hop album. I also would love to mention how hip-hop lyrics have gone downhill, but I’ll save that for another article. I’ll stick to listening to The Roots, Mos Def and Common.

Most modern albums aren’t albums, but instead, they are collections of songs. This may sound stupid, but it makes perfect sense. Think of albums from the late ’60s, early ’70s. Artists did not make random songs, throw them together and call it an album. Instead, they wrote the songs to ultimately become an album. The songs all together eventually carry the listener through a story or a certain change of moods.

Not a big fan of that era? Fine. Listen to modern groups like Radiohead, System of a Down or The Roots. These are groups that are serious about making an “album” and not about making “hits” like so many others.

I shouldn’t fret, though. There still are artists who release good albums, such as the ones I’ve mentioned. However, other “artists” release “hits” that obviously make the music industry more money than any good album could. To explain that, we would have to look at how society has changed, and that isn’t my field.