It’s not the done thing to listen to an album all the way through these days, but my dad told me that is what people always did. I guess there’s always tracks on most albums that are meant to be skipped. Filler material designed to give you more for your money or to fill the gap between epic songs making them sound even better. Whatever, it means that most albums are now full of these tracks making skipping the norm rather than the exception. The use of YouTube, Spotify and other music services also means that we tend to listen to single tracks on playlists rather than a full album.
However the music I tend to listen to, prog rock, is made to be listened to in its entirety. Some are concept albums where a story is told through the various tracks. Listening to the odd track is fine, but you miss the full impact the artist originally intended. Some of the classic albums would be reduced to just soundbites. While these can stand alone, you don’t get the full force of its place in the greater scheme of things.
So over the next few months, I’m going to do an article on each of what I think are the most complete albums, those which it is an abomination to press or even contemplate pressing the skip buttons. These are albums where you sit in reverence and listen to every note, every drumbeat in awe at the visual imagery that is projected. Albums where it’s hard to see where one track begins and ends, albums that flow as one complete piece of music. Surprisingly, maybe, they range from albums recorded over forty years ago, when I was not even a twinkle in my parents eyes to the last few years. It encompasses classic works by rock bands through to pop albums that are crafted with so much love and care. I have not included any greatest hits albums or indeed live albums as this would be breaking the rules in a way although I maybe will do a post of my favourite live albums later on.
I list below the albums I will be looking at, in no particular order (links will be added when published):
Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
A Night at the Opera – Queen
The Colour in Anything – James Blake
Fear of a Blank Planet – Porcupine Tree
Wind and Wuthering – Genesis
The Unforgiving – Within Temptation
Four Symbols – Led Zeppelin
Lifes a Riot with Spy Vs Spy – Billy Bragg
(What’s The Story) Morning Glory by Oasis
The Race for Space – Public Service Broadcasting
Journey Through the Hidden Garden – Disperse
The Raven Who Refused to Sing (and other stories) – Steve Wilson
Black Holes and Revelations – Muse
Well, Well Well – Milburn