What Music Albums Tend to Lack

By: James Revels III

There is something I’ve noticed when I was young and reminded about recently while listening to music albums. I have this nagging feeling that most albums, especially mainstream albums, tend to lack a sense of unity and cohesion. I understand that music isn’t like a film or video game where you need an overarching plot, characters etc. What I don’t understand is why there aren’t very many album that have a central concept. We even have a separate term for albums with central themes called “concept albums.” Why is this? My answer is that it’s the current way the music industry is set up. (No conspiracies I promise)

Currently, the market is a “single-based” system in which a couple of singles from an upcoming album play on the radio (if anyone still listens to that) to get everyone hyped up for the album. This is fine, except sometimes the single takes up so much of the artist/labels time and effort that the rest of the album sounds like a watered down version of the single or a random mess. Not to mention the dissonance is compounded by the fact most songs are written by teams of people,sometimes different for each song.

I don’t think all music need to be cohesive and have a main theme, but I think musicians as a whole are missing out on giving listeners a more memorable and enjoyable experience by tending to ignore the design principle of unity when crafting their albums.

What do you think? Am I right or am I just talking BS? Leave your comment below.

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7 thoughts on “What Music Albums Tend to Lack

  1. I agree, which is why I buy most of my music through iTunes so I am not paying for the rest of an album that isn’t nearly as good as the one or two singles that are. I’m happy I can stop wasting money buying song I don’t like!

      1. That is true but sometimes I think a recording artist knowingly fills in the rest of an album with substandard work, If it is a really good artist, all the songs are worth buying. I always listen to all the songs first to see if they are something I want but I was going to say I try on shoes and don’t buy ones I don’t like but maybe it is different with artists work? I don’t know.

      2. I think its more the label execs than the artists, unless the artist owns the label a signed artist usually has to get the seal of approval from the label. Sometimes artist have to record songs at labels request since most signed artist dont own the right to thier music

      3. I see, I don’t know much about the recording business, obviously. but it is always good to learn something new. :) thank you.

      4. You’re welcome. Its surprisingly like that in most creative industry, where the corporation own the rights to intellectual property in return for distribution. Books, video games, movies, etc

      5. I used to buy used books until I began writing and realized how difficult it is. I feel bad for authors who get nothing for the reselling of their work so now I only buy new books to make sure the people who do the work will actually get something for it!

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