From 45s To Albums To CDs Has Been A Smooth Transition
When I was a younger version of myself, I used to listen to 45s or 45 rpm vinyl records. Better now as singles, one could practically get them anywhere. When I was in my early teens, I made a transition, and I have not really changed how I listen to old or new music, no matter the genre.
The singles were popular probably until about 1985 when compact discs made their way into the market. But before CDs were popular, the record album was king. In some ways I miss the king. I was never a big fan of the cassette tape. I didn’t much like 8-track tapes either. I loved the good old 33 1/3 rpm. In my younger years, LPs (long playing) were a way to just listen. They were a great alternative to the single because one didn’t have to stack them to hear different songs. One could play an album and hear different songs, by the same artist, with only having to move the needle maybe once, when it was time to flip sides.
Singles were great if you just liked a certain song.
But what if you wanted to explore?
Then, the album was the way to go.
I figured if I liked the single, then I should give the whole album a listen. I thought of an album as an investment. I got so many songs for my money. I also received music that I liked. Granted, not every song on an album is good, but for the most part, the songs live up to the band’s reputation. And it may be a debut album from a band that becomes a must-have or a go-to in your record collection. But as I have said, some songs may not be all that good, and there is no reason as to why those “bad” songs make the cut. It’s the sophomore effort by which some bands get judged. Yes the debut screams, but the second album says “hold up, and listen to something else.”
And the singles released for the public may not be the band’s pick, but the record label’s pick. And after the single drops, the labelling starts, and media critics begin to assign a genre to the band, based on a single, when the music from the album goes in a different direction.
If you love to read, you wouldn’t go to a book store and read a random chapter out of a book from an author you admire. You probably buy the book and read it from the beginning. You wouldn’t tell your friends that you just read Chapter 9 from an upcoming book, and expect them to go out and purchase the book based on your recommendation.
It doesn’t work that way.
With a single, though it, does — sometimes.
That’s when you buy the rest of the album and learn more about the band. Read the liner notes and the production notes if available. When I was younger, that’s where a majority of band information would be found or one would have to read a magazine to learn about a band.
Singles are part of a journey to an album.