Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Stole This One From Philbert...

There are only a handful of people in my life that I have met that I can have serious discussions about music with. As Thom G has said, most people only view music as background, not as an important strand of your DNA. Thom G is one, Philbert is one, Hal is becomming one. I can remember spending HOURS and HOURS having listening parties with my pal RUMPROAST pouring over old issues of the NME and discussing the merits of new releases. He still is providing me with endless ideas for this blog in addition to introducing me to wonderful new bands. With Philbert and Thom at work it can get a little dangerous. Once the topic of music comes up it has the potential of eating away at the day. I, like these individuals, think of music as a passion. It's something to immerse yourself in, to study and to discuss. It's what marks the important events in my life. I don't remember much about my short tenure at college, but I sure as hell remember the music!

Anyway, during one such discussion Phil brought up the topic of song sequencing. An important aspect of THE ALBUM that I often forget about, it can make or break a recording the same way that a producer can. Do you have any albums in which you think the sequencing could have been improved upon? An opening song you thought would have fit better in the middle or the end? I know I have a few, but it's going to take more thought before I post. Maybe later.

How about you?

4 comments:

John McClellan said...

E-
thanks for the comments on 4minutesoffame.blogspot.com
Your blog is cool to the 9 th power...I own "small change" by Prism and i will fight anyone in the street that calls me a pussy...I have linked both your blogs to mine. throw me a link if you would like

Uncle E said...

I forgot I had two blogs, John! And anyone who is willing to kill in the name of Prism is "OK" in my book!
I have included a link to your worthy blog. Come back often!

Phil Fountain said...

Thanks for the props, Unc! But, when I glanced through some titles nothing jumped out at me as being poorly sequenced. Probablt because we just get used to hearing them the way they are. We should, however, harken back to the day of the LP for our exercise. Aside from providing a natural break in the sequencing (you had to flip the record over) it added a bit more of a challenge as well as an additional opportunity to start off with a bang. Let's assume the idea of sequencing was to showcase the individual tracks while providing a pleasant listening experience over the course of 2 20-minute sides. Like a musical play, you should shoot for a "grabber" at the beginning, followed by a nice ebb and flow of middle tracks ending with a "finale" that would provide a satisfying climax. You know, like sex.

In the 50's and 60's it was fairly common to lead off side one with the "single" or "hit" that the was probably the primary motivation for buying the album in the first place. As the artform progressed, greater attention to details like sequencing bacame important aspects of the production. Now, with CDs or individual downloads the intent of the artist/producer is circumvented. Everything is a "single" as it ends up on "shuffle" anyway.

For the sake of our discussion, I'm going to take one of my favorite albums that I believe benefited from the "flip side" order in its' aoriginal release. Bob Dylan's 1970 classic "New Morning."

Original tracking had the quasi-hit, "If Not For You" and the first cut. No bad, but I get the feeling it was put in the lead-off spot was because of Heorhe Harrison's involvement. Sinve the title track, "New Morning" sits in the 7 slot on the CD, let's move it to track 1. Now, with the album :New Morning" led off side two, which was clever and effective. But we've got CD's now, so move it to 1.

Here's the original alnums's track listing:

Side One
If Not For You
Day of the Locusts
Time Passes Slowly
Went To See The Gypsy
Winterlude
If Dogs Run Free

Side Two
New Morning
Sign On The Window
One More Weekend
The Man In Me
Three Angels
Father Of Night

My CD listing:

New Morning
Sign On The Window
If Dogs Run Free
If Not For You
One More Weekend
Time Passes Slowly
Father Of Night
Winterlude
The Man In Me
Day Of The Locusts
Went To See The Gypsy
Three Angels

If you have the LP on your iPod, give it a whirl...see what you think.

Phil Fountain said...

Jeez, sorry for the typos...man, I suck.