The Whole Album…

…or at least a complete side.

That’s how you listen to music when you are listening on a turntable.

I’ve always loved putting on an album, laying on the floor, and listening to the whole thing. When you are listening to a nice vinyl LP you tend to listen to the whole side, because changing songs is a pain in the ass.

You can do that with a CD too, but the remote makes it real tempting to skip songs.

And of course, iPods and other mp3 players make listening to an entire album more unlikely. Too easy to hit the skip button. Hell, you may not even listen to an entire song. You don’t have to worry about scratching the album, or even the CD. The mp3 file is the new patron saint of the short attention span.

The problem with this is that sometimes the better songs, the ones with staying power, take time to grow on you. I think the best songs challenge you a bit. They don’t want to be your immediate new best friend. They want to spend some time with you, before you use and degrade them.

This weekend I’ve been listening to a lot of my old albums on vinyl. I’ve finally listened to the Big Boys reissue I ordered a couple of months ago. Today I went to an actual record store, with actual real physical records (Good Records) and picked up two authentic physical LPs – Fugazi’s 1993 “In on the Kill Taker” and Dinosaur Jr’s “Bug”.

Both sound fantastic, but what’s even better is I’ve heard the entirety of both albums. The Fugazi album came with a code for a free download of the mp3 from Dischord’s website, so it’s nice and easy to get it on my iPod. I wish the Dinosaur Jr. LP did the same thing. But having it on the LP is fine. I can deal.

You owe it to yourself to listen to the whole album from time to time. And if the album is good, you’re morally obligated to do so.

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