FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Craving Diversity

by LORENZO WOLFF

Last night I got home from a mini-tour of the southern Midwest. We managed to cover three thousand miles in five days, cramped up in a little red SUV sprinkled with a cross section of the insect population of the United States. In the fifty hour round trip we worked our iPods to the point of exhaustion, spinning first songs, then albums, then whole catalogs. After two hours of Chuck Berry tunes we got to talking about diversity from song to song, and from album to album.

It’s a pretty new phenomenon to want every song to sound different from the last. Before the early sixties albums were a luxury that most people couldn’t afford, folks bought singles or just listened to the radio. This meant that an artist’s new single could sound similar to the last one since they were less likely to be played back to back. Just buy a Greatest Hits from someone like Fats Domino or Little Richard, and even though they are incredible songs and performances you can hear that these songs were not designed to be played in rapid succession off of the stage.

Then around the time of the British Invasion full albums started being made more affordable and the newer rock crowd began amassing collections of LPs. This meant listening to the same voice for a longer period of time, and by necessity songs were forced to distinguish themselves from each other. In rock this meant more ballads. Because of the pressure of radio, the last generation had to put out mostly up-tempo singles, since you can only play so many slow songs on a pop station. The newer crowd, however, could afford to bring down the energy for a song or two, since people were listening to them for a longer period of time.

Nowadays the situation is a little more complicated. While full albums aren’t quite as popular as they used to be, music collections are growing. People tend to have large collections of songs by a single artist instead of collections of albums. So modern artists now not only have to worry about two songs sounding similar on a given album, they have to think about their whole anthology. Your average listener could build a playlist with a song from Darkness on the Edge of Town right next to a track from The Rising.

When you get down to the heart of the matter it’s a question of control. At first, artists could control what single they wanted their audience to hear at a certain moment of time. Later the LP meant control of a greater amount of time, but it came with certain limitations as far as the relation of the tracks to each other. Now you can listen to an entire discography in any order you see fit. This means you have an entire career to get your ideas across, but you have a much greater responsibility for how you do it. It’s like the Boss says:

Nothing is forgotten or forgiven,
When it’s your last time around,
I got stuff running around ‘round my head
That I just can’t live down

LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: lorenzowolff@gmail.com

More articles by:

LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: lorenzowolff@gmail.com

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 28, 2017
Diana Johnstone
Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself
Jordon Kraemer
The Cultural Anxiety of the White Middle Class
Vijay Prashad
Modi and Trump: When the Titans of Hate Politics Meet
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Efforts to Hide Palestinians From View No Longer Fools Young American Jews
Ron Jacobs
Gonna’ Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to War
Jim Lobe – Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio
Is Trump Blundering Into the Next Middle East War?
Radical Washtenaw
David Ware, Killed By Police: a Vindication
John W. Whitehead
The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear
Robert Mejia, Kay Beckermann and Curtis Sullivan
The Racial Politics of the Left’s Political Nostalgia
Tom H. Hastings
Courting Each Other
Winslow Myers
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind”
Leonard Peltier
The Struggle is Never for Nothing
Jonathan Latham
Illegal GE Bacteria Detected in an Animal Feed Supplement
Deborah James
State of Play in the WTO: Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina
Andrew Stewart
Health Care for All: Why I Occupied Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s Office
Binoy Kampmark
The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition
Jesse Jackson
A Savage Health Care Bill
Jimmy Centeno
Cats and Meows in L.A.
June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail