Say you’re going to start streaming “Stranger Things,” but you decide to start on episode three of season two. The episode is entertaining, but you have no idea what is going on. You’re lacking context.
You haven’t seen the full body of work if you’ve only seen one episode. It’s a different experience entirely to read a whole book rather than read only one chapter of that book. What you would derive is a glimpse of the theme, just a handful of the author’s story.
This same ideology should be applied to the way you listen to music. An artist has a concept, theme or message in mind when creating the work that can only be fulfilled through a selection of songs, each acting as a chapter would in a novel.
A song is only a part of the story, a word in a sentence, a piece of the puzzle. There is something about starting an album and letting it play start to finish that will evoke feelings you may have never experienced.
It is imperative to view the musical album as a standalone body of work, rather than a selection of hit single tracks.
Pink Floyd’s “Money” becomes all the more powerful in the chronological context of “Dark Side of the Moon.”
When we approach listening to albums, my personal recommendation is to dedicate all of your attention to the experience. Actively listen, shut out the world around you, turn off your phone, put on a good pair of headphones, close your eyes and surrender yourself to the music. I promise, you will develop deeper connections with music, the artist and yourself.
2018 is going to be a year of landmark music releases from classic and upcoming artists. This column will be dedicated to reviewing, analyzing and dissecting albums thematically, instrumentally and lyrically.