We have reincarnated the vinyl record and it has no natural predator.
It seems impossible and unlikely. We are living in an era of musical freedom. Anyone can contribute to or access the world’s library of music for a variation on the low price of $9.99 per month. We can beam any genre, artist, or song to the palm of our hand, and yet we are bringing back a prehistoric device that requires a room full of equipment to use and can only be played on-the-go by a suitcase sized device with the sound quality of a hit clip.
No matter what the cause, listeners have been slowly backing away from creating personalized playlists, and towards the old tradition of sitting down and listening to an album from start to finish. And with accordance to the simple laws of supply and demand, it is changing the way artists create music.
X Ambassadors’ Album “VHS,” which came out in 2015, is a cohesive collection of music rather than a list of individual songs. They included several interludes that help the listener understand the story they are trying to tell. Though each song can stand alone (this is evident by the successes of “Unsteady” and “Renegades” as singles) they are part of a greater picture. The album is more than just catchy, it is a story, it makes you think, feel, and relate.
This album has an obvious purpose of accomplishing the two tasks. Glass Animals, however, has come out with an album that is a little more subtle.
“How to be a Human Being,” a collection which came out in 2016, is most well known for being about the people Glass Animals met on their first tour. Yet, an understated quality is the album’s flow – something that had you not listened to the album from start to finish, you might not have known. “Life itself” feels like the start of something and “Agnes” feels like the end. This one is not a science, the songs just flow, there are no interludes or evident cohesive story, but somehow this album sounds better when you listen to it from start to finish. It is one entity.
For years before the internet, artists had to create albums that were played all at once, and artists writing after the internet were forced to write songs that played well with others, now they have to do both. Creating an album has become a complicated endeavor.
This change bodes well for bands like Glass Animals and X Ambassadors because it allows them to show off their creativity when making music. Both bands are “different”- in a good way- and bring a new side to music that many others don’t. With the resurrection of the LP, they have been given the opportunity to get even more creative and both bands have been more than successful in this endeavor.