albums? They used to be denoted by the letters ‘LP’ which, as anyone over 50 knows, stands for ‘Long Player’.
n the prog rock era of the 1970s, the double (and on rare occasion triple) LP format became the norm, all the better for allowing lengthy concepts to unfold on four sides of vinyl. Most albums lasted between 35 and 45 minutes (about 20 minutes per side, a time dictated by the technology available at the time for decent sound quality) until 1982 when the CD and the first commercial CD players came out .
The discs could hold up to 75-80 minutes of music and became a staple of music collections for decades until digital listening platforms like iTunes and Spotify came along. However, online formats showed an increasing tendency to only listen to tracks and not albums as a whole. Therefore, to appeal to music lovers with short attention spans, we present 10 albums you can listen to in less time than it takes Watch an episode of Beautiful cityincluding commercial breaks.
Lady Soul (1968)
Recorded at Muscle Shoals Studios in Alabama, produced by Jerry Wexler and features songs such as Chain of Fools, (You make me feel like) a natural woman and (Sweet sweet baby) since you’ve been gone — What could go wrong with Aretha Franklin’s 12th studio album? The answer is nothing. Most of us could name singers who have built their careers, or part of them, on Franklin’s songs, but this most aptly named work contains a groundbreaking level of swagger that began with their 1967 album I never loved a man (like I love you) and on to the 1968s Aretha is coming. we lady soulhowever, she shaped her powerful, signature soul style with composure and majesty. Time: 28.41
Desert Coast (1970)
Stuck between their albums The Marble Index (1969) and The end… (1974) this is considered a lost classic of sorts by Velvet Underground and Nico fans. All the distinctive if insistent ingredients are here: monotonous Teutonic vocal delivery, pounding harmonium, musical (including piano and cello) and production assistance from Nico’s former bandmate John Cale. The result is an album that was once seen as the epitome of avant-garde (ie difficult to listen to compared to what was popular), but which is now an elegant example of parsimonious and compelling serious music. Cale, who co-produced with Joe Boyd, was fond of 20th-century classical music, which may have been more than generous. However, it is safer desert shorethe split. Time: 28.51
Melody Nelson’s Story (1971)
Concept albums usually take much longer than 30 minutes for their stories to unfold, but Serge Gainsbourg, the French songwriter and somewhat provocative flâneur, manages to squeeze in a plot involving a relationship between the middle-aged narrator and the eponymous 15-year-old – old-old schoolgirl. Questionable plot aside, the innovative fusion of what became a template for trip-hop (Bristol’s Portishead and Tricky owed Gainsbourg at least a decent bottle of wine and a few packets of Gauloises) led to the album being viewed as one of France’s greatest became language pop albums. Time: 27.57
Pink Moon (1972)
English songwriter Nick Drake’s last album received little critical acclaim upon its release. Even after three albums, it was clear to his British record label (Island, one of the most artistically progressive at the time) that Drake would never become a typical ‘hit’ songwriter. His singing was whisper quiet and his lyrics too serious. pink moon consolidated this by being all solo/acoustic, the songs focused on depression (not necessarily Drakes). As often happens decades later, long after his death at the age of 26 in 1974, critical praise came for the album’s release. Time: 28.22
video of the day
It doesn’t get any slimmer in the pop/punk context. Four boys, black leather jackets, ripped jeans, worn sneakers, songs that never last three minutes and titles that are symptomatic of the time. But such as Judy is a punk, Beat on the Brat, Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, Loudmouth, Blitzkrieg Bop, I don’t want to go to the basement and I don’t want to walk around with you (along with subsequent albums Leave home, rocket to Russia and way to perdition) have claimed their place in rock music as central, insurgent game changers by being pop songs played very fast and very loud. John Cooper Clarke got it right: “The Ramones understood that it’s better to have smart lyrics about moronic subjects than the other way around.” Time: 29.04
Dirty Mind (1980)
Prince’s third album (and its cover) set the tone for his public perception: flirtatious, androgynous, not ashamed to express sexual preferences. The music is what might be expected given the year it was released, with funk, dance and disco laying the foundation for urban black music in the first half of the 1980s. The album’s explicit themes, however, caught everyone off guard and are credited with paving the way for similarly explicit work by other artists. Topics like sex addiction (do it all night), incest (sister), oral sex (head), sexual liberation (uptown) and threesome (when you were mine) are trimmed with Prince’s trademark. Time: 28.55
The lemon heads
It’s a Shame on Ray (1992)
Mixing alternative rock (as made commercially digestible by Nirvana’s 1991 album no matter) with smooth, melodic pop/folksy guitars, Boston’s 1991 catapulted The Lemonheads from relative oblivion to lead singer Evan Dando, who was voted one of them persons 1993 awarded in the magazine “Most Beautiful”. One of the reasons for this widespread acclaim was the music, whose alternative rock/pop mix was dubbed “bubblegrunge”. Another was the band’s version of Simon & Garfunkel Mrs. Robinson (not included on the album’s original release), which became inevitable on radio and MTV. Another was Dando’s certified touch as a skilled if jaded pop song confectioner, as the title track attests. Confetti, my drug buddy and several more. Time: 29.46
It was a relatively slow process from forming in Olympia, Washington and becoming a critics’ favourite, to supporting Pearl Jam in 2003, but punk rock/riot grrl band Sleater-Kinney made it through through perseverance and great songs. Their self-titled debut got it all started, with the aforementioned music critics all falling for each other. “One of the things that makes us real,” said founding member Corin Tucker, “is that we’re vulnerable” — and the songs here prove that. It may be short and sweet/sour, but nearly 30 years later this album remains a furious explosion of emotion and a profound declaration of intent. Time: 22.45
Transgender Dysphoria Blues (2014)
Described as an album of “career-defining clarity,” punk/metal band Against Me!’s sixth studio album focuses on autobiographical issues of gender dysphoria as experienced by lead singer and primary songwriter Laura Jane Grace, who identified as transgender Frau outed in 2012. Two years later, Against Me! released this album. Grace’s decision to realign her gender identity earned her widespread praise in the punk rock community and affirmed the band’s authenticity. Transgender dysphoria bluesmeanwhile, became the band’s highest-charting album in the US. If you like jagged punk rock with a sharp, intelligent edge and vibrant lyrics that chronicle life-changing themes, then you’ve come to the right place. Time: 28.43
KTSE (Keep That Same Energy) is the second album by American singer/actress Teyana Taylor, who rose to fame in 2011 when she signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music label. Produced by west, KTSE is a stylish, mellow R&B/Soul/Hip-Hop amalgam that needs to make them even better. West’s input, from production and co-writing to vocal contributions (on Hurry up) may be obvious, but Taylor’s voice is both luscious and effortless, and shines on songs like 3-way, no manners and gonna love me (which she vocally refers to Minnie Riperton). Time: 22.53
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