Since you are collecting songs to release in a single, monumental blast, you must still abide by the notion of an "album." Why not release songs as soon as they are finished? Do songs released individually lack the power associated with a massive tune cluster motherlode?<br /> <br /> (Of course, if you’re cooking up a modern-day Winterreise, never mind.)<br /> <br /> No matter what, I’m really looking forward to hearing "Je Suis Rick Springfield."<br /> <br /> Thanks!
A fine question. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, since I’m currently working on a thing that is an album, a bunch of songs that nobody hears until they hear the whole bunch of songs all together. Why am I doing that?
I grew up with albums, and while I too am sometimes only interested in a song at a time, I still like to sit down and listen to entire albums by certain bands. I think there’s something great about an album, even if there’s no theme or concept or consistency, it still represents the stuff that an artist was working on at a particular period of time. And so the whole of it takes on some kind of meaning that way.
When I finished Thing a Week, I was pretty sure the album was dead. I had just released 53 songs one by one, and some of them did really well, and everything was moving along fine without the album construct. Except that Thing a Week WAS a kind of album. A long one to be sure, but even if I didn’t sell it as a single physical object (I do), I think it still would be possible to experience it as one big thing. It very powerfully represents quite a bit about my life and creative work and general freak outs at that time.
After Thing a Week I was tired. It took a while, but I eventually started releasing songs again in a slow trickle. I like a lot of them, but I feel sad that they don’t LIVE anywhere. I group all of them under the heading “The Aftermath” but I’m not sure how much that means. Maybe because they’re too spaced out in time to feel like they belong together.
Working on this new album has meant a lot of intense and fast writing, a lot of thinking about the larger picture: the album title, the mix of styles, the track list, the artwork. It feels like a large important thing, and there’s something kind of thrilling about knowing I have 15 recordings that nobody’s ever heard, and someday soon they’re all going to leave the nest at once. It’s just more fun, and it just feels more normal to me.
Shorter version: I am old.