Music Parenting 101: The "Two Albums Before Bed" Rule

As far as I'm concerned, people who don't ever listen to albums are music lightweights.

By "albums", I don't mean actual vinyl records. I couldn't care less which configuration or delivery method you chose. I mean a specific group of songs in a certain order.

As it is, I don't really care how you listen period. You can listen to the same song all day long if it makes you happy.

But as a Parent Hood, I'm responsible for teaching my kids the important facts of life. As you might suspect, the art of music is in the upper echelon of importance around here. And in that respect, my first lesson about music is this: If you really want to appreciate the art, you need to dedicate part of your listening time to albums.
See also:
- Steve Wiley: 10 Rock and Roll Hall of Famers That Never Topped Their 1st Album
- Steve Wiley: How Much Is Music Really Worth To You These Days?

Don't Be a Song Hater, Dad

I love a good song. Songs are the beginning and end of music. There wouldn't be any good albums without them. But if you really want to truly appreciate the art of music, a song can only get you so far.

And the song vs. album concept doesn't just separate the casual fan from the true enthusiast on the receiver side of things - it separates the true artistic legends from the posers on the sender side of the equation.

Because as the history of one-hit wonders tells us, it's a lot easier to write a good song than it is to write a good album. Writing a good album is a whole different matter.

Take a look at the history of rock and roll, the genre that really brought us the artistic concept of the album. How many artists have written even two really great albums? Not many in the grand scheme of things. How about five. Hell, I could probably do that entire list pretty quick (and I think I just might.) It didn't take me long to come up with 10 Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Who Never Topped Their First Album, after all.

For the musicians who can write a good one, albums represent a certain time - of specific events, emotions, and lessons currently occurring in that artist's life. Take a look at any legendary songwriting artists' discography and you will essentially see a story of their life (and if you've been listening to the artist long enough, part of the soundtrack of yours).

So that's why I tell the kids: If you are gonna dive deep... if you gonna really appreciate the art of music... you need the album.

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WhoKnows topcommenter

"albums", be they vinyl or CDs are a dying breed.  It's a shame.  Artists used to have to wait until they had about 45 minutes of "good stuff" before a release.  Now about the only place to actually buy an album (well, CD) is a place like Amazon.

I started hitting the gym last New Years, and my ipod had a few hundred albums on it.  Not a single song that I've bought by itself.  My workout is "album" based.  I listen to an entire album, and then start the cool down.  Old vinyl was limited to just about 45 minutes, so it was a good goal - double albums, 2 days.  I've actually found a BUNCH of stuff I've forgotten about which may have not been the "top" song on that work, and there are just some where the entire album is really a single work (need I say Quadrophoenia or Dark Side of the Moon?)

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