Modern Music

Modern Music

Overall, some interesting thoughts in this article by Alexander Hellene

Temporal Investment
The first in what will be an informal series of posts touching on life in the pre-Internet age. The Internet changed everything, some things for the better and some things for the worse. Music firmly falls into the latter camp. Popular music, at least. Rock music, in particular. But the industry as…

Purely as an observation - some of my favorite music of the last decade is either not of the Americas or in some other way leans heavily into being cohesive albums.
Aside : I also used to joke that Sisters of Mercy only ever wrote one song, it just needed several albums to complete it.

So music that isn't just a bunch of singles, that are whole albums, meant to be listened to as a whole, or better enjoyed as a whole, exist. Sabaton explicitly leans into "album as a package" by setting a true theme. The last two albums were explicitly set around the Great War. Before that we had a catalog of Last Stands, and before that, of Heroes. Before that, we had an album that gave you the rise and fall of the Swedish Empire around the 30 years war.

While the last couple albums by Sabaton may be a more extreme example, it's hardly unusual in the power/prog/symphonic metal space. The last two by Unleash the Archers were album-spanning stories. Nightwish, Dragonforce, babymetal, the Waggaki band, Band Maid, and others try to make each album be a coherent whole and not just an assembly of loose parts. Ditto almost any prog metal album.

While we're at it, Corb Lund and JD McPhereson also show care in how their albums are constructed.

Yet, with all these examples, Alexander is still right.

Because, as popular as some of these acts are, you won't hear them anywhere on pop radio. The closest I can think of, where the album is a whole, that ever gets played, that can be called remotely new, is Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and even that is just individual songs. We're a long way from when the local rock station of my childhood would dedicate an evening each week to playing entire albums or sides.