Despite the emphasis on individual songs and personal playlists these days, I and other old-timers still like the idea of an album, not just one song but a set of songs, put on a record or CD in a certain order and meant to be heard straight through from beginning to end (Shuffle Mode “off”). But let’s face it. This is not the way most people listen to music nowadays!
Even today, though, there is a place for multi-song suites that illuminate different aspects of a songwriter’s personality or different parts of a story that takes an album to tell. Sure, such a work demands more of the listener, but there are listeners out there who want to be challenged a bit. Right?
I have written before about the enjoyment I get from conceiving, writing and recording sets of songs with a specific theme or story, yes, those long-form works known as “concept albums”. (See, for example, my article Mini-Tip: Write and Record A Concept Album!) I have picked up ideas for concept albums from movies, novels I’ve read, and the lives of historical figures. I use plot points in the movie or story or significant events in the life of my human subject as springboards for songwriting. It makes it MUCH easier for me to write a decent song when I start out with something specific (but not too specific) to build on.