On the record - Was Peter Kay right all along?

Published January 2, 2019


Before we get into the album adventure for 2019, it’s worth a quick reminder of why this project even started and if we have made any progress on the original premise. Three years ago, it all kicked off when a conversation on Peter Kay’s Car Share caused a real life debate in our household.

I was on Kayleigh’s side, that you could have whatever album you wanted as your favourite, whether it is a compilation or not. Mr C was firmly on the side of Peter Kay/John, who rejected the idea of a compilation album being eligible for selection as your favourite.

So, after three years of listening to albums, I can update that I now understand both sides of the argument and… reluctantly… admit that Peter Kay was right. Although, I don’t think Kayleigh’s entirely wrong.

The trouble is, I think they are talking about two different things, and it’s the word album being used in both contexts that is the problem. If you are like John, then you’re considering the album to be a body of work put together by an artist to tell a story or share an idea in the form of anywhere between 10 to 20 songs.

If you are like Kayleigh, then an album is anything available to buy (on CD in her case) whether that is a collection of songs by one artist or by many. It’s called a compilation _album _after all. But the trouble is that it’s not really the same thing as the one-artist-one-story-to-tell album, despite featuring the a-word. In this day and age, it would be more accurate to describe it as a playlist. And once you get to that point, then you can easily see that John is right – you can’t have a compilation as your favourite album when it is, in fact, just a really good playlist.

He’s right but that doesn’t mean Kayleigh is completely wrong, it just means he needs to narrow the parameters of the argument for her.

And yes, I do know I’ve put too much thought into this. Just wait until I get back to agonising over the impossibilities of a top ten albums of all time list.

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