Don't get out of the river

Published December 27, 2019

Close up guitar

If you’ve followed my adventures, you know I’ve gone back and forth on the whole album thing, but I think getting to the end of my fourth year of listening to two albums a week (400 albums!) means that I’m on board. So I was surprised when I first heard that Sheryl Crow wasn’t going to make any more records after her latest release Threads.

At the time the album came out, she talked of how happy she was that it would be her final release because the album features so many incredible guests and songs, and it was a good one. But she also said:

I don’t think people listen to albums as a full artistic statement anymore. They cherry pick and make their own playlists or you’ll only hear a song if comes up on a playlist. For me to make a full artistic statement with a beginning and a middle and an end, and to put the emotion and the money and the time into it only to have it not be heard that way? It seems slightly futile.

Which I find a bit odd, as if she doesn’t realise that people, for the most part, always used to buy an album and play their favourite songs from it anyway. Whether on vinyl, tape, CD or anything in between, you might listen from start to finish occasionally, but for the most part, you’ll pick out the ones you like. What else are mixtapes for?

Anyway, lovely Sheryl made headlines again when she repeated her thoughts on the Ellen show a few weeks ago. Stood right next to Stevie Nicks, who visibly disagrees, Sheryl explained again.

Her mouth is saying “it’s not a bad thing” but her tone is indicating something totally different. Imagine having to go against the death stare of Stevie Nicks. I’d crumble and make an album immediately!

I can understand Sheryl’s frustration if she has a vision and it’s not being realised or appreciated, but equally, I don’t think that’s because of the album format. In preparation for the Charles Esten show in November, I scoured Apple Music for his songs. Because he’d released a song a week as a bit of a Guinness World Record stunt, it meant there wasn’t anything easily accessible to pick up and listen to. I had to make an emergency playlist, throwing together random songs I didn’t know and hope it made sense.

If this is the world that Sheryl is hoping to move into, then good luck to her. But I, for one, am going to be listening to another 100 albums over the next 50 weeks and I’m massively looking forward to it.

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