Putting the & in Heart & Soul

Published August 20, 2022

A close up of a vinyl record with the needle of the record player sitting on top

Last year, the American country music singer Eric Church released a triple part album, entitled Heart & Soul. Each of those three words was the title of one part of the album, and they were released over the course of about a week. At the time, I listened to the albums a little bit reluctantly. Heart came first, and then & was released only as a vinyl release, so I said: “Already I’m on the back foot as I’m not going to be able to hear the middle part of this trilogy… nevertheless, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give the first part a go, and I’m glad I did.”

Fast forward a year and the & in the middle of the Heart & Soul sandwich has actually been released digitally, and now I don’t know how to feel about it. I was so enraged at the time: at the mere concept, at the exclusivity that meant I couldn’t get to it, and the fact that I’d only completed two parts of the trilogy. Now the missing jigsaw piece has arrived and I’ve realised it’s an EP, six songs only, so I wouldn’t be able to choose it for the album adventure anyway.

For someone who only embarked on this music journey because I didn’t appreciate what an album was and how important it was as a creative piece, I’m finding myself very pedantic about what I choose to count as an album I can listen to, and getting quite annoyed at people that mess with the system. I do think the creativity of these endeavours is interesting, but they make my head fizz.

A triple part album available a year apart is odd, it just is. And the albums that are a selection of classic covers, do they count? Or duet albums? I don’t know. It’s going to be a problem forever, and perhaps I’ll just have to learn to adapt the adventure and roll with the releases as they arrive, whatever format they are. Or, maybe I’ll just live with Heart Soul and pretend the & never happened.

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