Singles & Albums

Singles & Albums


I grew up with a few vinyl singles I knew by heart and listened in loop :

  • Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles
  • Golden Brown by The Stranglers
  • Hell’s Bells by AC/DC
  • Spirits in Material World, by The Police.

They were like drug, instant and violent pleasure!


But I remember LPs were like “the real thing”. You had to be ready to listen to 20 minutes of a side, then eventually the other side. Each side had a musical color. An album had a purpose, a mood, a… progression. And a sleeve!

We all had a tendancy to listen to albums “by side”. If you want to listen to one track, you had to delicately place the needle where you guessed the track was…

The flipping was like a decision, the decision to attack the other side, etc.

Of course, this was emphasized by the fact that musicians I love, like Mike Oldfield or Genesis or Pink Floyd, tended to make long pieces or at least “linked” tracks, in an unstopped flow of music.


The CD had a strange impact : it blurred the idea of “Side A/Side B”. Very cool for classical music (an opera was like 3 LPs -> 6 Sides!) or crazy things like Amarok.

If you wanted to listen to one song (or pass another), you just had to remote control your way into it…


Today is the day of singles, it’s Taylor Swift’s era! Music faucets (Spotify/Deezer/YouTube and others) are everywhere.

We listen to music by tracks, or sometimes by “themes” or genre, and it’s a AI which chooses for us.

I think one of the reasons why the vinyl “returns” a little, is because of incarnation. You buy “an album”, with a sleeve you can admire, it’s a “thing”, your hand can manipulate it, read lyrics, there’s a link with your body, and you have to be cautious when you place it on the turntable!


Where else did we lost the “album thing”? Where else do we butterfly mind zap into single things? What did we lose and forget? Length? The togetherness of things? Effort? Patience?

And in the making of things? Should we focus on the project size instead of the fast/here/now?

Thanks for reading!

The Return of the Vinyl

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