The total number of records I have in my collection that I can play straight through without skipping tracks, I could probably count on one hand. Godflesh’s Pure; maybe one of Keiji Haino’s live sets. Yoko Kanno’s Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex album. Roxy Music’s Avalon. The list is short for a good reason: it’s a sign of the elect.
Granted, some of that is due to the way the album format has become fractured and fractured again — first by the CD, which allowed tracks to be re-ordered at will or dropped entirely; then by digital music systems, which are more song- than album-oriented. But there’s also the fact that precious few albums hold together that well as a whole: sometimes there’s just not enough strong, sustained material in that particular vein to support a whole record (the last couple of Nine Inch Nails releases felt like this for me), and sometimes the artist in question just works best as a creator of singles rather than anything more ambitious. It’s hard work to come up with a batch of songs that hang together well as a whole and survive being cut apart and heard independently. Read more