Interview Death of 'the Album'
Reprinted from:
Dec. 5, 2004 By Edna Gundersen
From: a talk with USA TODAY music critic Edna Gundersen about the album and its changing role in music.

Gundersen: Is the album dead? Now that listeners can download songs, make their own compilations and avoid the music store altogether, the necessity of the full-length recording has diminished. What do you think about the album's future? Do you download tunes or do you still listen to complete CDs?

Shadow: Thank you for writing your series of articles on the viability of the album. It was very well done and provided an excellent overview of the industry at this time. Like many music artists at all levels, I was waiting for this article to be written. I spent four years researching, writing and producing my debut album, "King Kong Serenade," a norish portrait of 20th century New York that was released on my own indie label last year. I approached it not so much as a "theme" project as a kind of postmodern novel. I understand the sense of acceptance and awed anticipation at witnessing music's evolution. I do feel some of that myself and have had the sense I would need to come to terms with the new single-song world of the Internet. But I think there's something for the artist that makes him feel almost a sense of tyranny-by-the-state, when the very system that enables his world - in this case, the creative process vis a vis the album - is cast aside. It's almost like the religious having to go underground in a totalitarian state to practice what they believe. I may be stretching to make a point, but I do wonder about the health of the creative process in music. In my work, I was hoping to help further rock/pop music's evolution toward a more mature, durable art form. My next album is also a novel-like project. Yet all this calls in another, perhaps larger, question, maybe one you could ask artists to weigh in on in a future or follow-up article — the R word (relevance). With this changing world, does come the question for artists: is my work relevant? Honestly, I ask that of myself almost everyday. If you'd like me to weigh in on the R subject, I'd be happy to.

Gundersen: I appreciate your comments, and I think your concerns echo those of many artists, famous or not. The unfortunate byproduct of a singles-dominated music industry would be lack of risk, adventure and experimentation, in my view. If everyone in music is chasing the elusive radio hit, it could get pretty dull and redundant. I'll check out your Website.



Home | Music | Reviews | News | Bio | Road | Buy | Lyrics | Poetry | Photos | Newsletter | Links | Site Map | E-mail

Web Site Design: ElectricStage Studios: Webmaster