Discover New Tunes to Rock Your Fourth!
July 01, 2013
The Fourth of July is upon us and the barbecues are being prepared. If you are looking for some music to liven up your picnic, have you tried Mid-Continent Public Library’s free music downloading service, Freegal? Just like iTunes, you can download your favorite songs to your computer or iPad to keep. Except it’s free. You can get up to three songs a week to add to your music collection and all you need is a library card. This trend of downloading individual songs off of the Internet has been a revolution to the music industry in recent years. There is a distinct advantage to being able to pick and choose which songs you want without having to buy an entire album. I’ve been wondering, however, if there is also a disadvantage.
Even before the likes of iTunes, you didn’t have to purchase the whole record in order to get the songs you wanted. Some were released as singles. However, if multiple songs you liked came from the same album, it was often easier to just purchase the album rather that each individual single. Today, with the ease of the Internet, you don’t have to bother. For many, this is great because it means that they don’t have to pay for songs that they don’t want. The question is, how do you know you don’t want a song if you have never heard it? I recently went through my CD collection and was looking at some of the albums that I had purchased. What did I find? That many of them had songs that had never been released as singles which I had ended up loving. Below are a few examples of records not to be missed.
- Any album by Pink Floyd. If you have ever heard a Pink Floyd record you know what masterpieces they are. The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall are well-known by music fans and simply are not meant to be heard in pieces. Yes, songs like Another Brick in the Wall can work alright as singles, but their power is usually stronger when heard in the context of the whole album. The 1960’s and 1970’s were the era of the album and groups like Pink Floyd created these works with the intention of them being listened to as one entity.
- A Night at the Opera by Queen. This is considered to be the best album ever made by the rock group Queen. It includes songs that even non-Queen fans have probably heard like Bohemian Rhapsody, You’re My Best Friend, and their Hendrix-like version of God Save the Queen. But the song that really captured me was the nostalgic ‘39. A rock song with a slightly folk sound, the tune evokes the days when WWII was just beginning and tells about the volunteers that were sailing off to fight, and sadly requests pity for their life ahead of them. I had never heard of this wonderful little gem, and probably never would have, if I hadn’t bought the album.
- Abbey Road by The Beatles. Of course, everyone has heard of Abbey Road. This was the legendary music studio The Beatles used for most of their recording sessions. It was also the name of the final album that they made together. (Let It Be was released afterwards, but it was actually recorded before). Many well-known classics come from Abbey Road like Come Together, Something, and Here Comes the Sun. However, my favorite part of the record is the entire second half, what used to be the B-side, in which one song flows into the next. From You Never Give Me Your Money all the way through to The End, each song seamlessly blends into another. While you could separate them, hearing them all run together make them feel like one sweeping opus. Releasing them as singles would have ruined that effect.
- Songs from the Big Chair by Tears For Fears. One of my favorite groups growing up was Tears For Fears. They had several number one hits from this successful album, including Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Shout. Because I liked so many of the songs, I decided to get the record. It was while listening all the way through it that I discovered Listen. The very last song on the record, Listen, has hardly any lyrics and is almost entirely instrumental. It feels like a spiritual synth pop mini-symphony and is especially great to listen to while watching the scenery pass by on a long trip. Listen was never released as a single and, once again, was something I might have missed.
- Thriller by Michael Jackson. You can’t have lived in the last three decades and not have heard of Michael Jackson’s epic. One of the saddest things for me about the last years of his life was that the personal problems he experienced overshadowed his brilliant musical legacy. This album is the perfect example of why they are still important. Put simply, every single song on this record should be heard. The good news is that many of them were released as singles, but the idea that people might have missed even one of them is unfortunate.
These are just a couple of examples of albums with songs that I might have missed out on in this age of focusing on the single. While I think that having access to songs through services like Freegal and iTunes is incredible, I encourage people not to limit themselves. We have many full albums available at MCPL for you to check out in our CD section. So, this July Fourth, why not try popping in a CD and just letting it run all the way through. You just might discover your new favorite song. Albums do still serve a purpose, let’s not let them die.