I try hard to just enjoy what I enjoy, but my suspicion of both novelty and nostalgia complicates things sometimes. (Yes, I am also suspicious of my suspicions.) So when I listen to albums from the ’90s I try, mostly unsuccessfully, to tamp down on the a-time-and-a-placeness feelings they evoke in me. I had a lot of anarchic, carefree fun in at a time when I might have been better served knuckling down to something serious. Or whatever. No ragrets!
One thing I can state objectively is that albums from that period, the CD era, are too bloody long. I don’t want to hear any band drone on for 50+ minutes. If you think you’ve produced enough good material to fill to brimming all 74 minutes of a compact disc, I assure you you’re wrong. By including the dross you had lying around in the back pages of your lyric book, you’ve downgraded an album that was potentially great to a merely good album. A good album to okay. An okay album to please-stop-already.
But there was a band smack dab in the CD era that did not fall into that trap: Morphine. Their releases all clock in at the sweet spot of 30-40 minutes*. This is the perfect length for an album. Morphine knows exactly how much Morphine I want to hear. Morphine’s first three are also soundtrack albums to my post-college life when I lived alone in what amounted to a garret, one of those lovely old houses they divide into 8 student slum apartments, and tried to figure out how to become a songwriter. Times of high romance! Which makes me a little suspicious of my judgement, as I said above.
I’ll bet you can think of a few albums that are too long. Or maybe too short or just right?
One LP that has been playing long enough is Republican control of Congress. Let’s make that needle dragging sound this November with the fund that’s split between all eventual Democratic nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans.
*except their last which was released after their singer and songwriter died, so gotta give them a pass.