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Music

The Fate of the Album

PopMatters Music Critics

Music critics have been bemoaning the death of the album format ever since the heyday of Napster, and the subsequent dawn of music related digital technology in the late 1990s. The music staff at PopMatters have put their collective heads together and compiled a list of albums released since January 1, 2000 to illustrate the continued relevance of the long-play format. The death of the album has been greatly exaggerated.

Music critics have been bemoaning the death of the album format ever since the heyday of Napster, and the subsequent dawn of music related digital technology in the late 1990s. Digital downloads, MP3 players and the glut of DJ collections clogging the market may have highlighted the bright future of single tracks and brought the relevance of the long-play format into question, but there is still compelling evidence for the necessity of the album.

To put the issue into literary terms, the single is the equivalent of the short story, capturing the essence of a tale in a short window, while an album extends the process through a series of vignettes, or songs, conveying a deeper richness and complexity. With this framework in mind, the music staff at PopMatters have put their collective heads together and compiled a list of albums released since January 1, 2000, ordered by release date, to illustrate the continued musical significance of the long-play format. Brush the dust off of a jewel case, pop a CD in your player and spend some time with the albums on this list. We're sure you will agree that the fatal diagnosis for the future of the album format has been greatly exaggerated.

:. Read about them year by year. We'll add a new year each day this week...

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