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There was a time when the idea of a concept album was huge. It was the equivalent of going on a musical journey with your favorite artist. It went beyond the idea of just having ‘hits’ and ‘singles’ to the idea that music should be a journey and an experience.
These days though, with the advent of the mp3 and digital downloads, the idea of an album has become passe. Don’t even think about the idea of a concept album! Many artists have rebelled against the industry forcing the sales of singles over albums. Their point being that the music from an album has a coherent message and is meant to be heard as a whole and not in fragments.
One of the great things about today is the increasing popularity of soundtracks as a listening experience in their own right. The music from a film can have a dual life. There is the experience of enjoying the music along with the film, then there is the experience of listening on its own. In this way, the soundtrack stands on its own, essentially becoming a concept album.
The listening of a soundtrack can bring about a couple of different experiences. There can be a reliving of the experience of the film itself, bringing back images and feelings from the film. Or, it can become a brand new experience bringing to life new thoughts, feelings and ideas. It can used to create an atmosphere, or mood. Or, it can evoke a wide range of moods and ideas all within a certain framework or style.
The greatest thing about the enjoyment of soundtracks these days is the sheer variety available. There are as many styles of soundtracks as there are music. There are orchestral, electronic, rock, jazz, folk and world soundtracks to name a few. Within all of these there is a consistently high level of musicianship and quality. The next time you want to set aside time for some quality listening, just put on your favorite soundtrack and enjoy the ride.