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Your Ideal Album Order?

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For those of you who love the art of the album, and those of you who have actually made, or even dreamt of making an album what would be the perfect order for you? (if any of course) Do you go for conceptual links between the tracks? Musical links (like the ones that blend into the next song), Do you put the best songs on either end or somewhere inbetween? is there an emotional component of the tracks? And so on...


Focusing on the beginning and end, I think the Who nailed album order with Quadrophrenia. Starting with an ambient track (I am the Sea) that explodes into a rocker (The Real Me). There are many strong tracks inbetween, some more introspective but advancing the stories and personalities therein, and then ending with an instrumental, and then the highly emotional, almost lament of Love Reign O'er Me....I'm particularly fond of albums ending with a strong dramatic or ambient/dreamy track.


The metal band Rammstein has a good album philosophy, limiting it to 11 tracks, starting with a dancy or dramatic track but putting the best songs/title song around the middle, and ending with two or so emotional/moodier tracks.


Ideally my album would start with something heavy, dramatic, enough to pull the listener in right away (Don't Fall by the Chameleons from their debut is a good example) change the pace about midway with an instrumental and some moody tracks, and end with the most despairing/bleak if it's one of the stronger songs...something to make the listener ponder things and the album's message. Also it shouldn't be too long, 8 to 10 songs would be perfect. (Not that there aren't thrilling long albums)



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I have been trying to think of a simple reply to this but am struggling because it is such a broad question! 


One thing that usually annoys me is when there's a few.. say 3 or 4 tracks in a row in the same key. 

Album length I suppose for me is not a major issue, if the songs were all very similar I wouldn't be able to sit through a long album, but if they were good solid contrasting songs AND arrangements (as well as of course, in a style I liked) I could listen to it for a long time. I think anything from 8-12 tracks works well if they are on average your standard 3-4 minute songs.


One of my favourite albums is Patrick Watson's  'Adventures in your own backyard'. I think Patrick Watson (the band and the guy) are fantastic and they use lot's of different sounds. Also, the songs aren't overly similar to each other, though all well written/produced. it has 12 tracks. I don't get bored in the slightest listening to it the whole way through.


I have many favourite albums which are not similar at all, though. I like to sit down and listen to a full album when I can find the time.


This is a tough one. I don't know if my answer is even an answer, but it's my thoughts!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good topic and a big musician's dilemma.


It can equally apply to set lists for gigs. What to play and in what order? Unlike albums, bands can and should vary set lists in the moment according to how the crowd is reacting.


These days track order matters a little less as so many people don't download whole albums or they listen to them on shuffle on their mp3 players. It still doesn't stop me caring about it for my own material. On my Soundcloud link below I have several albums (playlists) of my own songs and I can demote or promote songs in the list according to what is or isn't getting played. But often people just play the most played stuff so that doesn't always work too well.

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