We live in an age where singles are dominant. Since the launching of iTunes where songs can be bought separate from the album it has become exceedingly pointless for artists to care about creating a comprehensive and structurally thought out body of music. Gone are the days of Sgt. Pepper, OK Computer, and Dark Side of the Moon; albums which you can throw on a pair of headphones, sit back, and be whisked away on a musical journey. Instead we now have a parade of hit singles which, when thrown together on an album, sound like a random jumble taken from the most recent Top 40.
An example: Lady Gaga’s most recent album, Born this Way, has several excellent songs on it (“Judas”, “Bad Kids”, and the title track) which, when thrown together, just clash against one another for attention and become a distraction. What could have been a major statement is a splattered mess of potential Top 40 hits.
The reason I’m so upset My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy did not get nominated for Album of the Year is because it actually is an album. Sure “All of the Lights”, “Runaway”, “Power” and all the other incredible songs on this album can be played by themselves, but it is when they are put together that West’s message about the dark side of living a life in excess and fame.
Whether or not My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy ends up being held up as a standard-bearer for what makes a great album, only time can tell. But the fact that it is an actual album, a group of songs which can stand up well on their own but sound much more profound in the company of one another, is something unique and worthy of note; as well as a nomination in the category for which it should be the only one qualified
“That was in the winter of senior year. Then in the spring something happened to me. Yes, I remember. I fell in love with James Tyrone and was so happy for a time.”—Final line of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night.