My 'moment of truth' – MP3s have some advantages over CDs….

The other day as I was eating out (and no I wasn’t with my girlfriend Tessie Talk), Gang Starr’s Moment Of Truth album was playing in the background. I find Gang Starr’s earlier work a mixed bag but there are some good tracks among it. That said, by the time they made this 1998 album they were so self-obsessed and up their own arses that their rhymes were a shower of shit. It should go without saying they wouldn’t have recognised a ‘moment of truth’ if it had hit them on the head with a brick.
There are a lot of rappers I prefer to Gang Starr, but Moment Of Truth remains an excellent example of how the CD rather than the MP3 ruined the pop/rock/rap album….  Coz let’s face it, once the CD was established as a format, people started thinking they had to make albums that were around an hour long, rather than a coherent collection of songs that lasted somewhere between 25 and 40 minutes. On a platter like Moment Of Truth, everything is just stretched out to make that CD length ‘album’, which isn’t really an album at all but a fucking train wreck. Far better to focus on fewer beats and tunes and produce 25 minutes of great music rather than 70 or so minutes of crap. Pop life is supposed to be about fun, and fun should come in small intense doses.
Likewise, Gang Starr’s obsession with their own ‘authenticity’ is pathetic, and if they’d had any suss they’d have got ‘real’ and realised they live in a plastic world of corporate simulations where being completely fake is really where it’s at! As that swinging daddio Karl Marx pointed out way back when in the nineteenth-century, under capitalism we all reproduce our own alienation (and implicit in this is the insight that there can be no ‘authenticity’ in a commodity economy). So getting real means being unreal and demanding the impossible!
Returning to my opening theme, it was the CD that killed the album, while the MP3 takes us back to the classic pop focus on individual songs. Okay, so most people wanna cram so much onto their MP3 player that they compress the shit outta their tracks and what’s supposed to be music sounds like sewage rattling through a drain – and stuff is now mixed with this sad fact in mind too! But since most people ain’t gonna go back vinyl, let alone mono (and don’t forget that scumbag Phil Spector is rotting in jail for murdering Lana Clarkson), they really need to be convinced that they shouldn’t go for quite so much compression on their tunes.
Quantity is quality but it ain’t necessarily hi-fidelity! The future was always and already digital (tenderness)… and that has its upsides as well as its downs. So it’s time to boycott those motherfuckers who make platters longer than about 45 minutes and recognise that in the old days any really great album could have been fitted alongside its follow up on a single CD! And like Henry Flynt says: “Demolish Serious Culture!”
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Zen Master K on 2009-12-17 12:33:48 +0000

But surely “Tales of Topographic Oceans”, the sixth studio album by Yes and a double platter that runs to 80 minutes, is the greatest pop record of all time!
The album’s concept, a two-disc, four-piece work of symphonic length and scope (based on the Shastric scriptures, as found in a footnote within Paramahansa Yogananda’s book “Autobiography of a Yogi”), was their most ambitious to date. The four songs of the album symbolise (in track order) the concepts of Truth, Knowledge, Culture, and Freedom, the subjects of that section of text.

Comment by Grant Mitchell on 2009-12-17 13:26:49 +0000

I’d have thought “The White Album” by The Beatles was the greatest double album in pop history, and perhaps also the first! But never forget the mighty run of Wings single albums Macca followed through with after The Beatles!

Comment by Robyn Hitchcock on 2009-12-17 13:37:19 +0000

Give it to The Soft Boys!

Comment by Scott MacLeod on 2009-12-17 16:01:51 +0000

Minor Threat’s Out of Step clockd in at under 25 minutes I believe

Comment by Lucifer Vegas on 2009-12-17 17:48:41 +0000

And who could forget Napalm Death’s one second epic “You Suffer”, surely the pinnacle of man’s recording achievements !!!

Comment by The Oldest Punk Rocker In Town on 2009-12-17 18:58:56 +0000

Don’t forget The Angry Samoans, their albums were really short!

Comment by fi on 2009-12-17 19:05:19 +0000

???????? ? ????????? ???????, ???????? ??????????? ?????, ??????? ????? ????? ??????? ?????? ??????? ??????. ????? ????? ????????? ??? ??? ?????

Comment by fi on 2009-12-17 19:06:07 +0000

that was in russian, i dont know why it came up like that

Comment by fi on 2009-12-17 19:06:55 +0000

try again
???????? ? ????????? ???????, ???????? ??????????? ?????, ??????? ????? ????? ??????? ?????? ??????? ??????. ????? ????? ????????? ??? ??? ?????

Comment by fi on 2009-12-17 19:08:29 +0000

impossible to post in russian, sorry to waste space
not as much space wasted as going on about YES albums though ha ha

Comment by fi on 2009-12-17 20:15:55 +0000

???????? ? ????????? ???????, ???????? ??????????? ?????, ??????? ????? ????? ??????? ?????? ??????? ??????. ????? ????? ????????? ??? ??? ????

Comment by fi on 2009-12-17 20:16:22 +0000

i am a total waste of space aren’t i?

Comment by simon on 2009-12-17 20:17:13 +0000

don’t worry fi, you’ll never be as much of a waste of space as me

Comment by Tiffany Mitchell on 2009-12-17 20:44:13 +0000

…Roger L Taylor, Philosopher to the queen said that Wings was McCartney getting back to popular culture and away from post Sgt Pepper “art”..and they released a triple live album…just like Yes!

Comment by Janine Butcher on 2009-12-17 20:54:44 +0000

Whatever Tiff..I had your dad in the palm of my hand!
your death scene would have made a great Smith’s cover

Comment by David Mitchell on 2009-12-18 00:42:12 +0000

The Bahamas are nice at this time of year.

Comment by fi on 2009-12-18 09:29:31 +0000

they’ve let me out two days running now as long as i promise to take my medication

Comment by Missy Moondog on 2009-12-18 11:44:15 +0000

Gang Starr spent some time hanging around the Dingwalls / Talking Loud posse in the ’90’s. Although people raved about them, I thought they were an irritating pile of poo, even more so in the flesh. And they had shit groupies.

Comment by fi on 2009-12-18 12:10:06 +0000

what are you saying? i was one of their groupies

Comment by fi on 2009-12-18 16:13:12 +0000

argh it’s time for me to get back to my lunatic assylum (I’m studying Russian there, as you know). So if you don’t hear from me soon…

Comment by lkn;lknlnc;alns;cn on 2009-12-18 21:45:58 +0000

??????/asxaxasl nalsal o sjc???????? !!!!!!!!!!!!!! ()£($))£££££££££££££ )))))))))))) ???? ?????????? poj v; sdksd[k &&&&&&&&&&m ¨¨¨¨¨ ;sdlmc ;?????sldmclm ;???? ;mn;as !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by lkn;lknlnc;alns;cn on 2009-12-18 21:46:34 +0000


Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-12-19 11:38:13 +0000

I was never convinced that CDs sounded better than vinyl. Most of the recordings that were originally made on analogue format sounded weak when they were ‘upgraded’ to CD during the late 80s. And the addition of ‘bonus tracks’ was a real scourge that spoiled the flow of those original albums.
I was always an album person rather than a singles person. Put that down to the simple fact that I was always too lazy to keep getting up and changing the record avery 3 minutes or so (and those multiplay stack-spindles were a pain)
But the sound quality of MP3s is even worse. There are new formats that sound a lot better, that dont compress the audio in as cackhanded a way as MP3s do.

Comment by fiona on 2009-12-19 15:14:41 +0000

hey. If anyone feels like flinging a few insults my way on a one to one basis, my email is:
See your self in some wicked art in the future.
This is not an Arts Council call out.
Let us all enjoy inflicting ourselves on close relatives over the holiday

Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-12-19 15:50:19 +0000

Well, in line with Einstein’s Theory of Relatives I try to keep as much distance as possible between mine and myself, especially at Xmas.

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-12-21 16:25:25 +0000

I think my stance on the whole vinyl / CD / MP3 issue is pretty much clear without the need to go into it here… but in a nutshell, vinyl rocks, CDs are / were a necessary evil (sort of) and MP3 is gash.

Comment by Old Rope on 2009-12-24 02:10:23 +0000

Love cribs, don’t rate

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