April 25, 2016 in Studio

Hidden Tracks

I’m going to take things back a few years now. Back it the long ago, musician put out collections of songs together in things called “albums”. A records is a good example. Or a CD. There are other formats, but I won’t waste anyones time going over them. Let’s just say that in the olden days, listening to music was a hands on experience.

You had to go to your physical collection of music. You had to choose a single collection of songs, called an album. You had to remove this from it’s case, and put it into the player. (record player, or CD player). You had to press play. And the songs played, and then they were done, and the music stopped. I know it sounds like I am being flippant, but I really do have a point.

When you wanted to listen to music, you chose an album, you played that album, you heard the songs in order, and when they were done, the music stopped. It was a very linear experience. An album had a beginning, a middle, and an end.

CD’s made it easy to skip songs. If you were actively controlling the music then you could hear what you wanted. But it was very manual. It’s not like music consumption of today. Where people use computers to play popular songs by artists. There is no beginning, middle, or end. There is no linear journey.

I’m not complaining about it. I’m just showing off that I know how things work nowadays.

But I grew up on albums. I grew up listening to all of the songs that the artist chose to put on their album. And sometimes you got a treat. A hidden track. Something shoved on the album that didn’t make it to the liner notes. A song on the CD that wasn’t listed.

Some hidden tracks were funny little stinkers, like 12 Gracious Melodies on Stone Temple Pilot’s second CD.

Sometimes they were real songs that were every bit as good as the other songs, like Let Her Go by Blink 182.

So, do hidden tracks make sense in the modern age? You can’t sneak a track into a playlist. You could hide it at the end of the last song. People will notice that the last song is 18 minutes long, but maybe the element of surprise isn’t the most important part.

I don’t know.

I remember that Korn album that started with 13 tracks totaling 69 seconds of silence. Boy, that got old really quick.

So, let me know in the comments if you think that hidden tracks matter. Or if albums matter. Maybe only singles matter anymore.

I don’t know.

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