That’s a great point. “Everybody’s Hurting” goes right into “Yonder Comes the Blues,” and it’s such a nice, logical transition. The record unfolds like you’re reading chapters in a book.
That’s the only way I know how to do it. I mean, I’m game for trying different ways, but writing songs in a small block of time &emdash; the ideas are going to run into one another, and the songs belong together. It’s my preference. You have to be inspired by something, and that’s the way I know how to do it &emdash; the way I prefer to do it.
My view is that the artist is presenting material to me in an order that I should respect and listen to, at least once at the outset. I may change my mind later on, but you put songs 1 through 11 in that sequence for a specific reason.
I’m actually glad that you do that. I mean, I’m a consumer as well, and it’s harder and harder to find the time to do it myself. It’s the only way that we used to do it. We used to have time to just listen to music. But we have it everywhere now in small sound bites. I mean, this record is, what, 45 minutes? If you have anything else going on in your life, it gets harder and harder to put the time aside for it. I certainly appreciate that you can find that time, and I have to work harder at finding that time myself. But it used to be so easy.
You essentially have to set aside "appointment listening time."
That's what it is. And attention spans were longer. You didn’t feel like you needed immediate results, everything wasn’t just a double-click away &emdash; you were okay with that. You didn’t know any other way anyhow.
Sequencing is a lost art.
I can’t tell you how many times I make these running orders and somebody is bound to suggest that I “topload” it: Just put the “best one” first and the “worst one” last. You get a sense that people are going to leave the room midway through the first song. And forget about Song 3, no one is even going to get there! Or they’ve got it on random shuffle, and they never get to your “second song” anyway.
Did you feel an extra impetus to reinforce the idea to the listener that “I want these songs to be heard in this way”?
As I said before, I have my preference, but I’m not hung up about it. I’m happy that people just listen to the music however they get it; that’s the bottom line I’m most interested in. But when I’m making a record, I have to be inspired and work within certain concep- tual boundaries that make sense, and the sequential format does work for me. Song 1 is somehow going to make Song 4 stand out, and Song 6 might be a foil to get you to Song 8. That’s just how I make records. I don’t want to say it’s exactly like a play, but sometimes there’s an interlude that makes the next song somehow stronger.
In the “old days,” the listener would need a couple of “absorptions” to get a sense where a certain record was going, and this is that kind of record. I feel I get something more each time I listen to it. I’m finding the layers.
That’s the appreciation you have for the LP. I have it as well. That’s what I mean by “the benefit.” “They’ve Trapped Us Boys” [Track 9] wouldn’t make any sense as the first song on the record. You need more information before you get there than had it been Track 1. And if that isn’t me overintellectualizing a record [chuckles]. . . . At some point I have to say, “It’s just music.”
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