One of my favorite aspects of listening to music is hearing an album that flows from one track to the next seamlessly, getting rid of the standard album of "a collection of tracks" and instead focusing on making the album a listening experience. I noticed this because when I'm listing my favorite albums of all time, I tend to choose those which are either concept albums or those whose tracklisting flow perfectly together, regardless of genre.
Yesterday I was listening to Deltron 3030 with Fusionbot while we were driving around doing some last-minute Christmas shopping and we were discussing how the album's central theme wasn't the only thing that tied it together, but the perfect transitions between the tracks. Each track flows into one another in a way that only a well-thought out album can, which makes me think that a lot of artists just hit the recording studio and put out a collection of tracks which they've been working on over a length of time.
Even then, however, you can have great albums, as in the case of Xczircles' album Act of Gosh, which is a collection of tracks, but the album flows together so smoothly, you'd hardly even notice. Each track ends where the next one picks up, not thematically, not musically, but in that way that I just can't explain, where the beats line up and the album keeps moving at exactly the right pace. I suggest picking that album up for FREE at Xczircles' myspace (but real fans picked it up when it was pressed the first time).
And then there's the smooth transition between emcees within a track that really are perfect, either following up the vocal style, picking up on a lyrical line, or just plain doing it right.
The Four Horsemen - The Horsemen Are Here:
I'll march towards France, teach them to dance
Teach them about arts, wine and romance
I'll stalk them with knives, torture their minds
Cause them to die then run off with their wives
I've lived for the day, do as I may
Then plan my escape for the day I'm betrayed
If they betrayed you, then they'll betray me
The PCH gobbler, rip 'em now, let 'em bleed
Know exactly what he need, tie his legs to the tree
And no, nobody else torture this little fucker but me
Wu-Tang Clan - While the Heart Gently Weeps
Lester, smoked Chester sister, Vest, I heard it was a mess
They ripped the apple out her throat, blessed her
Hungry hyenas from Medina, all eight trained us
Who got reluct', think fast, and blast from Beamers
I brought my bitch out to Pathmark, she's pushing the cart
Headed to aisle four, damn I got milk on my Clark's
That's what I get, not focusing, from hitting that bar
My mouth dried, need plenty water quick, I feel like a shark
The transition between lyrics like that, which you have to listen to, is just perfect, and I can't describe how much I wish every collaboration sounded like these two examples. I think that it's important that when artists are doing collaborations they focus on making the transitions smooth, knowing each others' verses so they can play off their lines, and sounding like a team, instead of what I generally describe as "verse-dropping" which is what most people do: providing a verse that fits to the beat, but doesn't necessarily fit to the song, which is an important aspect of the music, despite what most people seem to think. Smooth transitions and seamless verses really make an album stand out, but generally the albums that I come across tend to just throw together a collection of tracks, which can be great, but it less appealing.
Xczircles - Act of Gosh Download