Here is a question for music lovers: which is better, a lengthy album or a shorter one? Looking back, 2018 was a year filled with album length variations that led to great debate as to which of the two makes for better music consumption. This was in part as a result of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music stable producing a host of seven track albums that year. Some of these slapped, while others were average at best. Other artists took to releasing lengthier projects, most notably Drake with his double disk rap and RnB ballad album Scorpion.
So, which is better? Some may say that in a world where music is easily accessible and consumed as frequently as bread, seven songs is enough. Consumers have access to a large volume of music that is constantly being put out, largely because of the internet. The modern music connoisseur just may not have the time to listen to your one hour and however many minutes-long album (we’re talking to you, Drake!)
While some fans feel like certain songs on lengthier albums are used as fillers and may not need to be there, others may feel like two albums could have been created with the amount of music crammed into one. Others still may even believe it is down to the artist to make a track list work, and that if a certain formula works for one, it may not necessarily work for the other. Pusha T and Nas both dropped seven track albums last year, and while the former was phenomenal and went on to receive a Grammy nomination, the latter was okay at best.
With Pusha and Nas being both being avid storytellers, it seemed odd that Pusha hit the nail on the head while Nas somewhat failed to do so. This is not to say his album was horrible; however, it felt light, as if he was unable to say everything he wanted to say. Alas, as the saying goes, “It is what it is”. This is not necessarily a review of the music but one has to look at the album reception in order to decide which of the two album types is better.
Consider the fact that most of the lengthier albums- including Scorpion, KOD, Redemption, The Book of Ryan, Hive Mind and Swimming- were well received by fans and critics alike. Conversely, the only short albums that did well were Daytona and Kids See Ghosts. Doesn’t that speak to the conversation at hand? Considering that Nas, Teyana Taylor, and Kanye West as a solo artist all released short albums, we suppose this is dictated by individual preference and opinion.
It’s important to note that some of the albums which came out in 2018 were balanced out with ten tracks, square. Those were better received: as opposed to the extremely short seven songs, ten seems a fair compromise, neither too many nor too little. The Carters’ EVERYTHING IS LOVE, Saba’s Care For Me and OSHUN’s Bittersweet Vol.1 all seemed to eschew the generic thirteen to fifteen track album format, thus seemingly finding a balance in the amount of music given to the consumer.
Some may say no matter length, if it slaps it slaps.