Studio albums - CD 'quality control'

Started by Andy Piercy, January 11, 2004, 13:47:54 pm

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Andy Piercy

Since CD's were launched in the late 1980s, albums seem to be getting longer. It's certainly true for Rush and other rock bands I can think of. So, I decided to look at the Rush albums released in the 'CD age' to see if a bit of quality control could have been used to trim the albums to a vinyl-frendly, single LP length and remove some of the duds.

I set a limit of 45 minutes per disc. I don't know if this is the practical limit for vinyl but it seemed like a reasonable length compared with earlier albums. So here we go. Do you agree with my choices?

Power Window - doesn't need cutting!

Hold Your Fire - remove Tai Shan and High Water: new length 40:42

Presto - remove Scars and Anagram: new length 44:09

Roll The Bones - remove Face Up and The Big Wheel: new length 39:00 (this one could be savaged down to about 24 mins actually!)

Counterparts - remove The Speed of Love and Alien Shore: new length 44:38

Test For Echo - remove Dog Years and Limbo: new length 43:10

Vapor Trails - remove Ceiling Unlimited, How It Is, Sweet Miracle, Secret Touch and The Stars Look Down: new length

Fishy

January 11, 2004, 14:42:23 pm #1 Last Edit: January 11, 2004, 14:43:00 pm by thefishy
QuoteSince CD's were launched in the late 1980s, albums seem to be getting longer. It's certainly true for Rush and other rock bands I can think of. So, I decided to look at the Rush albums released in the 'CD age' to see if a bit of quality control could have been used to trim the albums to a vinyl-frendly, single LP length and remove some of the duds.

I set a limit of 45 minutes per disc. I don't know if this is the practical limit for vinyl but it seemed like a reasonable length compared with earlier albums. So here we go. Do you agree with my choices?

Power Window - doesn't need cutting!

Hold Your Fire - remove Tai Shan and High Water: new length 40:42

Presto - remove Scars and Anagram: new length 44:09

Roll The Bones - remove Face Up and The Big Wheel: new length 39:00 (this one could be savaged down to about 24 mins actually!)

Counterparts - remove The Speed of Love and Alien Shore: new length 44:38

Test For Echo - remove Dog Years and Limbo: new length 43:10

Vapor Trails - remove Ceiling Unlimited, How It Is, Sweet Miracle, Secret Touch and The Stars Look Down: new length
From the Land of Honest Men.

mickpaz2112

What a great idea this way we could have looked forward to an outakes album in the future.
Some people say they've seen angels,
I've seen United,
That's enough.

rascal houdi

It's very true that quality control has gone out of the window since the advent of CD's with certain bands feeling they have to do 60-80 minute albums all the time. It works for some but not for others. A good example is the latest ZZ Top album 'Mescalero'. Trimming 4 tracks from that would have taken it to vinyl length & made a much more cohesive album with no real low spots.

With Rush however, opinions on what's good & bad vary so much between individuals, as evidenced by the discussions we have here, that I'd prefer they stuck everything on there & I made my own mind up what I like. I certainly wouldn't want VT to be without Ceiling Unlimited, The Stars Look Down & Secret Touch for example. I can live without Earthshine (& a couple of others) personally but realise the majority rate it highly. Likewise Presto where I'd keep Scars & chuck out Superconductor.

Another point regarding the length of CD's. Put yourself in the position of a new band just signed to a label. Keep the album to 45 mins with all your top stuff or chuck everything on making it 75 mins knowing if it's not a good seller you may be dropped & never get another chance to record & release that material?



There's only two Phil Spectors in this world...and I'm one of them! (Guy Stevens)

Analog RH

A great thread, Andy. I prefer albums to be short and sharp - how many 75 minute albums do you know of that are filler-free? Not many. Listening to PeW and MP during the synch listen the other night reminded us all how largely flab-free they are.

Anyway, here's my contribution.

Power Windows - leave that thing alone, its fine as it is.

Hold Your Fire - lose Prime Mover and Tai Shan.

Presto - I would agree Anagram could go, but I'd struggle to find another song on there to leave off.

RTB - show the door to Heresy and Neurotica. The rest of it is mostly too good to be edited.

CP - Speed of Love and Alien Shore need dumping.

t4e - file under b1n: Color of Right, Dog Years and Totem.

VT - I'd probably leave it as it is: a double vinyl.



Slim

January 11, 2004, 18:15:18 pm #5 Last Edit: January 11, 2004, 18:16:22 pm by Slim
QuoteVT was the hardest to trim cos it's by far the longest studio album and there are some really good songs on there. I'd rather have that one as a double LP and keep it intact. I suspect, however, that others will find it very easy to trim this one ;)

True, but personally I'd leave Ceiling Unlimited on there!  Freeze though, absolutely had to be removed,somebody seriously slipped up by letting that one through, and should have lost their job.

All credit to you for having a go at rescuing Corporatepants and Roll The Bones, but I'm afraid it's a lost cause.   I can't even compile one decent single from the combined tracklists of both.

On balance, I'd be inclined to remove Jacob's Ladder from Permanent Waves - you'd have a very short album granted, but it adds nothing, and the remaining record would be of consistent scalding brilliance.

Totally agree with you about Hold Your Fire - I suspect that for most Rush fans, it already is an album of 40 minutes duration.

Analog - removing Totem from T4E would deprive Rush fans of one of the two best songs the band has recorded since Hold Your Fire.  However I would certainly dump Virtuality and Dog Years, and (without doing the arithmetic) maybe you'd have an album of reasonable length without Driven or Resist as well.


captainkurtz

Counterparts could have been a brilliant EP!  :P
Anger is a gift.

Nephronic

Who Put The 'N' in North Berwick?

Andy Piercy

Clearly the band believed in the songs on these albums or they wouldn't have even bothered recording them in the first place, but less is sometimes more.

To me RTB is by far the worst album for filler in the CD age. I've thought about combining the best tracks from RTB and Counterparts before actually Slim, but I couldn't fit it on a single LP of 45 mins - to me Counterparts is a much stronger album.

I totally agree with others who've said VT should be left alone, but I thought I'd try to prune it to single album length anyway. The particular problem with doing this to VT is that the majority of the songs are linked by a common theme, i.e. Neil's experiences, and therefore to drastically cut it down weakens the album.

I was trying to maximise the album lengths rather than cutting all the weaker stuff.

Arto

January 11, 2004, 22:50:48 pm #9 Last Edit: January 11, 2004, 22:56:39 pm by Arto
QuoteVapor Trails - remove Ceiling Unlimited, How It Is, Sweet Miracle, Secret Touch and The Stars Look Down
:o NO!!, NO!!!, NO!, NO!!!, well, I guess I could live without the last one...

Other than Vapor Trails, I agree with your cuttings  :)