More mixing sessions this month - but they're the last ones! We have mixes of all 11 songs completed, and now it's time to review and make final tweaks on them. A big area of focus in this last step is to make sure the songs don't just sound good by themselves, but also when played back-to-back with each other, so someone listening to the full album can enjoy a smoother ride (I hope!)
Which is funny in a way, because so many listeners rarely or never play a full-length album in its entirety. More often than not, I don't either. And from a listening standpoint, it makes sense: With a playlist, you can hear ten or fifteen or however many different artists, each with their own style but complementary to the others on the list. That's more variety and surprise than you'll get from most albums, though you don't have the same immersive experience you get with listening to a full album by one artist.
I don't feel too strongly about this - good music is good music, however people consume it. The songs on an album ideally should work both separately and together, unless you're strictly doing a concept album. But I do like thinking in terms of albums for Trembles of Fortune - having some different types of songs, pacing and ordering them the way I like. It's also a little bit similar to coming up with a set list for a live show, though much more permanent. The first couple of Trembles of Fortune projects have been full-length albums - doing the first one that way made sense because it was mostly a retrospective of my songwriting to that point. I wish I'd started making albums a lot earlier than I did, but anyway, some of the songs on Trembles of Fortune date back 10 or more years. So I didn't want to just introduce them one at a time without any context; I wanted to establish the Trembles vibe with a bunch of different examples of it, all in one place.
With Sucker in the Promised Land, I did think about bringing it out one or a few songs at a time instead of assembling it as an album. But it's kind of a second debut album, in that I'm no longer refurbishing old stuff (with a couple of exceptions) - this is what Trembles sounds like NOW, so I wanted to put those songs all in one package too. But the bigger reason is that I think it's good for the songwriting process. Knowing you're writing songs to fit on an album makes you do more to make the songs coherent with each other, which sharpens your style more - that's something I think the first album didn't always do, though it was understandable given the songs were written over such a long period of time. It's easier to focus and make decisions when you have more of a clear target to hit. Sucker will still have a good variety, but I do think it hangs together better. (Soon you'll be able to judge for yourself!)