During a long drive a few weeks ago, I felt the need for some Black Dahlia Murder*. I queued up Miasma, but after two songs, I decided I didn’t want to listen to that album. I queued up Necropolis, but the same thing happened. Then it happened with Ritual, and I gave up. I realized that I didn’t actually want to listen to any Black Dahlia albums. I really only wanted to listen to a few select tracks.
Based on the Recording Industry of America’s (RIAA) sales data, my desire to only listen to certain songs is not unusual. The RIAA data seems to show that most consumers only want a few songs from an album. In other words, they want the singles and the crème de la crème drawn from pop music’s bottomless wells. This mentality makes me wonder if the big names in pop music have as many fans as they think. Can someone really be a fan of a band or album if they only listen to two songs?
I cannot think of a discussion in person or on any message board where metalheads expressed that same singles/best of mentality. Metalheads want to listen to albums, not songs. I feel the same way about music: I listen to the album. However, there are some bands that can’t seem to string a good album together. Black Dahlia Murder’s one of them. I might not be a fan of the band, but I’m definitely a fan of some of their songs.
After I got home from that drive, I realized that I wanted to cherry pick Black Dahlia’s albums to make a best-of list. Normally, I don’t make best-of playlists. The payoff’s just not there, and the great albums all deserved to be listened to as such anyway. For Black Dahlia Murder, however, the process made sense. All of their albums have at least one killer song. Cherry picking their discography allows me to enjoy their music on my terms, not theirs.
I selected my Black Dahlia tracks, and came up with the following album-length list:
1. When the Last Grave Has Emptied
2. I’m Charming
4. A Vulgar Picture
5. Novelty Crosses
6. What a Horrible Night to Have A Curse
7. Death Panorama
8. Malenchantments of the Necrosphere
9. Deathmask Divine
For me, that’s the perfect playlist. Later on, I cherry picked other bands’ discographies: Carnal Forge, Brainstorm, and Dimmu Borgir. I’m not a fan of those bands, but I like some of their songs, usually one to three per album. Cherry pickin’ works because it allows me to edit the band’s discography, thus saving space on my iPod and allowing me to listen to the hits without fumbling through tracklists.
Have you encountered a band that you don’t necessarily like, a band that can’t seem to write a good album, and yet teases you with a few cherries on each album?
*Technically, they are called The Black Dahlia Murder. I refuse to call them that because it’s awkward to speak and read.
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