In a book I once wrote, I argued that the era of the classic rock album ran for just over 30 years, from the triple threat of Revolver, Blonde On Blonde and Pet Sounds in 1966, to Radiohead’s OK Computer in 1997. That's not to say that good rock music wasn’t released in album form before or after those dates; it’s that the idea of a discrete package of songs in a pre-determined order was for three decades central to the cultural and social experience of music. People would listen to Dark Side Of The Moon or Purple Rain or Hounds of Love or In Utero and want to talk the transition from the third track to the fourth or the message in the play-out groove or the slightly rude picture on the inner sleeve; they might even listen to the albums together. Whereas now, when something by Beyoncé or Adele, er, drops, people may well want to talk about individual songs or lyrics or videos but rarely the whole thing, which is now no more than the sum of its parts. The idea of a bunch of friends hanging out in a single bedroom to listen to the new Ed Sheeran or Kanye West seems oddly quaint.
And then I heard about the Lexi cinema in north-west London, which is hosting in-the-dark sessions where people gather, don blackout masks, and listen to albums from beginning to end, together. And their next event will feature Amnesiac, which Radiohead released several years after, uh, OK Computer.
Anyone got any Tipp-Ex?