So many artists are breaking records and getting critical reviews this year for their albums and singles. With some breaking in numbers in their respective areas, there’s been a discussion amongst music lovers. Which is more of an achievement for an artist, biggest selling album or biggest selling single? More number one albums or more number one singles?
Let’s break this down.
Both achievements are great, don’t get me wrong, but with both achievements there are pros and cons.
Having a slew of number one singles is a great achievement. Any artist would want that. Having a hit song can boost anyone’s career; an artist might not have a number one album, but with the right single and good reviews, that can easily change. Now, when an artist has a song that stands the test of time, influence others, and becomes a staple, that speaks volumes about the artist and the music. Not everyone can do that; not everyone can have a number one single that resonates with people and can inspire others to change, or influence the mentalities of the people in a generation. That really shows the power of music. If your songs can be played, sung, and enjoyed as if it’s brand new 15-20 years from now, that’s to me is a successful hit.
Now, what about albums?
Having a number one album is a big deal as well. It holds as much weight as having a number one single, despite what some people may think. If you have a number one album, most likely everyone on social media will talk about their favorite song, now that reactions on twitter are charted on Billboard with their real-time charts. Just like singles, an album could sell more, if reviewed by the right critics and influencer. Depending on how the public reacts to your album, you could have the potential to spawn a few hit songs on the charts, maybe even some number ones. There is a tricky thing about releasing albums versus releasing singles.
An artist can have a number one album, but will it have a lasting effect? We all remember when our favorite album was released, and we went to the record store to buy it. I remember when Kanye West released his debut album, College Dropout, (a day before my birthday), in the 6th grade. I was so happy when I got it; I listened to the album from beginning to end. 12 years later, I still remember that album, word by word. With that being said, albums today aren’t viewed and treated the same way they were 20 years ago. We all remember the releases and the songs from Rhythm Nation, Thriller, The MisEducation of Lauryn Hill, Purple Rain, and so many other classic albums, but can we honestly name an album from today that will be viewed in the same light? You can have a number one album, but numbers don’t equate to quality. Having a number one album doesn’t mean much if the album doesn’t have a hits or have any substantial lyrics. Is a number one album really worth praising, if the messages or ideas from the album don’t resonate with people?
I say all this, because I believe we are putting too much attention are numbers. We are using numbers to one up our favorite artist when really we’re not appreciating the music. With so much hypocrisy between music fans, I think we need to take a different look at music, which means we have to look at the music with an open mind. Within the past 10 years, so many albums and songs have gone to number one on the charts, but they are often forgettable. Yes, when our favorite artist has a number one album or song, we like to praise it, but why spend so much time arguing and putting your favorite artist on a pedestal if what they’re producing and releasing isn’t of quality or will fade out quickly? Let’s put differences aside and push for artists to make hit albums with timeless songs.