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Thread: Album song order

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    Album song order

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    How do you choose song order on an album? This new batch of songs I'm working on doesn't lend itself to a natural order as much as previous ones. Many people these days would say 'it doesn't matter' because people don't listen to albums anymore, they just stream. I'm one of the exceptions!
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
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    I have a proven formula based off studying numerous albums. You can do a search for it if you're interested. It's in here somewhere.

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    Unless you are doing some god-awful concept album that tells a story, start with your best song. Then your second-best song. And so-on, until you get to the end.

    But no-one really listens to complete albums in the sequence they were intended, anymore.
    I've got two sheds, me. http://www.therecordingrebels.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbphotos View Post
    How do you choose song order on an album? This new batch of songs I'm working on doesn't lend itself to a natural order as much as previous ones. Many people these days would say 'it doesn't matter' because people don't listen to albums anymore, they just stream. I'm one of the exceptions!
    I'm an exception too. I ONLY listen to albums (in the car, on the home theater, and usually even when at my desk with headphones).

    Like you, I actually work a bit on the song order for my releases. Bubba has made the most important point already - get your best material up front and center. You need to get them to listen to track 2, 3, etc. Don't put a filler/weak song until at least 4th or 5th. By then a captive listener might even welcome the change, as usually the 'weaker' tracks are the more experimental ones compared to the rest, the ones we feel least sure about.

    On top of that, I would recommend a timely process of creating a few play orders and listening to them uninterrupted. I've found songs that didn't work well because they sounded too much alike or contrasted (unpleasantly) ending from one into the start of the other. You will also want to be sure the fade in/out for each song works with the next. There should be a sense of 'beat' between tracks, and if they need to jump directly from one into the next it should be by design.

    Don't put two slow songs back to back if it can be avoided.

    Distribute a few copies to collaborators before sending to the press. See if they find any issues with the song order, etc. Getting overall feedback is useful as well, they may even like some of the songs you thought were weaker, giving you more flexibility to move the songs around perhaps in a different and more preferred way.
    Last edited by Pinky; 09-26-2016 at 10:49.
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    All good points, Pinky. Avoiding 2 songs in the same key or basic chord structure. AS I have a real mix of acoustic, electric, and mixed style songs, it makes it tougher.
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
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    Even thought I know it is not used, I still use an order when I put up songs that are supposed to go together. Some is based on how I want the song order by content or if they are not supposed to be together, then how do they mix, always follow a slow/melancholy song with an upbeat song, varied keys, some sort of presentation of the complete material.

    I know they probably won't be listened to in that way, but I still like the idea. Old dog, old tricks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinky View Post
    Don't put a filler/weak song until at least 4th or 5th.
    Or alternatively just don't release filler/weak songs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fat_fleet View Post
    Or alternatively just don't release filler/weak songs?
    Then there'd never be any albums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinky View Post
    By then a captive listener might even welcome the change,
    They may just want you to loosen the duct tape.

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    I daresay my method is not that different to those above.

    First song is the one I think is (a) most likely to be the attention-grabber, and (b) the most representative of the CD as a whole. I tend to divide the CD into two halves, and put similar songs in different halves. Most of the time I mix the tracks up so that there is a good variety from track to track. However there are times when similar songs seem to fit together nicely.

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