Hold on just a sec...I'm listening to WXYC, and they're playing Lou Reed's Take a Walk On the Wild Side, which is unremarkable, except that I can hear the noises that you only get from a needletip on vinyl. Ahhhh, it is so good, you have no idea.
But that's a dead topic about the death of another format, so back to my point.
I agree with the skeptics. The album wont die; there are too many people who care about it. I usually hate categorizing people, but I think you can generally fit music buyers into two groups: those who buy albums for a song, and those who are compelled to hear more. The first group pops a disc in, hits a button until that one track is up, listens to maybe one more track, and ejects. The latter group gives a good album the proper listen that it deserves. Each song is broken up into its components in the listener's head, then put back together one by one: the lyrics, the voice, drums, bass line, you get the idea. The listener can then see how the tracks fit together on the album to make a cohesive whole or a disjunctive mess. The second group is thus rewarded by achieving a greater understanding of the music and musician, which allows for greater enjoyment of the music.
The first group will download the single mp3 to avoid buying the album. The second group will buy the pre-released mp3 albums because they either can't wait for the official release date, or they can't find it at their usually reliable local record store and can't wait for it to arrive in the mail. This second group will keep the album alive.
I'm posting this track from Low's 2005 album, The Great Destroyer, because it's not a single. It's one of those songs that digs into you the more you let your album play. The song sounds like a lullaby, sung slowly in steady voices, and with the best ironic use of a heartbeat rhythm since Pink Floyd's Brain Dead/Eclipse (yes I did!!), but the irony of the these three lines leaves you with the cold feeling of being watched by a menacing God:
So what, pray tell
Will save you now?
Here comes that cold sunrise
It's more downbeat than most of the other tracks, but consistent with the album's ominous tone. What say I, you ask? You'll just have to listen to the CD yourself. The whole thing, more than once.
Low - Cue the Strings (mp3)