Welcome back to Signature Sound’s weekly article series with your host, Jambot! Today, we will be focusing on what it takes to effectively construct an album that will convey your message as an artist. When you approach creating an album, you must keep some things in mind, such as creating an overall theme, positioning your tracks effectively, and maintaining the message. Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.
Create an Overall Theme
Whenever you first sit down to shape an album, you must first answer this question: what am I trying to say with this album? In order to create an effective album, you must have a theme or central idea that is carried throughout the entirety of the album. A few great examples of this are Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Metallica’s the Black album, Nirvana’s Nevermind, and countless others. Another great example of a theme carried over multiple albums is Kanye West’s 1st 3 albums, The College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation, where he tells his story of leaving college in pursuit of the life and career he knew he was destined to fulfill. I cannot stress enough how important a central theme is to a successful album, as you must have a story to tell and a reason for your listener to stay engaged throughout the entire album.
Position your Tracks Effectively
The next big focus of your album should be identifying your most successful songs and positioning them throughout the record accordingly. Think about it, if you have 4 hit singles and 12 tracks, would you front-load the hits in the beginning, leaving your listener wondering why the album suddenly tapered off in the middle? Of course, you wouldn’t! This is one of the key roles of a producer in the creation process. The pace of an album is crucial to keeping the listener’s attention, which is why most albums’ best songs are found roughly 3 songs in from the intro, with 2 or 3 songs spaced between each successive hit. Obviously, this is not a precise formula by any means, but the idea is to start the album off successfully and maintain the energy throughout with peaks and valleys that actively engage your listeners.
Maintain the Message
Another issue albums can run into is not establishing an identity that carries throughout the entire project. Albums suffer when covering several themes without maintaining focus on a central message. If you are all over the map with ideas and themes, it can be very easy to lose your listener in the process. You must have a purpose for the music you are creating and an idea that inspires your message in order for listeners to relate to your music and truly connect with it.
If you keep these simple ideas in mind when you approach creating your next album, you will be surprised at how the big picture will start to unfold before your eyes in the process. Creating a song can be very rewarding, but seeing an album through from conception to execution while staying on track with your message is where truly grandiose albums are born. Make sure to follow us on twitter @iamjambot and @_signaturesound so you can keep up with everything we are doing here at the studio, and send us your ideas for new articles and you may just see your topic appear as our next article! We’ll seeya next week!