Last week, we asked the question (and discussed) whether too many songs on an album encourages the failure of an album, or discourages the inclination for a listener to buy a copy of the complete set as opposed to farming for a song. I suggested that the band (or artist) could concentrate more artistically on a smaller set of songs for inclusion on an album so as to make for a more compelling set.
The discussion was interesting, and, as usual, with arguments for both sides of the coin. One thing that I got from the thread was an interesting one, that many previous bands and artists had plenty of “filler” in their album.
The term “filler” can be construed as a strong word to an artist, who likely considers everything they’ve recorded as worthy of the wax, aluminum, and bits they take resident on and within. Nevertheless, many bands in the history of Rock and Roll (and before) made albums with a few strong songs (or some with every song bad), and the rest less interesting.
It could also be said that the songs are strong but some overshadow the acceptance of the rest. How would a song follow “Black Dog””, “Rock and Roll”, and “Stairway To Heaven” on IV? Well, the answer to that is from a purist’s standpoint, the album was solid beginning to end. But to the other less tolerant listeners, the rest were filler to some degree or another. (I know, bad choice as an illustration, but…!)
So, to continue the thread that we started, I thought I would ask the inevitable question, and see what popular albums out there had “filler” inside. Since there are so many to choose from, feel free to add as many examples and declarations as you feel you should.
I have always made the classic argument that Bruce Springsteen created a 2LP hopeful with The River (right, Bill B? ;- )). I have always felt that for The River to become classic through and through, like its predecessors, the unbeatable Born To Run, and the perfect Darkness On The Edge Of Town, it needed to become a single LP. (Now, this is just an example for the sake of this article as I’ve long been beaten to internet pulp too many times to want to go through this again as a stand-alone topic.)
I have others. And so do you. Let us hear your selection of albums with “filler”, and check to see if the mass agree.