I've noticed a trend in music: most people write songs that stand on their own. An 'album' is just a collection of these songs on a CD that the artist thought good.
This is one of the big differences between 'modern' music and 'old' music. On many 'old' albums, certain songs just don't make sense unless they're heard in context. Take, for example, Pink Floyd's Eclipse. That song sounds ok-ish played by itself. But when you play Dark Side of the Moon, it fits perfectly. It's part of a story. It used to be that an album was a story. Now, it's not so much that way.
Same way with jam bands--there are times when you have to hear three, four, five songs in a row to hear the story that the music is telling. Each song may sound good, but when you play them connected together, there's something bigger than each song.
I'm wondering what's changed that casued that. I've got a couple of theories:
1) Radio hits: make one song that's a radio hit. Ignore the album
2) iTunes: no longer do you have to buy the whole album. Just pick your songs.
3) Could it be related to why songs are now about three minutes a piece? Whereas a lot of 'old' songs are around 6-10.
What are your thoughts?