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CLASSIC STATUS OF AN ALBUM

INTRODUCTION

A music album by anyone's favourite artist or band is always special. Apart from the music that speaks to the listener, there are various tangible strands attached to them. There is a Compact Disc, the album cover, lyrics and photographs. However, the intangible aspects have more of a depth in a way such as music itself, the lyrics and subject matter of the songs. If those elements strike a chord with the listener's heart, soul and mind, then it goes beyond the notion of "good" and "bad". It will become that person's best friend. Similarly, when a large number of people-defying any boundaries known to humans- associate in a similar way with the same musical output, then it becomes a kind of phenomenon. That is when an album should ideally become a "classic". Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' is one such album.

However, there is a thin line that separates between what is deemed "classic" and "canonic". An album's success is largely measured in commercial terms when there is a media attention. An album's sale of copies is directly proportional to an album being worthy of called a classic. Whilst, it is true that an album's sale reflects the record buying public's taste in music, it is not authentic enough to state the actual worth of an album. For example an album by an artist could be selling like hot cakes because of the media hype surrounding their images or even music. The music industry is littered with several examples of such artists and bands. In the present times, the record companies seem to show more and more interest in the financial gains from an album or music as opposed to artistic or individualistic talents. For this, they do not even mind to invest in programmes such as X-factor or American Idols as long as their pockets are full. These thoughtless avenues of musical output just mocks at anything being called canonic let alone classic.

This was not the case during Pink Floyd's ' Dark Side of the Moon' period- an album that is now a well-known classic. It was made at a time that predates the birth of even the personal computer and the birth of the punk revolution. Although, it is also to be noted that by the time of 'Dark Side of the Moon', Pink Floyd were already a well-known band in the media circle and they already had seven epic albums in their back catalogue.

However, it cannot be dismissed that OK Computer is an album that dealt with universal themes- like 'Dark Side of the Moon'- with alienation, death, insanity, transport, technology, modern life, political objection to capitalism. This album was received with open arms all over the world. OK Computer's status of being propelled to the level of classic is not just because of its mass appeal and artistic use of instrumentation and subject matter but also because of the quick media and the the pace at which information is transferred around the world. It is a combination of both the factors, besides not ignoring the fact that the presentation of the album and the backing of the record label have a lot to do with its success. An album like OK Computer would have become a classic even without the aid of information technology and fragmentation of the media. But the answer to the question of its fast rise to classic status is definitely due the quick assessibility of music to the public and the media attention.

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