Which Album(s) Have “Filler” Tracks?

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.

SpringsteenTheRiverI 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.

Review: Adam Green & Binki Shapiro

AdamGreen Bink Shapiro CDSometimes, an album comes to my attention that you just can’t seem to find all the right words for it.  Of course, I mean this in a good way (we just don’t do reviews of bad albums here because, who has the time?!).  You listen, and feel compelled to listen again.  Then again.  Good music has its way of sneaking inside of you, and taking up a strange sort of residence.  Great music files for permanent residency.  That’s the case for the eponymous first album from Adam Green and Binki Shapiro.

Adam Green has a massive list of achievements in his background that includes involvement with The Moldy Peaches (a duo that helped shepherd the “anti-folk” movement, which is, essentially, folk not as a serious vehicle of political and social disenfranchisement, but rather, folk as an element not beholden to anger and frustrations, hence ‘anti-folk’.  After Moldy Peaches, Green released a series of good solo efforts.

Binki Shapiro has enjoyed her own brand of success.  During her career, she was part of Little Joy, a band formed with Rodrigo Amarante (Los Hermanos), and Fabrizio Moretti (The Strokes).  Additionally, she has worked with Beck.

In January (2013), Rounder Records released the pairing of Adam Green and Binki Shapiro in what is easily one of the best albums of the year.  The self-titled work is an album with ten radio-friendly songs, or, as I can easily say, a collection of A and B-side singles.  A best of collection, if you will.  Of course, this debut by the duo isn’t a best of, but it sure sounds like it.  I like this so much, I’m shelling out for an LP version.

Adam Green and Binki Shapiro

The best way to explain the sound of Adam Green & Binki Shapiro, is that there is a charming connection between these two singer/songwriters.  Using folk as a kind of guide, a hint of country (folk), this album has all the feel of an alternative styled album with the heart of rock at its core.  A strange thing, that, but what else can I say other than it works, and works well.

The opening track (heard below in the embedded video), “Here I Am” offers a strong song for you to slip into (visit website for a free MP3 download of this track).  Its melodic brand of melancholy is followed by a different sense of it, but just as potent all the same with “Just To Make Me Feel Good”.

“Casanova”,  the Green (front and center) sung, “Pity Love”, and six other excellent songs from this electrically charged duo with some kind of music chemistry make up this ten track album.  It’s still hard to come up with the right words for something as good as this duo’s excellent debut, but I did try.

If you like folk with hints of other musical styles of influence, and you like the video that you may have already played (or intend to play), then this album is a no-brainer.  It spins often in several of my players, and is one that I don’t leave the house without.

I hope this duo stays together and gives us another album, and hopefully more than that.  They’re on a roll!!

Release Date: January 29, 2013
Label: Rounder Records
Band Website
Availability: CD, LP, DD

–Matt Rowe