Although the world has undoubtedly brought forth many great artists, whom in their turn have created vast numbers of beautiful songs, it seems as though only a small few have succeeded in making a truly perfect pop album. In fact, I know of only two, albums that is, although I'm in the critical stages of acknowledging a third.

As to avoid any discussion, I will not list them here. A good argument could be made for the subjectivity of such a choice anyway and it is not at all relevant in this discussion. What is relevant is a definition of what perfect actually means in the context of a pop record.

First, let's consider what is wrong with the average 'good' pop record. No matter how good a record is, it will very often, by its very nature, be composed of a great number of hits and a number of misses. Some parts are almost always going to be better than others because some of the songs are always better than others. A good pop record suffers locally from the great songs elsewhere on the record.

Second, it happens often that the edits on a record are either too long or too short. This is due to the fact that, all too often, albums are mastered by engineers and not by people who know anything about musical timing. Long edits, or overly short ones, can easily break the record's spell. They can provide the listener with an opportunity to turn the record off before it is done.

Third, the manner in which the songs are ordered may cause undesirable mood clashes. This too can disturb the record's continuity.The main cause for this phenomenon is that all records in the past and most records today are cut for vinyl. The sound quality on the edge of the record is better than near the center. This is because the speed of rotation is constant but the length of the path that the needle traverses upon each cycle is considerably shorter near the center. Songs near the center have relatively slow playback so high frequencies are somewhat attenuated there. Because of this. The hits of the record are always the first songs on each side. The arrangement of the tracks on an album thus has no artistic grounds at all.

Finally, we can go on to define a perfect pop record.

A perfect pop record is a record that one can play from beginning to end without losing the listener's attention for a single moment. Furter, it must constantly keep the listener in anticipation of the next passage or song without having him/her lose interest for the current one. The perfect record doesn't go on for too long and it will not be too short either. That goes for all songs and passages as well. In short, a perfect record has absolutely no dull or redundant moments.

It seems that both the incredibly low number of perfect pop albums out there, and the fact that most great artists never get around to making one, can be explained through the observation that pop musicians usually only apply the theory of structured musical composition locally, on song level, and not so much to the arrangement of the record as a work of art in its own. Although music is clearly a matter of taste in stylistic terms, the actual structure of a good composition is highly dependent on the nature of the human psyche. Musical styles will come and go, but wat we perceive as a good arrangement is suprisingly universal. This makes a serious attempt to define a perfect pop record justifiable to an extent.

The few perfect albums out there can be considered the lucky strikes. A salient feature here is that the individual songs, at least on the example perfect albums I know, are considerably less good when you don't hear them in te context of the whole record.

It would be quite interesting to see if different individuals could objectively agree on the perfectness of an album, wether it appeals to them from a stylistic point of view or not.

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