December 10

So just what constitutes a perfect record album?

I still remember having this conversation with a group of fellow dorm dwellers and back in the mid-1980s.

First of all the music and the sound had to be incredible! That was a given. But it seems that is a bit subjective. This group consisted of metalheads, pop music aficionados, jazz lovers and a Beatles fan.

The album sleeve or other packaging had to be fantastic! Again, of course it did but what does that mean? Gatefold, pictures, extensive liner notes?

Finally, it had to have some concept to it. Some cohesion where all of the individual tracks made up an album. Subjective!

Minds were made up, poles were taken and albums were produced out of various collections. One record that made that final cut was 1979 Breakfast in America by Supertramp (previously mentioned here):

The funny thing was, this was the record that was put forward by the metalhead! I decided then and there I was going to own this record. I bought the LP and CD!

This album had four bonafide hit songs on it, and sound was perfect pop production. I can still remember how brilliant this record sounded on my dorm room stereo; sparkly bright highs, bedrock deep lows and every vocal and instrument right where it needed to be.

The cover photo, a satire of New York City composed of Corner Cafe dishes and a waitress filling in for the Statue of Liberty, was a masterpiece. There weren’t excessive liner notes or other distractions, the lyrics were there and that was just right.

And last but not least the songs had a flow that was undeniable… there were no throw a songs, just songs that lead seamlessly from one to the next. Just what these songs were about was up for interpretation. Some of us thought it was about the American dream… a tale of rags to riches. Other side of it as a relationship album where everything new becomes old and tired over time.

So, is it a perfect record album?

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