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Hi guys,
here's something that I didn't find anything online about. When you've made all the changes to the master, what are your criteria do define the song order of the album? Do you start with the most energetic song, or do you start with the song that has the slowest build up? Do you take into consideration that most listeners nowadays on streaming playlists won't get past the third song and put the catchiest ones first? Is there a trick to knowing if your order is best?
Anyway, the question is pretty straight-forward.

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audiokid Fri, 06/09/2017 - 15:11

I generally would put the best song first but if you have a flow about your music, then it would likely go in that order.

From a DJ POV, I go by BPM as well. Example: next song always going up in speed and placing ballets or slow songs in that order as well. Meaning, if a ballet is @ example 60 BPM, I would play a ballet after a song that is example: 110 bpm. That way the Ballet doesn't sound slow or out of pace... dragging and boring.
Next song after a ballet @ 60 bpm might be something around 125 BPM. ""

DonnyThompson Sat, 06/10/2017 - 03:14

Beyond what my colleagues have suggested, I would add that artistically, it's subjective. Most would likely tell you that you probably don't want to start with a slow song - but again, it's subjective.
It all depends on your own vision for the album.
From a mastering POV, there are some "guidelines" - but still, this is also fairly subjective, as a good mastering engineer can make work any sequence you prefer.
Albums like Pink Floyd's DSOTM began with a slower tempo song ("Breathe") as did The Beatles' Abbey Road album (Come Together).
Let your project speak to you, try different song orders to see how it "flows" ...and it also wouldn't hurt to have a fresh pair of trained ears take a listen to it as well - such as a good mastering engineer (who gets your musical style!) to tell you what they think.
Sometimes we already know what we want in terms of how we want the album to flow - but other times we're not quite sure.
And, there is such a thing as being "too close" to the project as well, which can influence your decisions in a way that may not best serve the album as a whole.


pcrecord Mon, 06/12/2017 - 09:28

JoaoSpin, post: 450877, member: 41554 wrote: what are your criteria do define the song order of the album?

For some people, it's totally random and others it's a very complicated process.
Some may go with the intencity and speeds of the songs. Others will kind create a logical order based on the stories of the songs.
Others will also take the key of the songs into the choosing process to make better sonic transitions...

I rarely make these choices myself. Most of the time my customers already have an idea about the order or they choose it on spot when it's time to burn them the first final CD.
But if I had to do it, the stories order would be my first consideration (I think) ;)

dvdhawk Tue, 06/13/2017 - 07:32

We live in a world of ever-shortening attention spans, and almost infinite choices of other ways to distract and entertain ourselves. Now more than ever, new music has to be really compelling to sustain a new listener's attention.

Unless it's absolutely essential to the vibe to establish a particular mood before you get to the 'hit(s)', I would try to make a strong first impression and put the best song(s) most likely to catch their attention first. If you've got a number of songs that you think have 'hit' potential, you have the luxury of peppering them throughout the album. I think of it like putting together a live setlist, or writing a song. It has to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It will ebb and flow, but you have to keep the new listener interested. As a rule of thumb, I'd try to keep the first song short and indicative of what they're going to hear when they keep on listening. If you're going to lead off with an 18 minute magnum opus, it had better be an absolute barn-burner. If you're a known act, with a known style, and a strong fan-base, you can take a lot more liberties, because they have a pretty good idea what they're going to get when they buy your album. If you're trying to win over new fans (or get the attention of someone in the business who can help your career), you have to keep them engaged from the start. Songs with overly long intros, aren't usually a good way to start either. If the first song has them reaching for the 'Next Track' button due to boredom, it will taint their opinion of the rest of the songs and their impression of the album.

But with that in mind, there have been plenty of bands who thought (or their label insisted) they needed one more song on their album, and put some filler song on there that they thought was a dud - and of course that turns out to be the big hit song on the album, and they have to perform that 'dud' for the rest of their lives. So sometimes a little outsider perspective can be useful. You can do a mini focus-group with some trusted friends and see which song(s) they like best.

For the most part, I don't believe the general public listens to albums in their entirety like they used to. We've become so jaded (myself included). It's so easy these days to just download the hits, and then pick and choose a playlist of just your favorite songs. I recently drove across the state and listened to 4 of my favorite albums along the way - start to finish. Honestly, it has been months since I had the luxury of doing that on another long drive. It's just not often I get that much uninterrupted listening time.