Friday, June 23, 2006

Pet Peeve of The Week: Hidden Tracks

Since so many things annoy me, I decided I'm going to do a "Pet Peeve of the Week" post every Friday.

Today's topic is an oldie but a goodie - hidden audio tracks on CDs. At one point in time when CDs were a newer concept and just catching on, including hidden tracks might have been considered a ground-breaking concept or a way to pleasantly surprise fans with an unlisted song. In fact, the first instance of a hidden track actually is thought to be on a vinyl record - 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' by the Beatles - but the practice is all too common now. When you load all of your CDs onto your iPod and you wonder why it doesn't hold nearly the number of songs it claims to in the commercials, you realize that file sizes are a huge issue, and songs with one or more hidden tracks embedded in them clocking in at 16 minutes are the bane of your existence. Yeah, I'm sure there's some sort of audio editing software that would allow you to break up or cut down songs, but the average person isn't going to spend time fooling around with that. A lot of rap albums also had "interludes" between songs that were actually embedded in a track. Since these tapes were meant to be played "in order" - a little story unfolds over the course of the album. Now when you want to include one of these songs in a mix for a playlist, you have to either forward through the end of certain songs or put up with the break in the flow of music. D'AH!!!!

More recent, particularly bad offenders include Dido - with "Closer" (a good song that I would've liked to have been its own track) combined with "See the Sun" - making the combined entry last 10 minutes and 23 seconds. The most maddening is "Eskimo" by Damien Rice - one of my favorite songs - but when not one but TWO additional tracks (neither of which I really like) are added in - it lasts 16 minutes and 6 seconds. COME ON.

I was amazed to find this fairly good compilation of albums with hidden tracks - all it did was serve to make me even more mad, though. Hopefully this practice will stop now that the iPod generation has arrived.

- e

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