What's an album?

So I got an iPod for Christmas, along with everyone else in the free world.  I was impressed with how quickly my 1200 song library downloaded, especially considering it was only USB 1.1.   

Anyway, I've been thinking about something ever since Fred started posting his Top 50 Albums postings.  I didn't have a lot to add, not because I don't listen to a lot of music... I listen to a ton...  but because I never listen to albums.  Even when I was younger, I was listening to the radio and taping songs off the radio onto tapes.  Many of the albums I bought were just to get a song or two and perhaps I discovered a third or fourth, but that was about it and I'd skip through the junk.  Sure there were a handful of whole albums that I liked:  most of Pink Floyd's albums, Tommy, Led Zepplin, but very little of the other genres that I listened to were worth getting a whole album over.  Techno.... I dunno.. that always seemed like a song by song genre to me, getting played on the radio and in clubs.  I never saw anyone actually purchase a techno or electronica album.   Seems like most of those artists are happy to distribute that freely, because what they really want are club gigs and radio play.   

Anyway, point being, I wonder if this is a generational thing.  When the downloading wave hit colleges, right smack in the middle of my college years, the focus was on getting songs.   Middle aged iPodders today like Larry at GM are more focused on albums because most of their digital music comes from their own CD collection, uploaded album by album.  I don't know anyone plus or minus at least three years from me whose digital music collection was mostly downloaded as a whole album.  In fact, that was suppossed to be one of the reasons for the music stealing phenomenon... that it was a backlash against being forced to consume music in album sized bites when there were so few albums with more than just one or two good songs. 

It really hit me when I put all my music on iPod and I realized how much of a mess it was.  Songs and artists were poorly labeled and not grouped into albums.  Clearly, the iPod is designed with Uploader Larry Aged 37 in mind more so than College Napsterboy Charlie Aged 25.  I think I have about two weeks worth of relabeling and cleanup to do.   We need to throw some playlists on this mother, because 1200 individual songs with no rhyme or reason just isn't going to cut it.  This morning, I listened to a selection from the "A"s, for no other reason than they came first.  The selections?   Apple of Sodom by Marilyn Manson, As Far As Heaven is Wide by Garbage, Astrocreep by Rob Zombie...   clearly the "A"s are a sketchy bunch.