March 18 marked the day for two things on Pitchfork: live (and early) streaming of New York rockers The Strokes’ fifth album Comedown Machine and the unveiling of Pitchfork Advance. Both are genius and I’ll save you a wall of text: The album shouldn’t be slept on like it’s another Angles. Grab your best pair of headphones and dive right in. You won’t regret it.
Pitchfork Advance is a big deal, at least a big enough deal to land a spot on the website’s navigation bar. Advance allows artists a chance to gain extra buzz on an album early — a week in advance if this is typical for future releases. Users aren’t stuck with the typical, boring look of pre-release streams. You know, the tracklist with a play button next to each track and an album cover on the right. Everyone is obsessed (and should be) with interaction, and that’s the goal in mind for Advance. Pitchfork says the idea is to “emulate the classic album experience.”
The first Advance is pretty, I’ll give it that, but it isn’t changing my album experience. I have a big picture to look at, whether it’s the zoomed-in album cover or a band member’s silhouette, but other than that, it isn’t much. The best part is that everything is right where I need it. Tracklist? Check. Social media sharing? Check. Link to buy album? Check. I’m looking forward to the future of Advance. I’d love a set of lyrics to each song, or even better, personal commentary to each song so we don’t have to sit through YouTube comments arguing about the song meaning.
UPDATE: After unveiling Pitchfork Advance with Comedown Machine, they have come back strong with a selection of eight albums, all of which will be gone by April 2. This includes albums from Chvrches, Wire, and IO Echo. It’s a beautiful world, isn’t it?