I have always believed a great album is reminiscent of a World Series Champion Batting Order. There's a reason why they are World Champs. They have all the pieces in places that brought them to the ultimate stage: The superstars (the HITS), the role-players and the proper management to get the job done.
With that being said, I wanted to show my thoughts as we build the ultimate lineup card...for an album. Imagine the album has 2-3 HIT songs, 4-5 that epitomize the unique sound, a ballad to slow it down and a dark, dark song to end it all that will leave everybody scratching their heads. Here we go:
Track 1/Lead-Off: You got to get the album off to a good start (we need baserunners!). Set the tempo. Is this a rock album? If so, make sure it rocks! The rest of the experience can be contigent upon grabbing the attention right here.
Track 2/On-Deck: Keep the tempo up. If the lead-off track didn't do the job, this one better! We're building up to somethign good. The runs will start coming soon. Don't lose their interest.
Track 3/In-the-Hole: This one must be somebody that can get on base, essentially a track that is consistent. It doesn't need to be the hit song, but it should be indicative of the band's unique sound.
Track 4/Clean-Up: The Star Track. The most POWERFUL guy on the team. He'll bring it all home. Everybody can rock our to this one!
Track 5: Still a "big-bopper." He's there to protect the clean-up hitter. You don't want to pass this one over, or in this case "intentionally walk" this guy.
Track 6: The Next Hit. Do not crowd the order. Who knows, this one could be THE one, but you can't predict it until it happens. If it does, we can adjust accordingly...on the re-release.
Track 7: Slow it down. Show 'em a different side. This one is not as powerful as the "meat" of the order, but he gets the job done.
Track 8: It's hard to fill out an entire quality lineup card. If you get caught napping after the last one, he'll sneak up on you. If you have to stretch it at all, this is the place to do it.
Track 9/End-of-the-Order: The other side is tired from the last eight. They are ready to be done...in a bittersweet kind of way. What's left? Very simple. Leave them asking the question: What just happened???
There you have it. Now, that is a quality album lineup! Can you handle it?