Growing up, I remember watching my Aunt toil for months at a time making quilts. As a school teacher she would lug around her sewing machine, needles, and other supplies to work, and participate in sewing groups after school. The process seemed arduous. Watching my Aunt work through each layer, section, and patch, with meticulous attention to detail, was impressive and inspiring. Now, if you’ve ever watched someone make a quilt, you know that quilts don’t totally make sense while they are being made. Sometimes the themes of the patches can seem off, the color schemes imbalanced, the shapes unsuited for each other – but when they’re finished, quilts are presented as a beautiful work of art combining once seemingly disconnected pieces.
In many ways, albums are like quilts. A song, like a patch, may not make much sense on its own, but when placed within the broader context of an album it can blend in like the seemingly misplaced patch. Color schemes, like lyrics and chord progressions, are used as the artists palette to shape emotion and draw attention. And like the process of making a quilt can take months, or years, albums, too, call for meticulous and detailed attention. But most importantly, albums, like quilts, tell stories.
Over the course of the year artists have told a variety of stories — stories that wrestle with the present while imagining a future; stories of revolution and unrest; stories that dream of love; stories of redemption and triumph, and much more.
And now for…