Should 7-Track Albums Become a Standard?

Kanye West
via Diego Quintana / CC-BY-SA-2.0

Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of huge music releases. G.O.O.D. Music began their summer takeover at the end of May with with Pusha T and his outstanding body of work, Daytona, which is his third studio album<. A week later, Kanye West himself followed with the release of his eighth studio album, Ye. Another week webnt by, Ye emerged again with his joint album with the charismatic Kid Cudi, titled Kids See Ghosts. On Friday (June 15), Nas’ highly anticipated album will (finally) be released. Teyana’s sophomore album will then come the following Friday (June. 22). As stated, each of these releases are monumental, heavily anticipated projects that fans have been so desperately craving. Want to know what each of these projects has in common? They are all seven songs in length! Kanye even posted a video of what appears to be him vibing to some beats with the tracklisting of each expected drop. Each album had seven tracks numbered.

This brings up a very interesting question: Should all albums follow in the pattern that Kanye has set for his artists? Are seven songs enough to truly grab the attention of excited listeners? There has been a mixed review pertaining to this specific number of songs on each album. Some individuals have expressed their disapproval for only having seven songs to jam to and dissect. On the contrary, others feel the idea is great and very refreshing to today’s listener and how the music will be received and analyzed.

During his Daytona listening party, Pusha revealed that all of these albums engineered by Ye would indeed be seven tracks only! “Seven, you know…Definitely the God number. All of the projects coming out is seven, that’s what we going for,” Push began. “You know G.O.O.D. Music is anti-everything. If everybody doing 18 tracks, we doing seven.”

In his interview with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, Pusha shared that the seven-track album idea “was totally Kanye’s idea.” He continued, revealing that he wasn’t initially was not on-board with it, but Kanye was able to convince him. “He (Kanye) was like, ‘Man I feel like people are being bombarded with these long albums, I feel like seven is the real number. We can get it across short, concise… all of us.’ ” When asked about what the qualifications were for an album to be considered a full-length album, Push shared that Kanye and the team looked specifically at Grammy qualifications. “We were looking for the Grammy specifications last night… 15 minutes and five distinct songs.”

Personally, it does not seem to really… satisfy me. As soon as you listen, it’s basically over and you’re left wanting more! It emits mixtape or EP vibes instead of a full-length album, especially if the artist in question usually produces lengthy albums (which each of the noted artists have done in the past). It is somewhat like going to a movie and leaving without the plot being resolved in any shape or form. Will there be more? It just leaves this unfinished aura in the atmosphere, making fans expect and desire more.

From this, it shows that Kanye and the G.O.O.D. Music are very confident in their ability to produce meaningful projects that will get the message across without such a large number of unnecessary tracks. The proof may be in the pudding as Yeezy’s Ye became his eighth No.1 album on Billboard and every song on the album is on the iTunes charts! Pusha’s Daytona debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and goes down as his “highest charting album” to date. He also occupies four spots on the charts as well, making this his first tracks on the Hot 100 chart in four years! With both Nas and Teyana’s releases nearing, listeners should prepare themselves to see yet another seven-song tracklist.

While this may work for these artists, it may not be what everyone else can do. As Pusha stated, G.O.O.D is anti-everything else. They go against the grain and do things that are not generally considered “orthodox”. With that being said, every artist could not (successfully) drop a seven-song album and do numbers as such. Some artists truly need the fluff. They need 12-16 tracks to really get the message and/or story they are trying to convey across whatever body of work they are creating at that time. I’m positive there would be riots in the streets if Beyoncé or Jay-Z dropped a seven-song project without warning.

The point here is: everything does not work for everybody. While G.O.O.D is thriving with this format of musical releases, others simply may not receive that same praise and welcome with a format as such. It definitely should NOT become a pattern with future album releases.