Remember the days when late ’90s britpop bands would release all sorts of B-sides on their CD singles, but they’d be inexplicably split into three CDs? Turns out it wasn’t just an attempt to squeeze money from desperate Radiohead-ites. Back in the days when vinyl laid the roost, it was not uncommon to see “Maxi singles” with several extra tracks on the B-side. Even more if it
was were [took myself to subjunctive school] a 12″ rather than a 7″ single.
At first, CDs followed suit and featured several tracks, but in 1998, after complaints from non-remixing dance acts, the UK Chart Supervisory Committee reduced the maximum running time from forty minutes to twenty, though vinyl was still allowed forty minutes. The result, for bands that still wanted to release large number of B-sides with their singles, was the multiple CD morass, with a single being released multiple time. In 2003, they changed the rules again to allow forty mintues, but at that point, who was buying CDs anymore?
The likely Masonic-linked (lie) UK Chart Supervisory Committee also has rules about EPs. Anything longer than 25 minutes or four tracks (excluding multiple versions) is an LP.
Which brings us to Sufjan Stevens, who dropped his All Delighted People EP on an unexpecting world on Friday. Sure, it’s great. Beautiful and familiar, yet taking his music to new sonic places. For instance, the overlapping guitars beauty of “Heirloom,” with its haunting promise that “when you walk inside I feel the door.” But EP? C’mon, now: 8 tracks, 60+ minutes? Fess up, Mr. Stevens, your five-year silence is over: this is a follow up to Illinois, an LP. And a good one. So sayeth the Holy Society of the UK Chart.
Stream All Delighted People FREE at Bandcamp or buy it for an EP-priced $5.