The Art of an Album

Unknowingly, on this quiet Tuesday evening, I set my Spotify setting to alphabetical order, shut Shuffle off, and pressed Play.

I started singing my Heart Out by The 1975 as I busied myself around my apartment with random chores.

About an hour later, I found myself nearing the end of Adele’s 19 album.

What struck me as odd though, weren’t her sultry jazzy tones, but the sad realization that I hadn’t listened to an album from beginning to end since the days I flipped through the lyrics of a newly purchased CD.

Pretty sure that was at least ten years ago.

I joined millions of other music fans in the modern glory of live music streaming services. Mainstream media makes sure everyone knows that access is in, and ownership is bulky, aged, and wasteful.

No, I am no better than the average millennial. I happily (and cautiously) jumped on the Spotify Premium bandwagon only a brief two months ago. With a one hour commute to work each way everyday, I had enough of the GEICO ads.

But the obsolete have a way of leaving behind residue of simple beauty.

Sure, you could say I feel a lot more free since I don’t own thousands of CDs, especially when I move quite often. But I find that I no longer have the emotional attachment toward the things I use and interact with everyday. And without the feeling of “this thing is mine,” I also lose the ability to really cherish its value, meaning, and creator’s intent.

And on this Tuesday night, this particular “thing” is a full music album. The album as an art form, a medium to express the artist’s story, and as an object of beauty, has been drowned out by all the hit singles, shuffling, and streaming.

I must have access to thousands of albums on Spotify, but only rarely would I choose to listen to every album one after another. It takes time, patience, and at least an ounce of discipline to not press Next when I am just not in the mood for a particular song. But at the end of each album, I feel a sense of closure and a better grasp of the artist’s style and meaning.

Shockingly, I don’t feel as antsy to get to a different song or style. I no longer have music-ADD (aka Shuffle). Instead, I am sitting here, writing for the first time in awhile, simply making myself comfortable in the mood and style the artist has created for me in this album.

I don’t think I’ll be pressing Next for awhile…

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