Shuffle

August 22nd 2o16

Today I finally got to listen to Watsky’s new album. I’ve been waiting to listen to this album since before it was even announced. It’s the first new album from this artist since I started listening to him. Watsky’s new album is called ‘x Infinity’ and it was released last Friday. Having had a busy weekend, I didn’t get a chance to listen to it until this morning on my commute to work. Today was a day where I didn’t mind that my commute takes me an hour, because I got to listen to an album that I’d been waiting for.

I downloaded it to Spotify on my phone before I left, got in my car, plugged in the aux cord, clicked on the first song and pressed play. I’d heard the first song before, because it had been released on YouTube before the album. I listened through the first couple of songs, and about twenty minutes into the album/journey I wasn’t blown away. The songs were good, they just seemed all out of sync, and out of whack. To be honest, I was pretty disappointed.

Twenty minutes and four or five songs later, I realised that something was wrong. This one song came on that I could just tell was the final song on the album. Firstly, the song kept going and going, it was about ten minutes long. And secondly, I dunno, I could just tell that it was the last song on the album. But when the song finished, the album didn’t, and it started playing the next song. I knew that was the ending song, but the album wasn’t over. It didn’t make sense, because I knew for a fact that the album was just over an hour in length – I’d checked to make sure I’d have time to listen to all of it – and by my watch I should’ve still had twenty minutes of the album left. That’s when I figured out what had happened.

I checked Spotify on my phone (don’t worry, my commute is like 90% standstill traffic) and I was right in my assumption. I’d been listening to the album on Shuffle.

I’d fucked it, I’d ruined it.

Playing an album on shuffle is sacrilege. It’s like watching the Star Wars films out of order. Actually, that’s a bad example considering that they were literally made out of order. It’s like watching the Lord of the Rings films out of ord… wait… that’s the same thing if you include The Hobb- Oh fuck it you get my point.

An album was produced, recorded, and assembled in a specific order for a reason. The whole album tells a story, start to finish. You don’t pick up a book and read the chapters in whatever order you feel like, you read it start to finish. (That’s a better analogy)

So my first listen through of the album was ruined. It may not make sense to say that shuffling through the album ruined it for me, but to me it’s natural. Especially with an album such as this one where the genres of music jump about frequently and – if listened to in an unintended order – seemingly randomly.

Needless to say, my second listen through on my homebound commute was a lot more satisfying. There’s a sequence of songs towards the end of the album that all follow the same naming conventions: “Lovely Thing Suite: xxxxxx”, these songs in particular only work if you listen to them in order. Of course they still work as stand-alone songs, but within the context of the album they are intended to be listened to in a specific order.

For the next week I will solely listen to this album on repeat, as I get to know it, and then it will be filed and sorted into my rotation of albums/playlists.

I will not make the mistake of listening to it out of order again.

Until tomorrow, shu-shuffling, shuffling.

Jacn

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