Crowdsource: How different folks attack a brand new album

By Shawn McFarland

It’s one of the most fun feelings in the world.

You see it on social media. Maybe you just stumble across it yourself. But when you see your favorite artists just dropped a new album or mixtape, excitement fills your mind and heart.

It’s different for everyone, how they go about the first listen. Some get behind the wheel of the car, others stick a pair of headphones in. There’s some that will jump to the nearest speaker and play the album on the loudest decibel.

I caught up with a handful of music fans of different ages and backgrounds from around the country and asked a simple question: how do you listen to a brand new album?

Blake Benard, senior, Arizona State University: I use headphones because that usually gives me the full production effect. Like a Nine Inch Nails album albums is COMPLETELY different when you wear headphones. Most albums are like that I’ve found. Also, I put it on repeat for like 3-4 rounds before I close out, spend my entire day really just listening to any new album that I like. Once I’m done there I usually just listen whenever I get the chance (longboarding, driving, hw, etc.)

Gage Nutter, sophomore, Springfield College: My go-to for an artist that I really care about would probably be to put some headphones on, lay in my bed, and listen to it without any distractions. No twitter in the background or anything. Just the music.

Kendra Carley, junior, UMass Amherst: I usually listen to it when i’m working out, because i’ll stay at the gym for like 2 hours so it gives me time to listen to them all.

Ben Carter, junior, West Virginia University: I usually just play it out of my iPhone speakers tbh.

Some chose to elaborate on more intricate aspects of listening, specifically how you break up which parts of the album they listen to.

Benard: Honestly for me it depends on the genre and then quality. Like I’m getting into punk rn and I know I couldn’t take 24 songs of this even thought its’ good. I hated every minute of Views because it felt like 24 singles called an album….but Miranda Lambert’s JOURNEY of an album last year was incredible. She told her life story and struggles in well, thought out, lyrics and music and I didn’t mind it at all and I don’t normally like long country albums. If it’s just more music for the sake of more music, I don’t typically dig it. That’s why I ended up liking Blonde less and less.

Nutter: I listen to it front to back because I feel like the first song really sets the tone for the rest of the album. Although the first song on the record can be complexity different from the fifth song, I feel like the first song really pulls the listener in (almost like a lede I guess). On the first listen through I’m really trying to take all aspects in: lyrics, instrumentation, genre, etc. But that all depends on the artist, if it’s just some artist I have heard of in passing and feel like giving their album a try, I’ll play it in the background. But if it’s someone I am really dedicated to then I will focus on every song.

Carley: So I usually either click shuffle or top to bottom, never bottom to top. Also I like love music, so I like the way the beat and chorus go, so basically if it’s super catchy.. then once I hear the songs multiple times is when I listen to the actual lyrics.

Jake Keene, freshman, Wheaton College: First time I listen front to back and first listen it depends on the artist but someone like Drake I’m listening for the songs that will become radio hits so i can stop listening to them right away but if its someone like J. Cole I listen for lyrics.



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