How the Artist Intended

I don’t remember who it was but maybe last week or so, someone posted about how one of Daft Punk’s albums because a little mini movie when one watched all of the music video in order. This got me thinking. Artists put so much time meticulously arranging the songs on their album in a certain order and yet I just blow past this. I, like most people, tend to listen to songs in a playlist, on shuffle. Even when I’m listening to an entire album I’ll put my iPhone on shuffle and enjoy the songs that way. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, I wondered if I was missing out on some extra meaning or layer of complexity by not listening to  the album straight through.

Album Cover for “An Awesome Wave”

Bastille’s “Bad Blood” Album Cover

So instead of listening to my Bastille/Alt-J playlist on shuffle, I listened to both albums straight through and there definitely was a noticeable difference. I think that the songs flowed much more smoothly and that I was listening to the complete story instead of just segments of it.

This was especially true with Alt-J’s album “An Awesome Wave” which was definitely designed to be listened straight through. The artists even include 3 short interludes in the album which aid the transition from the different musical/lyrical points of the album.

So if you’ve never listened to your favorite albums straight through, I highly suggest it! While i probably won’t listen without shuffle every time, I think from now on, the first time I listen to an album it’ll be straight through.


4 thoughts on “How the Artist Intended

  1. eduvert1

    I have to agree with you here. When I purchased the new Drake album, my phone was on shuffle, so when one of the songs came on I was a little confused as to why it started the way it did. Then I listened to the whole thing in order, and it was even better than I had thought it was when I listened to it fragmented. I find it amazing to think that songs can tell a story, and with the quick way to only purchase some songs from an album and not all, I feel like we are missing out on that. But I like when artists can paint a picture for you through their music.

  2. joellerae

    Before reading your post, I never realized how important it was to artists to place each of their songs in order. Ever since I was younger, I have always listened to albums in the right order without thinking about it. It never occurred to me that listening to songs out of order would give a different affect on how you perceive the album. also, your post made me realize how much time must go into making an album. Not only does an artist take the time to write and produce songs, but they also must think critically about which songs to place in the correct order so that the listener gets the most out of the album.

  3. juliamoore3

    Like most people, I also listen to my music on a shuffled playlist. I had never even considered that listening to the songs in sequence makes a difference. I am going to check out the daft punk album that you mentioned. Over the summer I saw The Killers in concert. It was clear to me that the setlist had been strategically ordered to start the concert on a popular song, and end the encore with their number one song. Also, no two songs from Battle Born were played back to because the audience is less familiar with The Killers most recent album. A while ago I bought The Killers Hot Fuss album on itunes, however, I don’t I have ever listened to the entire CD in order all at once. I am going to do that soon, and maybe it will make me appreciate the album even more.

  4. mjpwoodruff

    I really agree with what you’re saying, and I’ve noticed that too. Especially since I’ve been creating a bunch of playlists for friends recently, I’ve realized that I do care what order I put the songs in, because that matters. I tend to listen to albums in order anyway, and only put it on shuffle when I want to change it up, but I’ll take more care to listen to things as the artist intended now.


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