Think back to the last 10 songs you heard. Were they from the same artist? Were they an eclectic collection of various artists? Was there much thought as to which song followed the next? In today’s world of music, we have the ability to listen to any song, by any artist, at any given time with ease. This capability allow us to make “mixtape” playlists easily to use at our convenience or shuffle our iPods to our liking. Although there are perks to being able to do this, the act of listening to an album from start to finish is becoming a lost art.


When artists make an album, a considerable amount of thought goes into the sequence of the songs. Placing songs in a certain order controls the flow in which the songs transition into each other, the meaning one is meant to derive from listening, and the overall feel and mood of the album. As a listener, playing an album from start to finish respects that order and careful placement. Many times in listening to songs out of that order, the conversation between songs can be lost.


Finding the time to sit down and truly listen to an full album is not easy, but when most albums average 40 minutes, it can be done. While listening, there is the temptation to have it as background noise while performing some other task. The next time you are thinking about watching a movie or surfing the internet, listen to your favorite album instead. Turn your speakers up loud, so the sound fills the room. Lay down, and take in as much as you can. Try to derive what you can from the meaning of each song and how they are juxtaposed. When you finish the album, give the whole experience thought. An exercise in listening to an album from start to finish can be a way to relax and a way to think in a different and more contemplative manner.


It is not be reasonable to do this all the time, and mixing songs is a great way to create your own flow and meaning to songs. Full album listening, however, is a way to experience music in the way the artist intended.


What is your favorite album to listen to start to finish? Let me know in the comments below or tweet at me @whatsthesich