Albums over playlists

Last year I fell in love with a Spotify feature that created personalized playlists several times a day around what it predicted was your mood. They had ridiculous names like:

I enjoyed not having to spend any willpower picking music. Most of the selections were on point (although I did take it personally how many times “yearning” was a keyword). The algorithm knew how to spit out more of what it already knew I liked.

Then they took the feature away.

None of the other Made For You playlists felt quite the same. Instead of one playlist that screamed “THIS IS FOR RIGHT NOW,” I got a dozen or more playlists each day to choose from.

But another thing happened in the last few weeks: I’ve started listening to entire albums again.

In the days before music streaming services became my default, albums were my preference. If I was really in a groove working on something, I might just loop an album.

Some prime examples:

Back then, music was in a concrete library. If I wanted something to vibe to, it was either spend lots of time curating a personal playlist (aka procrastinating), or find something that I knew I could just loop and run with it.

Maybe it comes from growing up in the CD and 56K modem era, where it was easiest to listen to complete albums. It’s odd to say there’s a nostalgic quality to putting on a whole album, but here I am.

Even though it’s early in the year, I feel pretty safe saying that 2023 will be all about albums for me.

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