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The Art of Not Shuffling

The other day I was with my sister and my friend and I was about to put on some music. My friend suggested an album. I asked “How should I play it?” to which she responded, “Not on shuffle.”

The art of not shuffling is not a common occurrence nowadays. Most of the time we may just be in the mood to listen to a certain artist, but not a specific album song-by-song. But not many people consider this very specific factor:

An album is a work of art, there’s no denying it. And each song is arranged in a specific way to properly express this work of art that a band or artist works very hard to make.

There are several examples of why an album should not be shuffled. A major one is because an album, directly or indirectly, is used to tell a story, song by song. If you shuffle the album, you’re completely ruining the work of art and its intended message by not listening to how each song relates and flows into each other.

One album that tells a story is Green Day’s “American Idiot.” In this album’s story, the main character is the son of rage and love, the Jesus of Suburbia. Jesus of Suburbia hates his hometown and sets off for the city, where he meets a character seeming to be a sort of alter ego, St. Jimmy, and a girl called Whatsername.  Lead singer of Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong, has even noted that these two characters are supposed to represent the “rage and love” theme of the album.

This is only the basis of the album. The rest you actually have to listen to to fully understand the story implied in the album. (Not to mention, there is even an entire musical made based on the story from this album!)

There are countless other bands/artists that tell stories throughout their albums: My Chemical Romance’s “The Black Parade,” a person dying from cancer; Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs,” all about growing up and mourning childhood, to name a few.

Moral of the story: to fully comprehend and enjoy the beautiful work of art that is an album, listen to it song by song in its entirety. Shuffling is not the way.

So give it a try! Listen to an album and enjoy the full intended meaning it was made to give. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

-Sonia

P.S. – If you have any good story-themed albums, comment and let me know!

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