Listening to a New Album a Day

I tried listening to at least a new album a day for two weeks in order to find new music.

This article was tagged with: Music/Vinyl

There are 3001 words in this article, and it will probably take you less than 16 minutes to read it.

This article was published 2023-12-19 00:00:00 -0500, which makes this post and me old when I published it.


Introduction

There is so much art out there and I could probably listen to a different album everyday before I die without ever running out. I am someone who craves novelty and music is no exception, finding new music is an amazing feeling. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy revisiting my favorite songs though, I absolutely will listen to a song tens of times in a week after first discovering it. As a relatively new owner of a record player I wanted to find new music to expand my taste as well as my collection; to combine that discovery aspect with the repeat enjoyment aspect.

This is also an exercise in practicing patience for me because usually when an album comes out I skip around within the songs to see if I want to revisit any of the songs/album as a whole. This is something where streaming has definitely spoiled and enabled me. I think that sitting back and playing the album through would be a good challenge for me, with the added benefit of allowing me to absorb the atmosphere of the album as a whole.

Through this exercise over the course of 15 days, I listened to 22 different albums that were mixtures of 33 different genres created by 18 different artists. I saved 10 albums to my Apple Music and bought two albums on vinyl.

Reflections on the Process

At first I wanted to keep up this New Album A Day exercise indefinitely, but after doing so I realized that it wasn’t sustainable for me. This kind of music listening and discovery feels almost inorganic to me because it is the antithesis of how I normally listen to music. I think that it is a good exercise to do, but it’s like in trying to discover a lot of new music that I felt like I wasn’t really listening to my already loved music. The power of keeping up streaks has a crushing grip on the human reward system and it helped me in a lot of ways, but also made it feel like sometimes a chore to keep up, especially if the album wasn’t to my liking.

It’s a music discovery sprint, so I think that when I do this again that I will lean into it as such. Like a software development sprint, I will try to keep it within a two week timebox. For two weeks my sole focus will be on trying to discover and listen to new music, and then in the time afterward I will be able to really listen and appreciate my new and old music. In some ways this is like a Reverse Pomodoro Method wherein the work (listening) portion is a small part, and the rest is the break (savoring).

Something else that I would change about how I go about this process in the future would be having a backlog of albums. At first I was just selecting random albums that first came to mind that I wanted to listen to, but then towards the middle I started to keep a list of albums that I wanted to check out. I also had a friend suggest some albums which I appreciated and in future sprints I will cast a wider net in asking for recommendations.

Albums I Listened To (11/17/23 - 12/1/23)

A note on ratings: My ratings are in terms of personal enjoyment only. In my thoughts section I might comment on the production or lyrics which explains why I liked or didn’t like the album, but I certainly don’t know enough to be a critic of music.

Day #1, Album #1 (11/17/2023, 11am): Veteran by JPEGMAFIA

  • Genre: Experimental Hip-Hop/Avant Garde
  • Discovery Mechanism: I would consider myself a fan of JPEGMAFIA and a lot of more dedicated fans cite this album as a classic of his.
  • Listening Device: 1 BY ONE Record Player with Built in Speakers
  • Listening Location: My apartment living room
  • Rating: Fine
  • Saved to Apple Music: Some Songs
  • Favorite Songs: Baby I’m Bleeding, Panic Emoji
  • Thoughts:
    • It is definitely less polished than his newer releases sound wise, but you can still see his talent and style that makes him unique as an artist. However his style is a bit polarizing in this album I think it is too avant garde and didn’t click for me.
    • I like the production and the vibe of the album but despite that than that I didn’t really enjoy the album. Nothing against it, just wasn’t for me I think.
    • There’s definitely songs that I liked on the album, but for this exercise it’s more about the vibe of the album on the whole, which I was not as much aligned with.

Day #2, Album #2 (11/18/2023, 10:45am): It’s the Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot By Teen Suicide

  • Genre: Indie Rock/Post-Punk/Psychedelic Folk
  • Discovery Mechanism: I am a Teen Suicide fan and wanted to go back to listen to their whole discography
  • Listening Device: My Chevy Cruze’s speakers
  • Listening Location: In the car on the way to my brother’s swim meet
  • Rating: Fine
  • Saved to Apple Music: Some Songs
  • Favorite Songs: Living Proof, The Big Joyous Celebration, My Little World, The Hurricane, The Stomach of the Earth
  • Thoughts:
    • I like the starting two songs and back half of the album
    • It is a good Teen Suicide album and they hit all the hallmarks of their style but this album just didn’t do it for me, I prefer the two albums previous to this release.
    • Too many songs and too long of an album in my opinion if there isn’t going to be that much variation
    • I still want to explore more of their discography so I’ll probably listen to their other albums sometime during this series

Day #2, Album #3 (11/18/2023, 6:00pm): This Is Why by Paramore

  • Genre: Alternative/Indie
  • Discovery Mechanism: Paramore is so huge and so I had heard a lot of rave reviews of their comeback album
  • Listening Device: My Chevy Cruze’s speakers
  • Listening Location: In the car on the way from my brother’s swim meet
  • Rating: Did Not Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: No
  • Favorite Songs: You First
  • Thoughts:
    • The instrumentation is fairly interesting, and then the vocal performance by Haley is great but the lyrics and tone of all the songs just didn’t connect me at all and I’m not quite sure why
    • I really enjoyed Riot! and Paramore by them and I’m not sure if they were able to maintain their core charm for me

Day #3, Album #4 (11/19/2023, 8:30am): Human by dodie:

  • Genre: Indie Pop/Folk Pop
  • Discovery Mechanism: I had heard of dodie from a friend in passing and came across her again on Apple Music and thought I would try something new for this challenge.
  • Listening Device: AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: Exercise Bike in my parent’s house
  • Rating: Did Not Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: No
  • Favorite Songs: Monster
  • Thoughts:
    • She has a very interesting approach to pop music which I can respect, but didn’t click with me
    • She’s a great singer and songwriter and the songs are definitely well produced I just don’t think it’s for me.

Day #3, Album #5 (11/19/2023, 3:45pm): Ghosts by Jeremy Enigk

  • Genre: Indie Rock
  • Discovery Mechanism: He’s from Sunny Day Deal Estate which is a band I found from TikTok
  • Listening Device: iPhone 14 Speaker/AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: Family room of my parent’s house
  • Rating: Kinda Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: Some Songs
  • Favorite Songs: Ancient Road, Empty Row, Onaroll
  • Thoughts:
    • The varying styles of instrumental backing in the album made it great in the background because you had some nice strong vocal moments with chill backing but nothing captivated my attention or fancy
    • I don’t love the gruffness of his voice but I can appreciate it in certain circumstances
    • I enjoyed this album far more than I thought I would, but not sure how much I’ll revisit it

Day #4, Album #6 (11/20/2023 9:40am): Yes Lawd! by NxWorries

  • Genre: R&B/Funk/Neo Soul
  • Discovery Mechanism: Recommended by my friend DJ
  • Listening Device: AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: Walking around the neighborhood and sitting in my parent’s living room
  • Rating: Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: Yes
  • Thoughts:
    • Chill and triumphant much different than usual sad stuff i typically listen to
    • Fun jazz and soul influence not super religious but more than i’m used to

Day #5, Album #7 (11/21/2023 12:10pm): Bad Vibes Forever by Teen Suicide

  • Genre: Indie Rock/Noise Pop
  • Discovery Mechanism: I am a Teen Suicide fan and wanted to go back to listen to their whole discography
  • Listening Device: AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: Exercise bike at parent’s house
    • Listened while reading Gleanings by Neal Shusterman; I can’t always read and listen to music at the same time but it can definitely influence the vibes and play on your emotions in subtle but profound ways Gleanings is mostly about pondering immortality and death and the haunting lofi soundscape of Bad Vibes Forever amplified the resonance of the text for me
  • Rating: Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: Some Songs
  • Thoughts:
    • Lofi reverb aesthetic that I love from early indie stuff
    • A short album that is more straightforward than their later work

Day #6, Album #8 (11/22/2023, 2:10pm) A Whole Fucking Lifetime of This by Teen Suicide & American Pleasure Club

  • Genre: Emo/Indie Rock
  • Discovery Mechanism: I am a Teen Suicide fan and wanted to go back to listen to their whole discography
  • Listening Device: AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: Walking around the neighborhood
  • Rating: Fine
  • Thoughts:
    • Short album that is pretty good as background noise and seems closer to Teen Suicide’s core sound but nothing standout for me
    • I’m not familiar with American Pleasure Club so this could have been their sound tempered with Teen Suicide’s
    • I also couldn’t listen to all of the songs on Apple Music I imagine there were samples that couldn’t clear or something so perhaps this doesn’t count as a full listen through

Day #7, Album #9 (11/23/2023, 9:00am) abysskiss by Adrianne Lenker

  • Genre: Indie Folk
  • Discovery Mechanism: I am a Adrianne Lenker/Big Thief fan and wanted to go back to listen to more of her discography
  • Listening Device: Ikea Eneby 30 speaker
  • Listening Location: Family room of parent’s house
  • Rating: Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: Yes
  • Thoughts:
    • Not as catchy instrumental as songs but still same great vocal performances

Day #8, Album #10 (11/24/2023 9:25am): Ágætis Byrjun by Sigur Rós

  • Genre: Post-Rock/Ambient/Art Rock
  • Discovery Mechanism: Hivemind YouTube channel
  • Listening Device: AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: Bike at parent’s house
  • Rating: Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: Yes
  • Favorite Songs: Svefn-g-englar, Flugufrelsarinn, Ný batterí
  • Thoughts:
    • This is probably the first album that I would seek out for buying on vinyl but since it was released in ‘99 i think it could be tough
    • Reminds me on Idioteque by Radiohead if it was in Simlish
    • Since i’m not a person who can really process song lyrics listening to an album in another language and so atmosphere based really plays into that

Day #9, Album #11 (11/25/2023 11:25am): Sunbather by Deafheaven

  • Genre: Blackgaze/Atmospheric Black Metal
  • Discovery Mechanism: Hivemind YouTube channel
  • Listening Device: 1 BY ONE Record Player with Built in Speakers
  • Listening Location: My apartment living room
    • While reading This Is How You Lose the Time War
  • Rating: Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: Yes
  • Favorite Songs: Dream House
  • Thoughts:
    • I really like Blackgaze, the combination of shoegaze and black metal—Shoegaze is a genre that I’ve found i’ve been getting into more recently and then I’ve always loved some good raw screams
    • This is the first one where I bought the vinyl! So partial mission success for finding new music to find vinyl to buy

Day #10, Album #12 (11/26/2023 8:45am): Harmlessness by The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die

  • Genre: Indie Rock/Emo
  • Discovery Mechanism: Hivemind YouTube channel
  • Listening Device: AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: Working out in apartment gym
  • Rating: Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: Yes
  • Favorite Songs: You Can’t Live There Forever, January 10th 2014, I Can Be Afraid of Anything
  • Thoughts:
    • I don’t love the lead vocals voice but the atmosphere and production choices are interesting and fun
    • So interesting that this hits a lot of the hallmarks of midwest emo but they are from connecticut,,, perhaps the desolation is same but the affluence is different in those areas

Day #10, Album #13 (11/26/2023, 2:45pm): Éthiopiques, Vol. 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale (1969-1974) by Mulatu Astatke

  • Genre: Jazz/Funk
  • Discovery Mechanism: Found a song off TikTok
  • Listening Device: 1 BY ONE Record Player with Built in Speakers
  • Listening Location: My apartment living room
  • Rating: Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: Yes
  • Thoughts
    • Great environment created with sound and had a lot of fun grooves
    • I had been wanting to get into Jazz and this is a direction that I am definitely curious to explore more of
    • I would absolutely buy this on vinyl but it’s only on CD :(

Day #11, Album #14 (11/27/2023, 9:00am): Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? By The Cranberries

  • Genre: Alternative Rock/Indie Pop
  • Discovery Mechanism: Linger was super viral on TikTok
  • Listening Device: 1 BY ONE Record Player with Built in Speakers
  • Listening Location: My apartment living room while working
  • Rating: Love
  • Saved to Apple Music: Yes
  • Thoughts:
    • I love a bunch of the songs off this album so I wanted to give the whole thing a listen
    • I really love her voice and accent
    • I bought this on vinyl!

Day #12, Album #15 (11/28/2023, 8:00am): ÁTTA By Sigur Rós

  • Genre: Post-Rock
  • Discovery Mechanism: I had listened to Ágætis Byrjun and wanted to explore more of their discography
  • Listening Device: AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: On the Metro on my way to work
  • Rating: Fine
  • Saved to Apple Music: No
  • Thoughts:
    • Very atmospheric and angelic per usual but didn’t hit the same for me
    • Glad to see that they’ve maintained their style over so much time

Day #12, Album #16 (11/28/2023, 10:40pm) Look At Yourself by Emmure

  • Genre: Metalcore/Nu metal
  • Discovery Mechanism: Heard about them from a coworker talking about how he saw a guy urinate in his own mouth during a mosh pit for this band
  • Listening Device: AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: On walk home from Metro and in apartment
  • Rating: Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: Yes
  • Thoughts:
    • At first i thought this sounded like it was released 2013ish but it was released in 2017 and i think that’s accurate it sounds very of the time
    • Dynamic album with vocals and instrumentation and style weaving
    • Throughout listening the album really grew on me

Day #13, Album #17 (11/29/2023, 8:45am): Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem

  • Genre: Dance-Punk/Electronic Rock
  • Discovery Mechanism: Heard the name a lot and wanted to check them out
  • Listening Device: 1 BY ONE Record Player with Built in Speakers
  • Listening Location: My apartment living room
  • Rating: Fine
  • Saved to Apple Music: No
  • Thoughts:
    • I had heard the name of the band before so I thought I would check them out I really like their name but I didn’t know what I was expecting, but this was not it
    • I didn’t hate it, but it’s not my favorite

Day #13, Album #18 (11/29/2023, 8:30pm): Path by Kraus

  • Genre: Shoegaze
  • Discovery Mechanism: Hivemind YouTube channel
  • Listening Device: 1 BY ONE Record Player with Built in Speakers
  • Listening Location: My apartment living room
  • Rating: Love
  • Favorite Songs: Bum
  • Saved to Apple Music: Yes
  • Thoughts:
    • I really enjoyed this and this jump-started my shoegaze kick
    • I wanted to buy this on vinyl but it is all sold out since this is a bit of an older record

Day #14, Album #19 (11/30/2023, 3:15pm): All Love Lost by Joe Budden

  • Genre: Hip-Hop
  • Discovery Mechanism: Recommended by my friend DJ
  • Listening Device: AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: On Metro ride home
  • Rating: Fine/Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: No
  • Thoughts:
    • Pretty interesting storytelling and beats like the guitar sections
    • He has some pretty wild lyrics and sometimes sounds like an angry oldhead

Day #14, Album #20 (11/30/2023, 5:30pm) View No Country by Kraus

  • Genre: Shoegaze
  • Discovery Mechanism: I listened to Path and wanted to listen to more of their discography
  • Listening Device: AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: In apartment gym and in living room of my apartment
  • Rating: Like
  • Saved to Apple Music: Yes
  • Thoughts:
    • Checking it after I really enjoyed the earlier Kraus album this one isn’t as dynamic but I still really like it

Day #15, Album #21 (12/1/2023, 8:15am) Immunity by Clairo:

  • Genre: Indie Pop/Bedroom Pop
  • Discovery Mechanism: I had heard Bags and wanted to see what the rest of her album sounded like
  • Listening Device: AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: In apartment gym
  • Rating: Fine
  • Saved to Apple Music: Some Songs
  • Favorite Songs: Bags, Sofia
  • Thoughts:
    • Pretty decent but not my favorite
    • I am not sure how much I like bedroom pop, I don’t usually listen to super laid-back music

Day #15, Album #22 (12/1/2023, 8:00pm) Animal Drowning by Knifeplay

  • Genre: Grunge/Slowcore
  • Discovery Mechanism: Apple Music recommendation
  • Listening Device: AirPods Pro 2
  • Listening Location: In apartment gym
  • Rating: Fine
  • Saved to Apple Music: Some Songs
  • Favorite Song: Promise
  • Thoughts:
    • Interesting and varied instrumentation
    • One song I really like, but the other stuff didn’t really stand out all too much

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