Adele (who ultimately can do no wrong) tweeted at Spotify, asking them to remove the shuffle option for albums. She wants the consumer to listen to them as the musician intended. In what I can see only as a (albeit brilliant) piece of publicity, Adele reminds us of the correct way to listen to music: as the musician created it.
I have to confess that I support her in this and would even put myself forward as a purist when it comes to music appreciation. I’m not purist-luddite, who listen to their dusty vinyls on a wind-up gramophone; nor am I purist-got-something-to-prove who know what each album’s producer had for breakfast; and I am not purist-evangelist who can’t stop talking about the importance of live music.
I’m just a purist who believes in the concept album and is willing to trust the musician in their presentation. I’m happy to give myself to the narrative, instead of wanting to create my own. And if I do want a mishmash of musical marauding, I’ll turn on the radio.
Sometime last year, I cancelled my subscription to a popular music streaming service (not the one mentioned in the title) and I bought a decent CD player. While I enjoyed the ability to discover new artists (here I add the new ‘purist-discoverer’ with saviour-like tendencies) and would occasionally read the write-ups, I had started to become annoyed at the fact that my ability to listen was dependent on a monthly fee of 10 euros. That’s 120 euros for the year. 1200 euros for ten years. Plus, the missed out interest that could have been accumulated in the bank. So, I bit the bullet and cancelled my subscription and have not looked back. I feel so musically free not to be in a contract. Generally, subscription services, a trend of the late 2010s get my goat and Adobe Uncreative Smog are daylight robbers.
Adele, I thank you for drawing out attention to the current binge-addiction to music, to the passive, unaware, sheeplike tendency to ‘put on a playlist’, to the need for greater civic and music appreciation, and, of course, to your new album. But I don’t think you have gone far enough.
This being said, I suppose you wouldn’t, considering how much money you’ve probably made from this mediatic coup.