Culture · November 22, 2021


When a new movie comes out, we go to the cinema and watch it from beginning to end. The same thing we do with a series, watching the sequence of episodes from first to last, season after season. We do not read a book at random in the hope that it will be possible to understand the narrative being presented.

Ideally, when we listen to a music album, we should be aware of the story that this artist wants to tell us, choosing the order of songs and the ideal sequence to listen to the album. We then will probably select our favourites from the entire album, however, using the “shuffle” function the very first time you listen to an album, to me doesn’t seem fair to the artist who created it.

Last week, singer Adele released 30, her long-awaited new album and together, they caused a small but significant change within Spotify.

Ever before the release of Adele’s album, the streaming service presented shuffle the first option to play an album, and more so, for those using the free version of Spotify, this option was the default, always playing entire albums in random order. However, as of last Friday, an album’s main play button no longer offers the option of shuffle listening.

There are musicians who are imbued with the art of telling us stories and an ardor that deciding to arrange songs on an album is crucial to their work as it interferes with an elaborate narrative and this affects how they want their listeners to enjoy their work.

Although Spotify still gives us the option to listen to albums in random sequence, the first option respects the way the artist want to tell us their story.

And after listening to 30, we clearly understand why the singer’s request to Spotify sounds more than pertinent.

For example, in an interview with Vogue, Adele says the album was recorded to help her eight-year-old son understand why she and her father decided to divorce.

I wanted to explain to him through this record, when he’s in his twenties or thirties, who I am and why I voluntarily chose to dismantle his entire life in the pursuit of my own happiness.” 

It made him really unhappy sometimes. And that’s a real wound for me that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to heal,”

she added.

The album that goes in a sequence of who really tells you a story has in its third track, which comes straight after Easy On Me and is called “My Little Love”–a gem that has audios of a conversation between Adele and her son Angelo, and we can understand that the subject is precisely about the breakup.

Adele: Mummy’s been having a lot of big feelings recently.
Angelo: Like how?
Adele: Just, like, mummy, I’m, I’m, the feeling that I have…Like, um, I feel a bit confused
Angelo: Why?
Adele: I don’t know. And I feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing.
Angelo: Oh, at all?
Adele: At all.
Angelo: And that would make me go…

Excerpt from shared conversation during music.

In response to Adele, Spotify’s official profile just said

Who would refuse Adele’s request?

Since the release of “Easy On Me”, Adele has been Number One on Billboard’s The Hot 100 and I don’t think that position would change any time soon. The singer had already stayed for 4 weeks with Hello, released in 2015 and for 14 weeks with Rolling in the Deep, released 2010. In just one week, her 25th album sold 3.38 million copies on hitting US records. With all of her albums before the 30th release, Adele had sold 120 million copies.

Ready to hear the story Adele has to tell you?