Longreads Guest Pick: Todd Olmstead on 'Random Access Denied'

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Todd Olmstead is Mashable’s Associate Community Manager and an occasional music writer. He lives in Brooklyn.

My favorite longread this week is ‘Random Access Denied,’ by Sasha-Frere Jones in the New Yorker. It takes you through the mind of the reviewer, writing about a big-deal album, and peels back the curtain a bit. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that initial listening party? And yet, it’s about more than just an album. It’s about the way we listen to music. Frere-Jones, despite being a critical listener, isn’t lamenting leak culture or the rush for journalists to judge albums, though no one would blame him if he did. Rather, he presents an honest case for how we listen: Oftentimes in phases, via iterations of songs and bits of marketing, piecing together our opinions as we go. Rarely do we as listeners arrive at the finished product on album release day anymore, and that’s okay. As we come up on the summer’s next massively anticipated music release — Kanye West’s “Yeezus” — it’s worth this reflection before we rush in.

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