Does The Order You Listen To An Artist’s Music Affect Your Perception Of Them?

Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and I’m feeling philosophical today.  I have been inadvertently making a lot of posts about rap/hip hop recently.  I planned on making the XXL 2017 Freshmen Ranked list, then JAY Z came out with his album, which I reviewed here, and I then got the suggestion to make a review on Watsky’s “x Infinity” Album Review, so I did that.  Needless to say, even though I like rap, I’ve been spending a bit too much time on one genre.  Plus, after my tenth post (woo-hoo, celebration time) I decided that I wanted to do something other than a review.  So, I am going to answer this question:

“Does The Order You Listen To An Artist’s Music Affect Your Perception Of Them?”

(And yes, I might be talking about some hip hop on this one, too, just because of the way I will be answering it, so don’t freak out on me.)

I came up with this question when I was watching a review by one of my favorite YouTube music reviewers (Musicthony Reviewtano) for Yelawolf’s Love Story.  This was the first Yelawolf album I listened to, and I listened to it relatively close to the time I started getting into rap.  I listened to other artists and albums before him in rap, but this album was probably one of the first twenty I listened to.  I honestly enjoyed the album.  It is no perfect ten, and it probably would not even get a nine of an eight if I did a review on it, but I liked it.  I liked how he was not afraid to stay in the confines of rap in his songs.  I liked how it sounded different from much other rap.  And I liked the parts when he did rap, too.

However, if you were the check out the review from Anthony Fantano/theneedledrop on the hyperlink up there, you would see that he had a different view on it.  He did not like it as much as I did.  There were some minor qualms he had with it, but what I got from the review is that he mainly did not like it because it is not the gritty Yelawolf he enjoyed more before Yelawolf signed a Shady Records Deal.  However, even though I listened to more Yelawolf albums before I saw this review, I was not able to relate to his point of view.  I like both the “Love Story” Yelawolf that I first listened to and the gritty, “Trunk Muzik” Yelawolf that Mr. Fantano preferred.

That is what got me to think about this question.  So, I started thinking about my past music experiences and am now going to reflect on them here to try to answer the question.

I remember when The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” became a big radio hit.  While he had a dedicated fanbase that was with him when he made “The Trilogy” and “Kiss Land”, “Can’t Feel My Face” undoubtedly brought The Weeknd’s name to the front of the mainstream.  This song surely got me to start listening to him, so I ended up buying the album which that song came from, “Beauty Behind The Madness”.  I feel that the more I listen to it, even now, the more I like it.  It has plenty of references to the moody atmosphere he portrays in “The Trilogy” and “Kiss Land”, but it is also quite a departure from these albums as well.  It has less ambiance in it and more, overall dark beats.  More simplistically, the album is less spacey and, in my opinion, more developed than his previous two.

This album got me to start listening to his other projects, namely “The Trilogy” and “Kiss Land”.  If you could not tell from the previous paragraph, I did not like these as much as “Beauty Behind The Madness”.  They did not feel as finished and, besides for the ones that had more unique beats or a feature, telling the songs apart was kind of a struggle.  However, I still kind of did like them, and these two albums are cult classics to The Weeknd fanbase.  I feel that if I were to listen to one of these albums first, I might have liked them a bit more.  Maybe not significantly more, but I would not have compared them to the greatness I mark “Beauty Behind The Madness” with.

Even though my experience with The Weeknd helps with this question, I feel that my biggest case lies in Eminem.  Arguably one of the most influential rappers of all time, Eminem is a versatile artist that has been through many phases or stages throughout his musical career.  If one just took a look at both Marshall Mathers LPs, which were made more than ten years apart from one another, one could definitely tell the difference between the two.  Eminem has just changed so much stylistically through the years, which makes him a good candidate to talk about this question with.

The first Eminem album I listened to was “Marshall Mathers LP II”.  Most Eminem fans (at least those who listen to many other styles of rap and don’t say all Eminem music is equally great because it’s Eminem music) would agree that Eminem was better back in the early 2000s than now.  I can agree with this to a point.  After all, my favorite Eminem album of all time is “The Eminem Show”, which was made in 2002, and my favorite song by him, “Lose Yourself” was a 2003 release.  However, the first Eminem album I listened to was made in 2013.  Since I was such a fan of this album, this makes me like both Eminem music from the early 2000s and early 2010s with almost the same amount of respect, just on different levels of respect because the style of both are so different.

Not only was the “MMLP2” the first Eminem album I listened to, but also the first rap album I listened to.  Before this album, I always thought rap was just a drawl of the basic drugs/money/sex topics through preconceived notions given to me mostly by my family.  However, out of morbid curiosity, I checked out the song “Rap God” (from the “MMLP2” album) one day and my views were flipped around.  I quickly listened to the album it came from and almost immediately became a huge fan of Eminem.

Now, If I were to have listened to the first “Marshall Mathers LP” or “The Slim Shady LP” as my first rap album experience, I probably would have despised it.  These albums, even though they are great masterpieces of rap that will go down in history as such, definitely portray the common drugs/money/sex themes.  If I had listened to these albums first, I would have just kept my closed-minded ways and said that these albums proved my point.  However, since I listened to the generally milder “Marshall Mathers LP 2” first, it turned around my perspective and made me more ready to dig deeper into rap lyrics, ultimately making me look at Eminem’s early albums, and all other rap albums, under a different kind of magnifying glass.

So, my answer to the question “Does The Order You Listen To An Artist’s Music Affect Your Perception Of Them?” is “Yes”.  Listening to the first album of an artist gives you a first impression.  If it is a bad album from that artist, it may take a lot for you to listen to more of said artist’s music, but if you listen to a good album from them, you will be eager to listen to their other albums.  Listening to a certain album or song from an artist may also make you more critical towards their other music, for you know what they are capable of.  So, I think that the order you listen to an artist’s music does affect you perception of them and their other music.  But, this is just the way I listen to music (and, need I remind you, my opinion).  Maybe the answer would be different for someone else.  But, the way I see it, my answer stays solid.

Thank you for reading this…thing I made.  If you liked this article, please make sure to follow my website, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future content.  Also, if you have a song you want me to review, please let me know in the comment.  Until then, keep listening to good music!  I know I will




7 thoughts on “Does The Order You Listen To An Artist’s Music Affect Your Perception Of Them?

  1. Very interesting topic you’ve brought up, I have a question if your introduction to say Eminem was in a less than favorable way would that turn you off to all other potential projects

    While I agree introduction is key, what about the body of work as a whole, could one bad album have it where you not listen to the rest, just a thought

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I was very turned off of rap at that time based on the stereotypes, and I believe that those albums would have probably fit that stereotype more, but since I listened to an album that gradually slided me into rap and its intricacies, I was more open to the topics on those earlier albums I mentioned.


  2. Interesting commentary, and I agree with you in many cases. Sometimes, I’ll dismiss an artist or band primarily based on either 1) my own preconceived music bias or tastes, or 2) a single track from that artist or band that I simply did not like. And honestly, I think many others do that too, even if they deny it.

    I’m much older than you, as well as most other bloggers, and hated most rap when it began to emerge on the music scene it the late 80s/early 90s. I loathe gangsta rap in particular, and just didn’t care to give rap a chance – which I now realize was my loss. I distinctly remember my reaction the first time I heard Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” I thought it was awful, yet I was intrigued by the lyrics and beat. I knew who Eminem was, but not much about him as a person or artist, and also learned that “Lose Yourself” had already spent many weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. So, I listened to it again with an open mind, and after a couple more listens I was hooked on the song, and it’s now one of my all-time favorites! I also loved his follow-up single “Without Me” and then began checking out his earlier music, some of which I liked and some not.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s