Why I hate surprise albums

By  | Dec 05, 2018, 07:59 PM

I like to think of myself as a reasonable man. An average Joe if you will. I enjoy the simple things in life and I’m relatively easy going. I laugh at good jokes, I get annoyed when Liverpool loses a game and I don’t like my eggs too greasy. I don’t ask for much.

Having said that, I will mention something that rubs me up the wrong way: surprises. Boy, do I loathe surprises. I hate the air of secrecy around them. The sneaky text messages and Whatsapp group chats about who’s in charge of distracting you for a couple of hours while they hide behind your sofas and shout “SURPRISE!!” as you walk into your (would-be) quiet home carrying a 12 pack of beer. Beer that comes in glass bottles. Glass that breaks. *Sigh*

Now, imagine my disdain when I woke up on Friday morning to see a text message from a dear friend and fellow hip-hop head stating that Drake had just released a surprise album entitled If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Well let me tell you I was not a very happy chappy , and not because of the fact that the album cover looks like a Floyd Mayweather suicide note.

Why, I hear you ask?  Because I grew up in a time when albums generated a buzz at least a good 2 months prior to commercial release. Even in the event of a leak, it was usually only a couple of days before you got the original copy anyways and in most cases you could hang in there and purchase the real deal (because piracy is bad and every time you do it, a fairy loses its wings).

Fast forward a few years to the era of Queen B and the Beyhive and now we have artists dropping EP’s like bags of weed when the cops pull up. You see, Mrs Carter started this whole thing back in 2013 when she dropped her self-titled album which went on to sell 800 000 copies in its first week. Not too bad considering nobody knew about it until moments after its release.

I mean the nerve of these people! My fear is that this trend will only become more common practice as Mr Drizzy’s latest body of work generated a whopping $700 000 in just 2 hours. (Iggy Azalea’s Reclassified dropped in November last year and has sold a total of 5,242 copies to date. But that’s neither here nor there.)

Some of us have bills to pay, and albums aren’t cheap. But we appreciate quality and we support you and your craft because your songs have been the soundtrack to some of our best nights out on the town. So for the sake of being courteous to those of us who do this thing called “budgeting”, I implore you to please, give us at least a week to get the change out from between the sofas. The way I see it if anybody should drop a surprise album, it’s Dr Dre. And it better be free. #BecauseDetox

I guess what I’m trying to say to these artists is that we like your music, we like buying your albums even though you clearly don’t need the money and some of us still appreciate the anticipation of waiting for an album to drop, the saving up for it, the trip to the music store on Friday after work and then running home to blast it out the speakers on repeat until we know all the lyrics and we’re sick of the songs.

Plus, some of us are Android users, so no iTunes for us. So now you’re kind of making us pirate your music. (And we really don’t want to do that because every time we do, a unicorn dies.)

So, esteemed ZAlebs readers, what say ye? Is my sentimentalism holding me back from embracing the iPhone age of music distribution, or am I just a purist who doesn’t like fixing things that aren’t broken? Let me borrow 2 cents in the comments section below.

Where to find Mfingo Ntaka, the blogger behind this article 

Tanduxolo Mfingo Ntaka is a British educated entrepreneur and I.T. guru. He likes reading, intellectual debates and Bacon. This is his first  article as ZAlebs Street Blogger; look out for the next one coming up very soon! In the meantime, follow him on Twitter @NtakaTanduxolo