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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Wish List: Album Play Mode for Music

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

Okay, bear with me, because this is a weird one.

As long time followers may know, I listen to a lot of movie scores. Like, a lot. And though I occasionally dip in and out of albums, listening to a track here or there, more often than not I’m using them as background music while writing or walking, starting from the first track and listening all the way through the end.

Music on iOS

Here’s the problem, though. Sometimes, I take a break from the album to play a song from somewhere else—for example, last night I needed to subject my wife to They Might Be Giant’s “Shoehorn with Teeth.” Alas, this morning, when I opened the Music app for my walk to the coffee shop, intent upon picking up where I left off on the Rise of Skywalker soundtrack1, I realized that I had lost my place.

There are some workarounds for this, especially if you’re a careful user of the Up Next queue, but I certainly don’t remember to put things in the queue all the time. Fortunately, I was able to scroll back through the history of tracks I’d played and see the last cue from the album that I had listened to.

But I think it would be cool if there were, say, an “Album Play” mode, perhaps triggered by a long press on the Play button in Music’s album screen. I envision this borrowing some functionality from the Podcasts app, which always remembers not only which episode you were listening to but exactly where you were, because nobody wants to try and find the place where they stopped listening.

So in this Album Play mode, even if you went away to play a different song from a totally different place, you could Resume the album playback exactly where you left off. Moreover, maybe it’s an opportunity for Apple to finally do some style of Handoff for Music, letting you then pick up the album playback on a different device. (Again, Podcasts has long offered this functionality.)

I realize this might be of kind of limited appeal, but it seems to me the kind of feature that Steve Jobs—music fan that he was—might approve of. Listening to an album is a kind of sacred experience, like reading a book or watching a movie. We’ve got enough distractions on our devices these days; it might be nice to minimize the interruptions when we’re listening.

  1. Mini-review: Despite how nice it is to hear the revisiting of the Emperor’s theme, the Episode IX soundtrack just doesn’t click for me, probably for many of the same reasons that I struggled with the movie. Except in this case, I feel like Williams abandoned too many of the themes from earlier parts of this trilogy. I’ll keep listening and see if my opinion changes, but I haven’t been driven to revisit it that many times. 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]

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