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ASU's 'book club for music' builds community through album listening, discussion

The Album Listening Club brings students with a shared love of music together while giving them a place to jam out

The Echo-ASU-album-club

Members of the Album Listening Club discussing about the artist Frank Ocean at the Hayden Library on ASU's Tempe campus on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024.

Listening to music can be a personal thing — just you, your favorite song, and some headphones, getting lost in the feels and escaping from the world. Music can connect you with your emotions, and make you feel less alone.

The Album Listening Club at ASU takes that connection a step further. Every Wednesday in Hayden Library, people come together to talk about a chosen album and make lasting friendships.

Chloe Bracy, a graduate student studying global education, has nearly three years of experience being involved with the club and has listened and discussed countless hours of music with the club.

She joined ALC in January 2021 and now serves on the e-board as vice president. Though her role can at times be difficult, she said that she enjoys planning events and going to meetings the club hosts. 

Describing itself as a book club for music, ALC operates on a simple yet effective premise: at every meeting, members gather to discuss an album they have listened to throughout the week. Like in a book club, members delve into the intricacies of the chosen piece of art.

"What I do like is you're guaranteed at least one person at your table to know what you're talking about, so it's hard to feel isolated," said Mary Kahraman, a senior studying biochemistry and a regular attendee of ALC meetings.

The club provides not only a platform for shared appreciation but also an environment that nurtures friendships. ALC creates a space where individuals from diverse backgrounds and tastes come together to celebrate the artistry of music.

The connections fostered through ALC often help those navigating the challenges of a new environment.

"I joined Album Listening Club at the beginning of my freshman year," said Olivia Zeitlin, a junior studying communication and German and ALC's head of marketing. "I was coming from out of state and wanted a space to make friends. I ended up loving the club, and it became something I looked forward to every week."

ALC extends its reach beyond physical meetings, using technology to maintain connections. The club has a Discord server for its members, creating an online community where discussions can continue beyond the confines of the library walls. 

In addition, students can follow along with the club's latest news on Instagram and discover member's playlists on Spotify.

Once a year, the ALC goes a step further in recognizing outstanding musical achievements within its community. The ALC Music Awards, which were hosted this year on Jan. 17, bring members together to vote on popular albums in various categories, turning the appreciation for music into a participatory event.

It adds a competitive yet fun element to the club's dynamic, reinforcing the sense of community among its members. This year's categories included electronic, pop, R&B and K-pop.

In essence, ALC is a place for people of all kinds to gather, listen, debate, attend concerts and play music. It transcends the conventional boundaries of music appreciation by fostering a genuine sense of community.

Through shared experiences and open discussions, the ALC proves that music has the power not only to move us individually but also to unite us.

Edited by Sophia Braccio, Sadie Buggle and Grace Copperthite.

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