If a daily, or hourly, scroll through Instagram is part of your routine, you may have come across the account @an_album_a_day_ol. Perhaps you joined the now 26 thousand followers, or, after seeing a low rating on your favorite album, ignored the follow suggestion. Whichever choice you may have made, Oren Liebenthal 23’s Instagram has become hugely popular since its inception almost a year ago.
After one year of posting an album review, almost, every day, Oren Liebenthal ’23 is happy to say that @an_album_a_day_ol’s success is far more than he ever expected. He started the account in January with no intention of garnering an audience, but rather as a way to expand his music taste and better understand music history.
“It was my new year’s resolution to listen to an album every day,” said Liebenthal. “After two weeks of listening and giving each album a personal rating in my notes app, I told my brothers about it. They said that I should make an Instagram account.”
The account, for a while, had around 400 followers mostly of whom were his friends and family. It was great: Liebenthal posted short reviews in each caption and rated albums from 1 to 10—back then he stuck to whole numbers. Now, each album is rated with a decimal, and certainly many of his followers would call his content more than just great.
“It was January 14, when I started posting. For the first three months or so it was just small paragraphs,” said Liebenthal.
Liebenthal’s account began to really grow in August, when singer Erykah Badu reposted his review of her 2000 album Mama’s Gun.
I was on a plane at the time, and when I landed, I was like, why do I have 50 likes on this post? What happened?” he said. “Over the next two weeks, I went from 400 to 1000 followers. And then the more I posted, my following grew exponentially.”
The almost daily posts on @an_album_a_day_ol now each have 3,000 to over 8,000 likes, and often over 100 comments. Liebenthal’s content reaches an audience far larger than it did just five months ago—a reality that is both exciting and means that followers are more comfortable leaving strongly-worded comments.
“It’s kind of impossible for there not to be people who are mean and kind of crazy,” said Liebenthal. “Sometimes if I give a bad rating to a song that people feel really connected to they’ll get really mad and leave hateful, but also funny, comments.”
Liebenthal has learned to understand the difference between hate comments and feedback, and is learning how to respond to both.
“If people get mad at the rating, I don’t really care that much. I’m not claiming to be someone who knows everything or has superior taste. But, if someone gives me constructive feedback, I have a real conversation,” he said.
Liebenthal does everything he can to make his process fair. He has a comprehensive rating system and does not numerically rate albums that he feels are “classic.” These albums, he thinks, have historical importance and are loved for their nostalgia or interesting context, in addition to their musical greatness.
“I did it first for the Beatles albums that I reviewed,” said Liebenthal. “I feel like there are all time great albums, and even if I don’t think that all the songs are ten out of ten, I’m not in a place to critique them.”
With now almost a year of reviewing experience, Liebenthal does not want to stop anytime soon. He hopes to pursue writing, and possibly writing about music, as a career.
“I had no idea that it was a possibility or something that I even wanted to pursue a year ago,” said Liebenthal.
The account has reinforced his own love of all types of music, and Liebenthal is excited for what being part of the music review community has in store for him.
“I would love to write album reviews for publications like Pitchfork in the future,” he said.
Though @an_album_a_day_ol is still Liebenthal’s personal way of connecting with music, he is grateful that he gets to share with an ever-increasing audience.
“A lot of people have reached out saying that my reviews have inspired them to listen to different music,” said Liebenthal. “It makes me happy that I’m having an effect on people but it’s not the main point of my account; it’s more about being able to write, and listen.”