February 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm

‘Listen’ Music Player Lacks Buttons, Long Lists, Boring Design

Video still-frame courtesy of MacPaw

Two and a half years ago, we put together a round-up of the best music apps for not crashing your car.

None of them were as pretty or as functional as MacPaw Listen (free, iOS), which lets you play any of the music in your local or iCloud library without touching a single button, or looking at a single list. Albums and playlists are represented as blobs that you can swipe through with ease.

To be fair, the albums and playlists themselves display as lists, but once you start playing them, those disappear… and how else would you see song titles? We forgive Listen for those short lists.

Anyway, once you find something to listen to, tap it to play. Now, you can grab the blob representing that song and swipe it vaguely towards one of six icons, whose locations are easy to memorize.

These let you skip, heart, share, send to AirPlay, or return to the main menu of album/playlist blobs. To pause, just sort of mash the center of the now-playing screen, to stop the music and triggering a nice little animation.

As the below video suggests, you can do all of this without looking at the screen, once you get the hang of it, making this a great app — probably the best we’ve seen yet — for not crashing your car, bike, skateboard, or shoes for that matter, because it is of course possible to walk straight into a lamppost while poring over a big spreadsheet of music.

As with most music player apps, this one only plays music that’s part of the Apple subset of your overall music experience, by which we mean that it only plays songs stored locally on your iOS device or streaming from iCloud, as mentioned above — and that means no Rdio, Spotify, non-Apple music lockers, or anything else you like. But if you’re willing to restrict yourself to that for a drive, jog, or ride, Listen is a great value at free.

Our screenshot gallery offers an idea of what this all looks and feels like:

Here’s the official video from MacPaw: