Playing with Amarok 2 (First Impressions)

So I recently installed Amarok 2 on my Ubuntu machine. I like what I’ve seen so far. Now that I’ve had a taste of Songbird, I feel that I reserve the amarok_iconright to demand a lot from my media player. To start, Amarok’s new interface is pretty. It’s simple, not too cluttered, and fun to use. I’m not crazy about the mock multiple desktop thing they have going on. It just feels like they couldn’t decide on what people wanted, so they just gave us the option to move a very limited selection of tools around in a very limited space. This is something that Songbird got right. I want to feel like I can customize the layout, the look, and the feel of my player. This never bugged me before in Amarok 1.4; rather all I looked for was functionality.

As Songbird has been maturing, so has its ability to do whatever it is that I require, except for making active playlists. This is something that songbird_iconAmarok has always done right and has done so again. I’m not one for making playlists, but I do like to queue up albums to play consecutively without constant interaction with the player. A sort of “set it and forget it” (please don’t sue me Ronco). This brings me to another quam I have with Amarok 2. What is the difference between adding something to a “queue” and adding to my playlist? From what I can tell, adding to the queue adds to the end of the current playing track, and adding to the playlist adds to the end. I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but I just think it’s unnecessary and just confuses the user.

Besides this, Amarok 2 flies compared to the previous version. The iPod support is also miles ahead of its predecessor in terms of support and speed. I used to have to set aside part of my day in order to add new music to my iPod. It’s now a simple click to transfer. (Though I do wish Amarok could do a temporary trans-coding for unsupported file types for IPod transfers, but hey I’m using Linux with an apple product. Linux dorks can’t be choosers).

I think as it stands now, I’m left in that purgatory between media applications. One better for active listening at my computer (Songbird), and the other stronger suited to setting music to play while I occupy my time with other things (Amarok 2).

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