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I have been listening to it a lot recently and everytime I've thought: what a great album.

or

I listened to it a lot recently and I thought: What a great album.

Which sentence is better? I think the first one is.

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    I think to make the contrast more obvious, you should include "every time" (it's two words) in either both or neither of the examples. – Damkerng T. Apr 8 '15 at 17:52
1

Most idiomatic:

I've been listening to it a lot....

No need to say "recently" with this tense, as it already means recently.

Idiomatic:

I've listened to it a lot recently...

We need "recently" here if the listening has been recent (because it could mean "over the course of my life" without a more specific time reference).

Not idiomatic:

I listened to it a lot recently... [not (quite) OK]

The simple past "listened" and the adverbial "a lot" and "recently" are discordant. (But you will hear more than a few native speakers say it this way and it's just a little jarring to the ears of those speakers who tend to use tenses in a more nuanced manner.)

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    I would delete the "(quite)". I think it's markedly not okay, and a native speaker would not deliberately say it this way. "A lot" implies a continual action, which necessitates the "have listened," i.e. over the course of time, as opposed to a single event that just plain "listened" implies. – user124384 Jun 20 '15 at 19:25

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