A Second Look at the Spotify Redesign

Spotify's latest update improved the library sidebar at the cost of visual clarity. I made some improvements.

Two steps forward, one step back

Spotify recently included me in an A/B test of their new interface - giving access to filtered views of the library from the sidebar. It's not easy to introduce powerful new functionality without radically rearranging an application's layout, so I viewed this update as a win. However, I had a few ideas for improvement.
The grey boxes they introduced add clarity but come with costs - they require more padding throughout the interface to function, introduce a second layer of visual stimuli without clear hierarchy, and represent a departure from Spotify's brand staple "chromeless" design (where UI elements are secondary to content). Take a look at their design:

Cleaning up the hierarchy

To improve user's focus on the main browsing area, I retained the new functionality while removing these grey boxes, using fades instead to denote the end of a section. While I was in the interface, I also slimmed down the "Friend Activity" tab to improve focus on the main browsing area.  I finished with a small drop-shadow on the browsing area for a touch of extra emphasis (a-la Arc Browser).
While subtle, these changes reinforce the main browsing window as the primary area of user interaction, with browsing and social discovery features playing a clear second.
Thank you for your time! If you have any thoughts, I would love to continue the discussion on Instagram or LinkedIn!