Friday, February 11, 2011

Playlists Are Important

     For some reason there is a negative connotation associated with that guy who makes a playlist for everything.  A mixed tape, a mixed CD, a playlist- each generation has their thing and there is always that person who thinks it's cool to make it.  I am that guy.
     I'm lucky enough to have friends who support this habit, and when I give them a CD or a playlist, they accept it with genuine enthusiasm.  Five years ago when I lived in South Carolina, I made a two disc set titled "Low Country Mix" for a friend.  She still listens to it.  I'm that good at making mixes.
     There is an art to it.  I generally subscribe to the High Fidelity rules of mix tape/CD/playlist making.  (There is also a Wiki-how page with similar rules.)  I don't just throw ten songs I like on a mix and hit go.  I think about it, I mull it over, I listen and relisten.  I'm making the mix for a reason- maybe for a person's birthday, a long car trip, or a holiday/vacation event.  I think about themes and rhythms.  And most importantly, I think about the order of the songs.
     The order is important.  The order is what takes you on the journey.  If it's correct, you hardly notice it.  The songs flow seamlessly from one to another, carrying you along from your dirt road out of town to the lights of the big city.  When it's wrong, it's jarring.  When one song fades out and then BOOM, the slamming drums of another begin, you're out of the moment.  You're thinking about the order, and probably about how stupid the person is who made the mix. 
     All of this is to bring up the worst thing that happened yesterday.  I was attempting to make a mix for my impending Presidents Day Weekend Extravaganza.  The girls are getting back together for a three day weekend of drinks, comedy, opera, chili, and more drinks.  Those are also essentially the themes for the weekend.  So I went to GrooveShark, typically a wonderful music streaming site that allows the creation and sharing of playlists.  I went after all the songs with the aforementioned themes and went to work.  It was shaping up nicely- it was about as long as the plane ride to Boston would be, so perfect.  Then, a combination of user errors, outdated web browsers, and bad luck caused the most terrible thing to happen to playlists.  I could not rearrange the order of the songs.  I almost cried.  I considered smashing the computer.  I was defeated. 
     So the next step is to just make the playlist on yee old iTunes and enjoy it whilst we sit around the fireplace eating chili and talking about Great Books. 

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