I have a lot of music, but I’m not a music hoarder. I never just binged on music downloads just because they’re available. At the point at which I bring a song or album into the fold I’m usually pretty excited about the sounds I’m about to experience. Yet somehow I found myself with gigabytes of albums that I hadn’t listened to in months or years. How can this be? For at least a moment I must have loved this dust-covered relic. It was time for an inventory. That was a year ago.
I decided to listen to all, ALL of my collection in alphabetical order by song. I normally listen to full albums, or random playlists of an artist, or the occasional genius playlist based on one song. I had decided that I was just treading the same paths most of the time. If I threw that out I’d get a good picture of all these forgotten gems. I came up with three easy to follow rules.
THE THREE RULES *
- Listen to songs alphabetically by title
- If I acquire new music I have to listen to those songs in alphabetical order before proceding to the rest of the project
- Remember that this is about enjoying my music, not torturing myself with it.
- Skipping is ok, but
- I have to start EVERY song
- If said song bores or annoys me I will skip to the next.
- It’s ok to skip holiday music altogether.
- Listen to other music or albums as much as I want, but come back to the project soon.
- Break in and get to know new music. No reason to stop finding new stuff, right.
* Okay, five rules
First Song: A—whippin’, by Fishbone (by virtue of the title being censored in my iTunes)
Last Song: !!!!!, by The Roots
Non-Scientific and probably out-of-date chart
I love how this started and ended. The musician in me really digs the connection between early 90’s Fishbone and present-day Roots, and that particular Roots track is indicative of my tastes in a nice way. My favorite hip-hop artist doing some hard fast punk rock. That’s good stuff for a guy who used to be in Naked City cover band. My collection is nothing if not eclectic. I’ve got something pretty good from just about every genre.
I have too much skronk. I once had the false notion that I needed to own all the Tzadik CDs, and really shouldn’t still have them in the collection. I’ll still keep the best, but that just needs to get paired back. Likewise there were and are some huge holes in the collection. It was during this process that I filled out my Talking Heads, Spoon, and The National collections. They Might Be Giants also came back into my life after a way-too-long vacation.
When it comes to hip-hop, most of the time there’s no school like the old school.
This exercise by it’s nature favors artists with lengthy catalogs. I would often hear a song by someone newer and wish they had already put out four rekkids so they’d come up more often. I’m looking at you, Foals.
Well now it’s done, and I closed out my alphabetical playlist. I won’t be doing it again anytime soon, but like a department store I know it was necessary to go through and catalog my stock. Now some it will be boxed up in the warehouse, but I found a number of vintage items that are worth going back in the front window.
And just for the hell of it, here’s a playlist.