Jan
5
2011
Tracy’s Finite Playlist

Well, I hope the gastroenteritis that greeted me at New Year’s isn’t a sign of how this year is going to go. I love how I got violently ill so shortly after posting my bragging about how I wasn’t even remotely sick during 2010. Ironic, don’t ya think? So it’s been a slow start to the year and I’m just starting to dig out of the sickness hole (which for me was sleeping a lot, then when I couldn’t sleep anymore but didn’t have the energy to get out of bed, listening to the last bit of the History of Howard Stern Act 4, then most recently plowing through more than half of the ‘In Treatment’ Season 1 DVDs I got for Christmas). Now I’m trying to get back to my regularly scheduled life…

Getting an iPod has totally changed the way I listen to music. I never listen to albums anymore. I listen to shuffles–of all songs, of songs within artist, and at Christmas, songs within that genre. I have shockingly little patience for most songs. Sometimes I try to make myself listen to a minute of a song before skipping it and my trigger finger shakes like a junkie’s. Don’t get me wrong, even pre-iPod I would enjoy a good mix tape or the random function on my multi-disc CD changer, but for the most part I listened to albums in their entirety before the iPod and only rarely skipped or fast forwarded. I can’t say whether the ease of shuffling on an iPod caused this change or if the iPod simply allowed an existing preference to flourish, but I’m not sure it’s healthy. I feel ADD about listening to music now. I got the new Mew CD (well it was new at the time) for Christmas in 2009, promptly ripped it into iTunes, synced it to my iPod, and…still haven’t listened to it yet. When one of these songs pops up, I skip it because I don’t recognize it. This is nuts.

So I pledged to listen, without ANY skipping, to one complete shuffle of everything on my iPod after the holidays. With a couple of exceptions, this means that whenever I feel like listening to my iPod, I’ll be listening to the shuffle I start on day one of this experiment and I cannot skip a song, no matter what. I already removed my Christmas music from my iPod library, so that shouldn’t be an issue. I think I caught all my work voice mails that sometimes get stored in iTunes when I check them from home, but if I didn’t, I reserve the right to skip them. The big exception is running. I don’t use an iPod when I run outside, but when I run at the gym, I will give myself special dispensation to listen to whatever I want. I’ll use my other iPod at the gym so I don’t mess up the shuffle pledge. I need motivating music to stay on the treadmill for more than five minutes. Other than that, if I’m listening to my iPod, I’ll be listening to this once-through shuffle.

This is going to take a while. Generally, I listen to my iPod during my commute and occasionally in the car or in the kitchen. Completing this entails listening to 2,688 songs in their entirety. iTunes says my music library is “7.8 days.” So given my current iPod listening habits, I estimate this will take over 4 months. At the end of each week, I’ll report on my progress and any interesting notes (most embarrassing song, most awkward transition, song I didn’t realize I had, song I will delete as soon as this experiment is over, etc…). I have a feeling that this activity will make it much easier to cull songs from my music library. I’m also hoping to find some hidden treasures in my own collection.

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24 Responses to “Tracy’s Finite Playlist”

  1. Erin
    Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    Sounds kind of painful. Our library would take 67.7 days. Explanation: theft.

  2. logyexpress
    Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    I started today, only got through 14 songs. I already aborted and will restart tomorrow. It’s just too likely that I’m going to hit a wrong thing and mess up the shuffle, so I created a new playlist with all my songs and shuffled that and synced it to my iPod. Now I can always get back to my place in that particular shuffle if I screw something up. This way is more idiot (Tracy) proof.

    67.7 days, huh? Is this partially a remnant of trying to get through the 100 best albums in rock according to Rolling Stone? I actually considered doing the 1001 albums to hear before you die before I had this shuffle idea. But I wasn’t sure I’d actually get through it before I died. I wanted a challenge that was a little more attainable!

    • Erin
      Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 2:04 am #

      Yeah, the 100 albums is part of it. You may recall I was trying to collect them all by copying them from other people. I got stuck on Dirty Mind by Prince for a long long time, couldn’t find anyone who had it. I asked another teacher Alex worked with who had a lot of music, and he got interested in the whole 100 albums challenge. He gave us a ton of CDs. I actually don’t know what is next on the list for me now. A long time ago in one of our moves I lost the article so I only had the list to work off of, and it was not as fun not knowing why they thought the album was influential. Evidently Rolling Stone came out with another more recent list and so this teacher gave us a lot of albums from the second list, too. But Alex also somehow managed to “borrow” both of his sisters’ entire itunes libraries, and he also was checking out the maximum number of CDs allowed on his library card for a good spell there, and he transferred a whole bunch of our tapes, too.

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