Tag Archives: iPod shuffle challenge

Playlist Week 1: Feel The Fury, The Rhyme Gets Worse

I’m challenging myself to get through a whole shuffle of my music collection on my iPod without skipping. Then I write about what I heard each week.

I completed the first full week of the shuffle challenge on Friday. The title of this post refers to a magically deliciously bad song by Merlin from Sire Records’ Just Say Yes collection that popped up in the shuffle on Friday. The experiment is going well so far. I’m feeling really calm on my commute. Knowing that I can’t skip songs, I just relax and listen without feeling antsy about looking for something better. I started listening to my iPod on evening dog walks too, which has helped make the walks more entertaining and should help me complete the shuffle faster. Dave’s been listening to music while walking Chuck for years, I’m not sure why it took me so long to follow suit.

Here is the weekly summary:

  • Songs listened to this week:  157
  • Completed:  almost 7%
  • Number of double shots:  7

The Police * 3 (all live, I’ve downloaded too many bootlegs!), the Beatles, Elvis, Sting, and Bad Company (ugh)

  • Number of triple shots:  3

Genesis, the Police (all live, see what I mean about the bootlegs?), and Mr. Mister (yeah, I know). Rocking out to ‘Kyrie,’ I realized that I have this song on my iPod through a compilation, for some reason I never ripped their second CD. So through the joy of randomization I had a triple shot from a band with very few total songs on my iPod. The other two songs were from their first album, which I only had on tape until very recently. I’d been looking for it on CD for years and finally found it. Mr. Mister’s first album is one of my guiltiest pleasures.

  • Number of new to me songs:  2

Mew ‘Vaccine’ (pretty good), Best Coast ‘When the Sun Don’t Shine’ (very cute)

  • Number of songs that I’m so totally deleting:  2

Bad Company ‘Electric Land’ (not the world’s most awful song, can’t even articulate specifically what I don’t like about it…I just never need to hear it again), King Missile ‘Part Two’ (would I want to delete this less if I heard it immediately after Part One…is there a Part One???)

  • Best example of why I can’t play an unedited iPod shuffle at a party:  Lords of Acid ‘The Wet Dream’
  • Song I’ll be saddest not to hear again until this is over:  The Police ‘Reggatta de Blanc’
  • Best example of why shuffle sometimes sucks:  The Beatles ‘Mean Mr. Mustard’

Hearing something from that part of Abbey Road without the other songs is disconcerting. I so wanted to hear ‘Polythene Pam’ next, but no dice).

  • Song that is entirely too long:  Public Image Ltd. ‘Rise’

Did you know that sucker is over six minutes long? I always think I like this one when it comes up, but then I can never make it through (except during the challenge, of course!).

  • Most situationally-inappropriate song:  The Samples ‘Summertime’

The wind chill was something like 18 degrees during my walk home from the metro on the coldest and windiest night this week, which was when this song came on. Irritating.

  • Most embarrassing confession about a song:  The Beatles ‘Twist and Shout’

When I saw Ferris Buellers’s Day Off, I thought it was possible that Matthew Broderick was singing this in the movie. Yes, I am a moron. But to this day, when I hear this song, it still sounds plausible that Matthew Broderick would sound like this if singing it. Why am I admitting this?

  • Song that made me dance around during the dog walk:  Simon and Garfunkel ‘Save the Life of My Child’

Oddly, this is a happy song for me. Probably due to fond memories of listening to this (and horrible attempts at singing) with a friend in college.

  • Really crappy song by an otherwise fine artist that is so crappy I feel I could’ve written it myself in the shower:  Splashdown ‘So Ha’
  • Band with song titles I totally don’t know:  Stereolab

Except for ‘Emperor Tomato Ketchup,’ which is unforgettable really, I can’t identify any Stereolab songs by name, not even my favorite. The Stereolab song I heard this week was apparently called ‘The Noise of Carpet,’ yes, of course.

  • Weirdest coincidence:  For some reason during Mr. Mister’s ‘Code of Love,’ I started thinking that the theme of this song was kind of similar to Dave’s guitar teacher’s song ‘Made a Devil.’ Then I started wondering if he’d be pissed if I told him that. Then the next song was one of his (not ‘Made a Devil,’ but still creepy–get out of my mind).
  • Most random memory:  The Police ‘Secret Journey’

I went to Catholic school preschool through grade 12. We got an assignment once in theology class to select a spiritually enriching song and write an essay about listening to it. I remember being so excited that I had such a great example and that I didn’t even have to think about which song I’d pick–obviously, I’d write about ‘Secret Journey.’ Then I noticed the fine print in the assignment handout that said “For example, ‘Secret Journey’ by the Police.” Fuck! The bastards stole my idea. I suppose I should’ve just used it anyway, but it seemed no one would ever believe it had been my idea first.

Playlist: Day 1

I’m challenging myself to get through a whole shuffle of my music collection on my iPod without skipping. Then I write about what I heard each week.

Friday was day one of the playlist pledge. Well, Thursday was actually the first attempt, but I aborted it when I realized how easy it would be to fuck up the shuffle with an errant finger touch (pretty likely actually since I’ll probably need to go back through the songs to remember what I’ve heard to write my weekly summaries). So Thursday night, I created a playlist of all my songs, shuffled it, and synced it to my iPod. I don’t like the way I can see what’s coming next (I try to avoid looking at the playlist), but this is the only way I can think of to ensure the integrity of the shuffle (already on day one, I accidentally hit the shuffle icon and had to go back to the playlist to resume the correct order). Here are the songs from day one. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on listing every song after today, I just wanted to document the very special songs called into duty on the first day.

  1. Bel Canto-Spiderdust
  2. Simon & Garfunkel-He Was My Brother
  3. Lords of Acid-Pussy (Round)
  4. Genesis-I Can’t Dance [12″ Version]
  5. The Police-Message In A Bottle (Live-7/15/2007-Cleveland)
  6. Genesis-Mad Man Moon
  7. Sting-History Will Teach Us Nothing
  8. Best Coast-Goodbye
  9. Sting-Saint Augustine In Hell
  10. Shaggy-It Wasn’t Me
  11. The Police-De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da (Live-5/27/2007-Vancouver Fan Club Show)
  12. Animal Logic-If I Could Do It Over Again
  13. The Police-Shambelle
  14. Ween-I’ll Be Your Jonny on the Spot
  15. Ween-Nan
  16. Kevin Gilbert-Song for a Dead Friend
  17. Living Colour-Leave It Alone
  18. The Judybats-My Dead Friend
  19. The Innocence Mission-Our Harry
  20. Genesis-Get ‘Em Out by Friday

Bel Canto was a very promising opening. For the most part, day one wasn’t bad. I probably would’ve skipped at least half these songs on a normal day, but only the 12″ version of I Can’t Dance made me groan. Well, and the two live Police songs made me realize that I have way too many Police bootlegs on my iPod. I downloaded all three of the reunion tour shows I saw live and having to go through all of those during this shuffle will be a little painful, especially the more “Stingified” songs, like the totally anemic version of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” they performed on that tour. Oh well, something to look forward to…

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.