I don’t know why I hadn’t discovered this before. ‘Discovered’ may not be a particularly good word, actually. Of course, I knew about it. I just chose not to use it until now.
I’m talking about my MP3 player’s ‘random all’ function. It takes everything I have on it and shuffles it into a random playlist. Of course, you’d imagine that a music guy like me would use this all the time. But I don’t. I think there were two key factors that made me not use ‘random all’ previously:
- I like albums and I think of them as the logical unity of tracks, chosen by the artist to flow in a particular way. Call me old school.
- I don’t like jarring/weird segues in my music, and – before recently – it hadn’t occurred to me to ‘curate’ the underlying selection of albums in any way. Now that I’ve done that, ‘random all’ is interesting and smooth.
So far, I have found my player to be a good digital DJ. This goes to illustrate that it doesn’t really matter that it doesn’t know what it’s doing… its ‘programming’ is no worse than the average satellite radio station’s; in fact, I think it’s slightly better. But maybe I just think that because it’s all my own music that’s being ‘spun.’
Here’s a running list of a sequence today:
- The Detroit Cobras – My Baby Loves The Secret Agent (From: Baby)
- Alejandro Escovedo – Looking for Love (From: The Boxing Mirror)
- Susheela Raman – Mahima (From: Salt Rain)
- Diana Krall – Besame Mucho (From: The Look of Love)
- Alison Krauss & Union Station – Deeper Than Crying (From: So Long So Wrong)
- Regina Spektor – 20 Years of Snow (From: Begin To Hope)
- Vashti Bunyan – Iris’s Song For Us (Version Two) (From: Just Another Diamond)
- Bill Frisell – Nature’s Symphony (From: Gone, Just Like a Train)
- Steve Earle – Hillbilly Highway (From: Guitar Town)
- Nickel Creek – Helena (From: Why Should The Fire Die?)
- Ali Farka Touré – Cousins (From: Niafunké)
- Louis Armstrong – Muggles (From: Hot Fives & Hot Sevens)
- Steve Wonder – Ribbon in the Sky (From: Steve Wonder’s Original Musiquarium)
- Rhonda Vincent – Where No Cabins Fall (From: Back Home Again)
Yes, I have wide-ranging tastes. I listen to all sorts of music. You’ll hate some of it, probably. But I can also passionately talk about why I like each genre, each album, each track. I think that good taste in music has something to do with being able to identify what’s great about any style and committing to it even when (maybe: especially when) others don’t understand. I’m passionate about being eclectic. That either makes me some sort of musical renaissance man, or just plain annoying.