So you’re listening to the radio (or watching a Youtube or music video, or listening to one of many streaming sites, or <insert medium here>), and you discover a song that you think is just so totally amazing that you should be listening to it all the time. And I mean all the time. A song you want to listen to often, but not too often for fear of wearing it out. Now say that you have quite a number of these songs you just don’t want to put down. But not so much that you just click “shuffle” on your library and watch what comes out. What do you do? You could switch between artists one at a time, but that gets tedious on both a computer and an mp3 player. It’s also dangerous and illegal to do so while driving. So what do you do? One option is to make a playlist.

To be honest, I don't really think it's that dangerous to be controlling an iPod (or other music device) while driving. It's the same thing as operating a radio pretty much, granted it's a little bit harder with something like the iTouch, as you sort of lose the ability to feel around for the controls w/o looking. You just need to be smart about when you do it. However I tend to avoid it because I'm paranoid that I'm gonna get caught by the cops and issued a $400 ticket or something. Maybe not for that much, but it's a ticket none the less.

I first got into playlist making a little over 2 years ago now. I suppose the proper term might be “arranging” music, but I feel pretty convinced you need some kind of degree to do that on a professional scale… or even to call yourself an arranger. So playlist maker it is. Anyways, my start in playlist making didn’t actually occur as a result of any of reasons listed above. Rather, it started because the music at my work at the time was getting repetitive…and I wasn’t the only one to think so. Nobody could agree on a radio station, and the CD selection was limited at best. So I figured, “why not put together a CD with an assortment of different type of songs?”

It came together as such: I took into account what I was heavily listening to at the time, and filtered some stuff out so things weren’t so NSFW. That was the easy part. What was harder was trying to arrange the music in an order that made the CD itself pleasant to listen to, and not just the song on its own. Trying to line up the ending of one song with the beginning of another was time consuming, to say the least. I distinctly remember being late for work because I blew the morning obsessively moving the music around until it felt right…and then having to burn the CD of course.

Anyways, the first CD was received fairly well. The CD itself, however, didn’t have a name. And as without having a name for a boat, it’s bad luck for a CD as well. Ok, so not actually, but you’ve no idea what the burned CD contains at a glance if that’s the case. So I used the name I haphazardly gave to the playlist on iTunes: Random Mix. When I was “commissioned” to make a second CD, I just kept the name, but re-titled the CD “Random Mix #1”. And thus a pathetic excuse for a hobby was born. As this was the summer going into freshman year at university, the break itself was 2 months. I would turn out 6 mixes before school started up. However, it wouldn’t stop there.

First year uni I bussed to school. 90 minutes one way, if I was lucky. The CD’s I used to burn the mixes would only allow 80 minutes of music. As a result, I just had to mildly adjust and add to the playlists I had previously created to last me a one-way bus ride. It was nice, because you could sit on the bus and sleep in the morning, all while listening to music. And you wouldn’t have to change a single song, because they were all great. Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m not listening to the right music at the right time, it gets…irritating. Yeah let’s go with that. Anyways, it turns out it was also a mistake, because I fucked with the original arrangement of those 6 playlists, but left it long enough to the point where I forgot what they originally were. It was still good, but just not as good.

Shitty deal bussing to school. If it weren't for my playlists, I don't know what I would have done. Probably would have slowly drifted into insanity. Probably.

Anyways, I would continue to make mixes as I grew tired of listening to the same playlist over and over again. This went on until the following summer, until I bought a car for work. Now obviously driving music differs greatly from bussing music (at least I think so haha), so queue a paradigm shift in my arrangement. As well, it would only prove to be 20-30 minutes one way to drive, so once again the arrangement style would change accordingly. That continued on as I kept the car to drive to school, and all the way up until now, where I’m back working full time.

So, flash forward 2 years, and I currently have 46 complete random mixes, with a 47th in progress, ranging between 80 to 100 minutes of music each…which might be a testament to just how much music I have. It’s interesting from a sociological perspective in that I can track how my favourite music at a given time changed as time progressed. Some arrangements have been pretty good. Others…improvement needed is all I can say. I suppose if I am to say anything about the purpose of this post, it is to give playlist making a try. As I’ve learned, there is not only something to be enjoyed from listening to an individual song, but there is something to be enjoyed from listening to a group of songs…if the time is taken to arrange them in a manner that you prefer. So I say, give it a try. You can’t really screw it up, but if you do it right, you end up with not just a bunch of great individual songs, but one great single arrangement. Believe me, it only adds to the listening experience.