Thursday, March 06, 2008

What can you tell about a man from what's on his iPod?

In my case, that I'm one seriously conflicted dude, that's what. Case in point, while I was walking to work this morning, I was lifted to utter rapture and anticipation of the life to come by a grand rendition of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" performed by the Chicago Symphony and Chorus, then two seconds later, a most chunky, funky beat filled my head in Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie", one of the great funk tunes of all time. I shudder to think that I was so cool with that four inch Afro and all that polyester!

But it gets even better (or worse, depending on your outlook) After re-living the better part of the disco era, my iPod decided to get all military on me by serving up "When Johny Comes Sailing Home Again" by the U.S. Navy band and Chorus, and just when it couldn't get any weirder, up comes "Jet Airliner" by the Steve Miller Band. Too bad it was the clean version. I happen to like getting caught up in that funky shit going down in the city.

Most people who own iPods will mix up their music around a specific theme, style, band, genre, or whatever criteria works for them that day. Me, I just throw a mess of music into a playlist with no rhyme or reason, tell the iPod to shuffle it up even more and the result is a tossed salad of beats and notes that has no continuity or structure other than the fact that I like it. I mean, who other than me throws together Chicago and MF Doom, or Toto and the Busboys, or Brian Setzer and anything?

I have a playlist called Pierre's 250 which currently has about 156 songs in it (go figure) and it's full of stuff that gets heavy rotation. Almost every song on there has a play count of at least 10. It's got all the music I mentioned plus movie and tv soundtrack themes, patriotic songs, jazz, a little hip hop, and just really off the wall stuff ripped from CD's and downloaded from emusic.com. I've heard every song on that list dozens of times, some will be taken off and others added on, but when I put on the iPod, I never quite know how it's going to shake out. Some of the changes in tempo and style from one song to another are bizarre even to my warped attitude.

What does all of this mean? Other than I might need some psychiatric help, which goes without saying, not a whole lot. Maybe it says that variety is a good and joyful thing, and that good music is something that can smooth out the bumps in a rough day. And considering the ups and downs of the last few months, a little flat terrain is something I can use right now.

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