I have a new listening project. It’s a pretty mammoth undertaking. As you can assume from my job and past posts, I am an avid listener of music. I love vinyl. I love CDs. I love digital. All means to the same end: experiencing great music from jazz to rock, folk to metal, prog to lo-fi and everything in between.
The project? Listening to all the songs in my library in alphabetical order.
I started at the beginning yesterday: “¶ª” from the Trap Door International Psychedelic Mystery Mix (special characters are sorted first). I made it all the way through “Achilles Last Stand” by Led Zeppelin. Today, I started with “Acorda amor” from Joyce’s killer Passarinho Urbano album, and while I write, I went from “Adagio for Strings, Op 11” to Springsteen’s “Adam Raised A Cain.” Next up: “Adam’s Apple.”
Given the diversity of my library, some of the transitions are pretty rough — the aforementioned Barber to Springsteen is a great example of that. But I am discovering and rediscovering some great tunes from people that have been lost in the massiveness of the library.
I pointed to an interview for the New Yorker awhile back in which Jonny Greenwood said:
SFJ: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of the MP3 age?
JG: The downside is that people are encouraged to own far more music than they can ever give their full attention to. People will have MP3s of every Miles Davis’ record but never think of hearing any of them twice in a row—there’s just too much to get through. You’re thinking, “I’ve got ‘Sketches of Spain and ‘Bitches Brew’—let’s zip through those while I’m finishing that e-mail.” That abundance can push any music into background music, furniture music.
I will admit, I fall into that a lot. I own far more than I can digest. That’s one reason why I like vinyl. 20 minutes, switch, 20 minutes, done. That’s also one reason why I’m doing this. I want at least 1 legitimate play count on every tune, and I want to delete the things I don’t like. Not that play counts are proof I digested everything, but it’s a start in dealing with my library.
It will take me 88 days, 18 hours, 16 minutes, and 56 seconds to get through this. Wish me luck.