Tag Archives: music

An Apparent Fact About Repetition

I like to “treat myself” to an 80s internet radio station at work on Fridays.  I know that if I listened more often than that, I would get sick of the songs within a week or two at the most and then I’d have to find something else.

But there’s something else I’ve noticed about a healthier dose of musical repetition: seems that if you hear a song *just* enough– enough to know it very well, maybe you’ve committed most or all of the lyrics to memory, even if it’s not a good song, you’re going to come to enjoy it.  I think this is why I have such an affinity for the 80s music.  Even though a lot of Billboard’s biggest hits are not what I would ordinarily think of as “good songs,” I’ve listened to them so often they are virtually automatic earworms.

I was just singing along to “Seasons Change” by Expose a minute ago.  What the hell else could that be all about?

Anyway, enjoy your Friday, and if you get random 80s lyrics texted to you by me on ANY Friday– you now know what it’s all about.

Utterly Alone

I am either an idiot, or the only one on the planet who likes to browse his music collection thusly:

I have a number of compilation albums; soundtracks, Billboard discs, and whatnot.  Often, I don’t know the names of all the groups/artists on these, and I don’t think of them in that way at all: if I want to listen to the soundtrack from Get Shorty, I don’t think about the fact that it features tracks from Morphine, Us3, Booker T & the MG’s, or John Lurie.  It’s just the Get Shorty soundtrack.  If I saw John Lurie’s name in a list of all the “Artists” in my collection, I would say to myself, “Who the hell is John Lurie?”

Yet, every music collection manager I have tried (including Amarok 2, I should mention) lists EVERY ARTIST ON EVERY COMPILATION INDIVIDUALLY by default.  So, in the case of one ‘Greyboy’ (what, you didn’t know that was another artist that played on Get Shorty????), I would have an entry under ‘G’ in ‘Artists’ that would list just one song.  Completely useless.  This style of listing the artists is particularly frustrating with all my 80s compilations.  Yes, I can wrap my head around the fact that, in a literal sense, the collection features all of these individually named artists.  I cannot, however, wrap my head around how a listing like that could possibly be useful to anyone.

The screenshot above is from Amarok 1.4.  After rolling with version 2 for a short period of time, I rolled back, in part because of this frustrating issue.  Obviously, it IS indeed possible for a music player to group the albums with ‘various artists’ in this manner, or my beloved Amarok 1 wouldn’t be doing it.

Tell me something: I am crazy to hold this opinion?  I just want the compilations in their own category.  How do YOU deal with this?  Am I missing something in every other music player that I have ever tried that skirts this issue entirely?

I guess what really makes it frustrating is that I can’t seem to find the ultimate player that has all the features that I want– Amarok 1 groups the compilations right, but it’s album shuffle is woefully lacking.  A-2 is great with album shuffle, but the collection arrangement is bullshit.  Jajuk handles album shuffle even better, but is aesthetically atrocious.  Songbird and Rhythmbox both look OK, but I can’t get them to shuffle albums OR display compilations in a helpful way.

I should go get myself some more significant problems.

Fair Play For All

At work, I usually listen to an Internet radio stream from here or there (or even here), but sometimes I have a hankerin’ to play my own mp3s that I’ve downloaded from my collection at home or brought in my some other means.  I don’t like iTunes or Windows Media Player, so it’s been something of an experimental journey to find a good alternative player.

I messed around for a while with Jajuk, a java-based, cross-platform media player.  It wasn’t bad, but there were certain aspects of the GUI that I wasn’t very font of.  Often, if I just wanted to listen to one specific album at a time, VLC did the job very effectively.  But there were a few ‘CDs’ on which it was having trouble reading the tags.  I didn’t have the time or interest to try to solve that problem.

I revisited Songbird instead.  I’ve had it installed as a means of testing the ‘subscription’ functionality of our podcast.  While the ‘bird still doesn’t seem to handle that feed the right way, the current 1.0.x version has come a long way from when the project was first announced (in Internet time, approximately a thousand years ago).  I built a small “library” from the tunes I have on this harddrive, and one of the coolest things about the software (like any Gecko-based product) is the extensibility that you can get through plugins and add-ons.  There seems to be a large and continually expanding array of options that you can tack on to your Songbird player; they’ve come on a lot faster than I expected.  If you’re so inclined, give it a look.  If I can get a “album shuffle” plugin, I would consider switching from Amarok at home…

K, I’m going to go back to listening to this record that I produced, back when I was a record producer

The 20 Most Influential Albums In the Development of My Current Musical Sensibility

I think I said I was going to work on a Top 50 Records list about a year and a half ago. It was probably longer.

Anyway, I came up with a starting point (a top 20) early last spring, but I lost the list for a time. Fortunately, I had made Michelle a DVD for music fun at work, and I was able to remember everything on the list from there.

A couple quick disclaimers:
The list is in no particular order. As I recall, when I made it, I referred to my Top 10 Fave Artists list, and pressed on from there.
That said, this list is not meant to be indicative of the 20 Greatest Albums Ever Recorded or something like that. It might not even be my 20 favorites at this moment. I guess the most apt description would be The 20 Most Influential Albums in the Development of My Current Musical Sensibility. You *might* also get away with calling this a Desert Island Top 20.
I knowingly and willfully violate The McCulloch Principle more than once. This was primarily a consequence of the project’s original motivation (creating a DVD for Michelle, and so all of these albums had to be available on my server).

So, as my friend and Internet compatriot Mr. Schneider would say, “onward.”

20. “Led Zepplin II” by Led Zepplin
19. “Sinatra Reprise – The Very Good Years” by Frank Sinatra
18. “Nevermind” by Nirvana
17. “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” by Modest Mouse
16. “The Moon & Antarctica” by Modest Mouse
15. “Siamese Dream” by Smashing Pumpkins
14. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd
13. “Pulse” by Pink Floyd
12. “Echoes” by Storyhill
11. “Kid A” by Radiohead
10. “The Bends” by Radiohead
09. “Rubber Soul” by the Beatles
08. “the white album” by the Beatles
07. “The Joshua Tree” by U2
06. “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” by U2
05. “Recovering the Satellites” by Counting Crows
04. “The Colour & the Shape” by Foo Fighters
03. “The Ultimate Experience” by Jimi Hendrix (& The Experience/Band of Gypsys, et al)
02. “Purple” by Stone Temple Pilots
01. “1984” by Van Halen

I’m going to post this list in the ‘Lists’ forum as well, so feel free to discuss/debate it there with me if you like.

I’m going to try to finish the list (i.e., get to 50), and if you’re lucky, it will take less than 18 months.