Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Short List

I have several modes of music listening, from putting my whole library or large genres on shuffle, to focusing on specific artists and actually listening to entire albums in order. Lately I've been more conscious of my "Short List" mode, where I get three or four songs together and just play them repeatedly as a set. There are breaks in between to preserve the sense of order from a continuous loop, and I might listen to other music or just have silence then, but I come back and play the set many times a day until it's time to move on to the next one.

Short Lists can be themed sometimes, such as all dance music, like this set from quite a while ago that I still remember because I was stuck on it for so long:
  • Big & Rich: Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy (polka)
  • Kelly Clarkson: Breakaway (waltz)
  • Indigo Swing: Blue Suit Boogie (swing)
More often they're collections of recently-discovered music, so I'm frequently in this mode when I'm scouting out new stuff. Like this previously blogged list, courtesy of my recommendations:
  • Hank Williams, Sr: Honky Tonk Blues
  • Reel Big Fish: She Has a Girlfriend Now
  • The Smiths: Bigmouth Strikes Again
The ordering within a list is specific, but I'm not always sure how I choose it. The songs are often exceedingly different (as above) but I think that just makes it more interesting as they developed relationships in my mind from repeatedly juxtaposed listenings. Here's the current, somewhat motley, collection:
  • Colby Caillat: Bubbly
  • Geoff Byrd: Elusive Butterfly
  • Mika: Grace Kelly
  • The Vincent Black Shadow: Metro
There's also the question of number. Three is usually the right amount, but this list has four songs in it because I was unable to squeeze out either of the two middle ones. (The bookenders of a set are usually non-negotiable.) Unfortunately, I have the next Short List starting to form already, when I'm not entirely done with the current one. Here's what's coming up:
  • Indigo Girls: Fill It Up Again
  • Sugababes: Hole in the Head
  • Joan Osborne: St. Teresa
Though I don't know if the middle one will stay or get booted for something else (again, the middle position tends to be weakest). There are some Bowling for Soup songs that might get swapped in. I tried tacking this list on to the current one, but seven songs is really just too much for a Short List. So I'm in a transitional stage right now, which feels weird.

Credit (and thanks!) where due: This current flood of new music recommendations is coming mostly from Rowyn. Props also go to Bandanna Bob for introducing me to "Metro" at Faster Polka a few weeks ago (it's a good swing).

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