Some time ago I made a commitment to my iPod. It was a second generation iPod mini with something like 4GB of memory on it (I know, right!??! 4GB!?!). Space was of a premium and all my favourite albums would fill the 4GB up QUICK. Not only that, but I was often finding myself skipping tracks on shuffle, which was my preferred play setting in the car or while running errands around town.
So, I made a commitment to that iPod, a commitment that has been made to every other iPod/iPhone I have owned subsequently. I was going to build the ULTIMATE PLAYLIST OF ALL TIME, of all my favourite tunes up to that point, and continue only to add the best new songs or discoveries that I was to listen to subsequently. From humble beginnings on a 4GB iPod Mini the Ultimate playlist has grown through the years to occupying just over 10GB on my iPhone 4.
This is a huge undertaking though. This was, and remains, not just trimming down tunes to simply fit the current available memory – On my deathbed I will be handing my MP3 player (The IPhone 100, with TBs of memory.) to my children as a record of excellence through my lifetime (and from before) that has brought so much entertainment and joy to me. it’s the soundtrack of my life. My legacy. This is not just any playlist, it is the Ultimate Playlist, and I am on a mission from God in it’s creation. It may be MY playlist, but God tells me it is the righteous and true playlist…
…OK, I exagerate (Do I?) but it has become an obsession, I am fanatical about my playlist and will zealously defend my track choices, but the key thing is that it is for me to listen to, never having to skip a track. I was always a bit of a sponge for music but since the advent of MP3 and it’s instant gratification acces to music it’s in hyperdrive. Find myself humming a tune I keep hearing at the supermarket? Get it on the playlist. Heard a great song on the radio I can’t get out my head? Get it on the playlist. Saw a band on Jools Holland that caught my ear? Get that album listened to, there might be a song for the playlist. I’ve stood huddled right up to speakers in shops trying to catch a clear enough sound to successfully Shazam a track. I’ve sat in my car at my destination, waiting until the end of a three song run for the DJ to name the songs. I’ve driven co-workers to distraction asking if anyone recognised a tune from a TV advert I can’t get out of my head. It is always there, on my mind, the playlist is a hungry beast.
This obsession is such I’ve made rules that I must abide by in this great undertaking that I have called; “The Manifesto for the Creation of the Ultimate Playlist”. The manifesto has been in my head all these years, but today I commit it to the world wide web for all to see. Perhaps there are others like me, in need of guidance in creating their ultimate playlist, who can take this Manifesto and use it to improve their lives. (True Mister Six, Patron Saint of Playlists. Got a nice ring to it, don’t you think?) Or maybe it’ll just reveal to the world my psychosis…
The Manifesto for the Creation of the Ultimate Playlist
1. Three skips and you’re out
The playlist is designed to be played on ‘shuffle’ setting. If a track gets skipped on three consecutive occasions it needs removing.
2. Duplications are not permitted unless certain criteria are met
a. Acoustic recording
b. Face melting live recording or radio special*
c. Cover by another artist
3. Give in to your guilty pleasures
The Ultimate Playlist is a personal experience, not everyone’s Playlist can be as universally awesome as mine. Submit to your guilty pleasures and resist peer pressure. To be honest; if it’s your guilty pleasure it will likely be someone else’s too.
Unless it’s Justin Bieber, then kill yourself.
4. Be ruthless
Tunes you like may be up for the cut, don’t get sentimental; if the song is getting skipped on shuffle (as per Rule One) or not comparing well to the rest of the list – cut it, cut it now. The Playlist is only as strong as the sum of it’s parts, and as great as that song may be is it working? Use your gut instinct, that’s all you’ll have some time.
5. Resist the urge to fill it with whole albums
Give up, the album is dead. The power of MP3 is in the individual song. Just because a song sits well in order on an album doesn’t mean it’s Ultimate Playlist material. If in doubt – see Rules One & Four.
6. Was it as great the first time as you remember?
Some songs are great forever, some songs are great for a moment. Assess whether you still love a tune as much as the first time, and then go Rule Four on it’s ass if not.
So there we go – six simple rules that make The Manifesto for the Creation of the Ultimate Playlist. Maybe one day I will list all of the tunes for MY Ultimate Playlist (Some would say the ‘Ultimate Ultimate Playlist’) but for the time being I’ll sporadically blog new additions to the list as and when they come along from now on.
*be wary of The Who on this one. Every live recording melts your face and you’ll end up with ten Baba O’Reillys and Won’t Get Fooled Again on your Playlist