I just finished iPod, Therefore I Am by Dylan Jones. It was an entertaining look into iTunes and this enchanting memory box that has been a more consistent part of my life than most people in the past two years. (Apologies to those who will take offense to that statement.) Jones also recounts his own personal musical obsessions, citing plenty of British clubs and records I've never heard of. The book ends with "The iPod's Greatest Hits: 100 Songs You Absolutely Must Have in Your Life." I agree with some of his list: "Theme from Shaft by Isaac Hayes," "High and Dry" by Radiohead, "Pastime Paradise" by Stevie Wonder, "Don't Worry About The Government" by The Talking Heads, "Grace" by Jeff Buckley. But there are "must haves" that are absurd: "Scar Tissue" by Red Hot Chili Peppers? "Rough Boy" by ZZ Top? "New York Minute" by Don Henley? "Beautiful" by Gordon Lightfoot? It's a good thing this list appeared at the end of the book and didn't compromise my reading experience.
As Dylan praised the infinite number of playlist options and third-party accessories, I realized how much time I spend with my iPod. I have the 40GB click-wheel, but I have to constantly pull albums off to fit that week's purchases. I try to keep 1 GB open for the songs I grab online via blogs or band sites. That only (only?) leaves 38-ish GB for music. Certain records never leave the iPod (London Calling, My Aim Is True, Blonde On Blonde, Songs In The Key of Life, What's Going On etc., etc., etc.), but I sometimes have to decide if I really like all of Nevermind or Blur's 13 and, if not, which tracks do I keep and which are relegated to the mp3 hard drive.
All the iPod banter made me curious about my own unnaturally white music box.
First song I put on my iPod:
For No One - The Beatles
This was my favorite song when I first (?) heard it at 13 and has remained one of my favorites. It's certainly my favorite of the Fab Four, this buried track from Revolver. A stunning horn melody and beautiful storytelling, this song taps into something emotionally that I can't explain. For purely principle reasons, it had to be the first song I added. (This mp3 isn't posted for a number of reasons. I highlight one: everyone should own this record. Don't get scattered mp3s to sample from music blogs--go purchase this entire record immediately.)
Last song added:
Things The Grandchildren Should Know (Live) - Eels With Strings
Not one of my favorite Mark Oliver Everett tracks, but the sentimental nature of the song works well with the string section and closes the dynamically-vacant new record well.
Last played song:
Marching The Hate Machines (Into The Sun) - Thievery Corporation, featuring The Flaming Lips
The beauty of the shuffle option--I'm not sure I've listened to this song since the day I uploaded this record. It's an unusual opening track, but quite pleasing actually. It's not the best listening choice when one is jogging (which is how I heard it today) but I like the unexpected pairing of these artists.
Most played song:
Bluebird of Happiness - Mojave 3
This stunning nine-minute opus gives me such a level of comfort and peace, I'm not surprised it has been played more than any other. The repeating phrase "Gotta find a way back home" is so uplifting and yet leaves me longing. Strange--that's sort of what the iPod does to me also...
Revolver, The Beatles
Eels With Strings Live at Town Hall, Eels
The Cosmic Game, Thievery Corporation
Spoon and Rafter, Mojave 3