iPod * Shuffle * Top Twenty

August 9th, 2005

Here’s an interesting idea: you shuffle your music collection and report the first twenty songs, regardless of what they are. I don’t have my entire collection with me at the moment, but I do have my iPod, and it has most of my collection on it. These are the first twenty songs:

  1. “Too Many Hands”, Eagles, One of These Nights
  2. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  3. “Split Decision”, Steve Winwood, Back in the High Life
  4. “Under Ice”, Kate Bush, Hounds of Love
  5. “Goodbye Girl”, Squeeze, Singles, 45s and Under
  6. “Link”, Collective Soul, Discplined Breakdown
  7. “Extraordinary”, Liz Phair, Liz Phair
  8. “In Limbo”, Radiohead, Kid A
  9. “Everything Zen”, Bush, Sixteen Stone
  10. “2000 Miles”, Pretenders, The Singles
  11. “What Do You Want the Boy to Do?”, Bonnie Raitt, Home Plate
  12. “Pennyroyal Tea”, Nirvana, In Utero
  13. “Baby Plays Around”, Elvis Costello, Spike
  14. “Love of My Life”, Queen, A Night at the Opera
  15. “Four Days”, Counting Crows, This Desert Life
  16. “Strange Currencies”, R.E.M., Monster
  17. “Only the Lonely”, Aretha Franklin, Aretha Sings the Blues
  18. “Gulliver/Hay Chewed/Reprise”, Elton John, Empty Sky
  19. “Skateaway”, Dire Straits, Making Movies
  20. “Mrs. Rita”, Gin Blossoms, New Miserable Experience

Weird. I’m not sure how representative this is of my collection. True, I have a lot of Elvis Costello, Kate Bush, and R.E.M., so it’s not surprising that they should show up in a random sample. But my collection is predominantly heavy on classic rock, and I only count seven songs that fit that genre. There are eleven songs from what I think of as the “modern rock” genre: progressive, grunge, post-grunge. And then there are the two oddballs: Radiohead and Aretha.

On the other hand, I don’t draw fine lines between the genres. You know how Billy Joel said “It’s all rock-n-roll to me”? Of the twenty songs above, I have eighteen tagged “Rock”. Only an artist that’s truly not rock gets tagged otherwise. Radiohead, for example, is tagged Ambient, and Aretha, of course is the Queen of her genre.

Speaking of Billy Joel: when we drove to Alabama last Tuesday, I took along my XM radio to ensure that I could listen to the shuttle launch no matter where on the road we were. After the launch, I tuned in to channel 46, Top Tracks, so I could catch some classics. They played one I haven’t heard in a long time: “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant”. I may have to make The Stranger the next old album I buy from iTunes.

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