Thursday, October 9, 2008

To Playlist, or Not to Playlist

I'm just going to say it. I HATE the playlists that have become so trendy to put on people's personal blogs. Now don't get all offended if you have one, please. I wasn't even going to write about this (though I have been contemplating it for some time,) for fear that I would offend one of my friends.

Then I checked my sister's blog and she had a poll about how people feel about these playlists. It felt so liberating to click the "Excessively Irritating" option, that I decided I'd just write what I've been aching to get off my chest ever since these things showed up.

I agree, that it's fun to see what kind of music people like. If you are my friend and you have a blog with a playlist, I have to say I have been generally pleased with your taste in music. There's a lot of good stuff out there. However, when I'm jumping around my friends' blogs or checking my email or whatever else online, enjoying the quietness of my house as Jenny naps, and suddenly I'm audio-slapped with raucous music that isn't fitting to my current mood or state of mind, I find it jarring. (I always pick my tunes based upon my mood, don't you?) I can usually get into whatever song is playing if I change my attitude of initial irritation to playfulness, but then I'm not usually on a blog long enough to hear a whole song, and I hate starting something and not finishing it.

Now, if you have a playlist on your blog, please still be my friend. I just needed to vent a bit. Please forgive me. I really do like music. I promise. I even like the over-processed-ear-candy that most people think is music.

While I was in college I studied music every day. I picked it apart. I critiqued it. I analyzed it. I studied form & part-writing. I learned to write 12 tone rows. I learned about pandiatonicism. I went through ear training. I practiced and practiced. I performed it. I went to mediocre recital after mediocre recital, listening to beautiful arias being desecrated by sub-standard singers, including myself. I learned to play (very ill, I might add) the french horn, clarinet, flute, trumpet, saxophone, recorder, snare drum, and various other instruments. I studied music history and 20th century composition techniques. I learned about throat singers in Bulgaria. I learned the difference between opera seria and opera buffa. I learned how to conduct a choir and how to manage behavior in a classroom. I wrote papers advocating for music education in public schools and analyzing Monteverdi's motets. Shall I go on?

After all of that and more, I learned to stay away from music during my personal time. Who likes to take their work home with them? For a while, just putting on a popular radio station was enough of a break for me, since it was such a different kind of music. But even then, I couldn't turn off the music critic inside my brain, and I found the simplistic harmonic progressions in pop music stultifyingly dull, not to mention the completely unmelodious melodies these songs have, or the complete lack of singing technique in the performers.

I've mostly gotten over that. I still don't play music in my car (NPR anyone?) unless you count the occasional cd of The Beatles or Baby Signing Time when Jenny is whining. Brent calls it auditory opium; it always settles her right down. Anyway, I find I can enjoy concerts and the radio again, but I still struggle with those ubiquitous playlists.

Rant over.


Emily said...

happy to liberate you. i've decided after many days of complete, unadulterated contemplation to keep my playlist, but to make sure it does NOT start automatically. i started my poll because i realized something--no one else has my completely flawless taste in music, and while i enjoy MY playlist, i'm irritated by a lot of other people's. then, in an uncharacteristic moment of self reflection, it occurred to me that perhaps OTHER people, however unjust they might be, could be having the same reaction to my blog! and naturally, one does not wish to tick off one's blog readers, especially when one only has five of them. so i will keep my playlist for the sake of those who share in my musical gloriousness and actually have the desire to seek it out.

although, to be fair, since they have become ubiquitous, as you say, some could argue that computer users should expect them and turn on the mute setting if they don't wish to be bothered. however, this is starting to sound like those commercials and coupons and advertisements that are starting to appear on people's cell phones against their wishes, and that creeps me out.


shelley said...

I understand your need for silence. It reminds me of Hildi, a designer from Trading Spaces. She deals with obnoxious color all day long at work and needs a break when she gets home--her apartment is completely white.

Emma, good job on the playlist not starting automatically. I'm going to learn how to do that. Oh, and ditto on the mute button. I love my mute button, and for lots of reasons other than playlists.

Cam said...

Thank you, thank you thank you! I am always complaining to poor Mark about this (he shares my dislike for them too). I guess I should admit that sometimes I will happen upon a song I enjoy or that sparks a memory and will keep a blog open to finish it out but for the most part I find them annoying. I still love visiting peoples blogs and catching up but honestly I could do without the playlists.


The Spendloves said...

This totally made me laugh. I have a playlist, but I have to agree. They bug me at times. Since I'm on my computer a big chunk of the day working from home, I just keep my laptop muted all the time unless I need sound... or my own playlist starts to annoy me because I'll forget I have our blog open on another tab.