Adventures in Playlisting

Ever since the dawn of the cassette tape in the 70s, music fans have been sharing their loves and their guilty pleasures via the playlist and the mixtape. These lovingly crafted compilations introduce loved-ones to new bands, old favourites and classic tracks and convey something of the givers heart and soul.

Of course, in recent years the tape has died, the CD is dying and the MiniDisk is all-but-forgotten; it is the MP3 that is in ascendancy, and these files are shared quickly and easily across the ether between friends and colleagues all over the world. Services such as YouTube, LastFM and Spotify make it easy to share music you don’t even own (or haven’t even pirated), meaning that a new age of sharing is upon us.

I love having people share music with me. I have some dear friends (Anna and Julia especially) who are masters of the craft of the mixtape, putting together great compilations that have introduced me to whole new worlds of music. Unfortunately, playlist making is not a skill that I really possess, so I have to rely on the generosity of others. I have tried, but I get so absorbed in one song that I find it almost impossible to be thinking of another at the same time, let alone know if they would conveniently segue…

So, how is it that in the last week or so I have found myself putting together two different playlists? I’m not sure, but it has something to do with my new workspace, and a music-obsessed owner/manager/boss and the wonders of Spotify. Casual, end-of-the-day conversations have turned into a world of link-swapping, laughing and compiling. And it seems to be working. Why? Because we’re doing it thematically…

I have two playlists on the go, and I’d like to ask your help with them both. They are themed as follows:

  • Non-evil Children’s Choirs – most of the time, the inclusion of a bunch of singing children ruins a song and even brings you to the point of wanting to vomit. They have such a capacity to ruin a song with cheese and schmaltz that they must be evil! Except when they are not – so Another Brick in the Wall or You Can’t Always Get What You Want provide wonderful exceptions to the rule. So far, we have those two, Yo La Tengo’s Nuclear War, Dead Man’s Bones’ Lose Your Soul and a few others. I’ll try a link to the full list, here.
  • Creepy Lovesongs – So, Every Breath You Take (aka ‘the stalking song’) is a perfect example, as is Elvis Costello’s I Want You – love songs that, when you stop to listen to the words, really creep you out. Today’s top addition to this list is Death in Vegas’ Aisha, but I need more. Full list here.

So, any additions? I know many readers of this blog have near-encyclopaedic knowledge of music, so surely you can think of a few tracks to add (and make me seem more capable at this than I really am). All suggestions welcome.

Oh, and if any of you is thinking of putting together a fresh mixtape, drop me a line… I’ll send you my address 😉

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