Let The Music Play

About four years ago I had to write up a “musical resume” for The Music Mamas site:

Sadly, Melisa was musically stunted as a small child by the presence of too much television. Listening to music was not something she did for fun but rather out of necessity, riding in the back of her parents’ VW Bug in the early- to mid-1970′s singing along to songs like “Delta Dawn”, “(You’re) Having My Baby” and “Afternoon Delight” (not necessarily in that order). She was given a Sony Walkman in December 1981, along with the Olivia Newton John “Physical” cassette, and no other tapes to speak of. It is for this very reason that she still knows the lyrics to all ten songs, especially her favorite track, “Silvery Rain”. In the early 1980′s she spent many afternoons listening to 8-track tapes with her younger sister, especially Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and the “Fiddler on the Roof” Broadway soundtrack. (No, seriously.) Then Michael Jackson dropped “Billie Jean”, MTV exploded, and her 80′s music obsession began. Every waking, non-school moment was spent watching MTV, waiting for her favorite Duran Duran, Berlin, and INXS videos to be played. She experienced one of the most emotional days of her life in late 1984 when her father’s co-worker invited her at the last minute to take an extra seat she had for Prince’s “Purple Rain” tour as it passed through a town that was three hours away that night, and then, later as she was putting the finishing touches on her outfit, was devastated to find out that the co-worker realized there wasn’t room for her in the car. She does not blame Prince for this tragedy in any way and, 25 years later, has mostly recovered from the extreme devastation of missing one of the greatest concert tours of all time. As Melisa grew older, the ’80s never strayed far from her heart but she expanded her musical preferences to include current pop, rock, alternative, electronica, techno, trance, house, world, dance, hip-hop, and especially 32-count workout mixes. On certain days, she wants to be Lady Gaga.

Today I’m not feeling Lady Gaga as much, and I’d have to add something about Pitbull, definitely. I also just noticed that I neglected to mention my Adam Ant obsession (what?). Also missing is the fact that my first concert ever was Kenny Rogers, with Dave & Sugar as the opening act. Wait, maybe there’s a reason I didn’t mention that.

Anyway, I love music. When we cut the cord on our satellite dish at the end of last summer, I replaced most of that screen time with music. I have become a Spotify addict. I love Spotify because I can find just about any song out there and add it to my own playlists, and I get to see what music my friends are enjoying, too. I have stopped buying music on iTunes.

I have a private master playlist that currently has about 1500 songs on it, and that’s typically what I listen to—on shuffle—during the day while I work. Themed playlists are where it’s at, though, and even though I’ve been making those for years (for example, guests at D’s candy-themed Bar Mitzvah all received a candy-themed CD, and I made a road trip-themed playlist for Momo’s Meat Wagon), I only had a couple on Spotify. Until Friday, that is.

Friday is when it occurred to me that I should go beyond my “It’s Getting Hot in Here” playlist (designed to fool myself into thinking that winter might actually end at some point) and my “Come On, Get Happy” playlist (designed to turn my frown upside down) and my “Katy’s Booty Playlist” (which is actually a playlist that my friend Katy started but she is not on Spotify—yet—and I had to have easy access to it because a list of songs about booties is really fun).

Friday is when I became obsessed.

I have created nine playlists since Friday, containing more than six hundred songs in total.

What happens is, I hear a song on the radio and then I come up with a playlist theme. Then, if I’m on my laptop at the time I add as many songs as I can think of on my own to that playlist, and use Google to fill in the rest. You’d be surprised at how many song lists are out there on the internet, just waiting to help people like me fill the void. Being in the thick of this new obsession means that every song I hear leads me further down the rabbit hole. I have nearly twenty playlist ideas waiting for my attention.

On Saturday when we were in the car on the way back from Wisconsin I decided to create a playlist called “Good Questions” and furiously wrote down titles for more than an hour. I think Jim thought I was a little crazy. Guilty.

Good Questions

What I love about creating these playlists is rediscovering old songs that I always loved but put out of my head years ago, like The Association’s “Windy” (on my “Girls, Girls, Girls” playlist) and Lou Reed’s “New York Telephone Conversation” (on “We Could Talk Or Not Talk For Hours”). I also love including songs from way, way back, like Al Jolson’s “Toot Toot Tootsie (Goodbye)” (on “Comin’ and Goin'”), and staying current with, G-d help me, Ylvis’ “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)” (on “Good Questions”).

I love making my own rules, like gladly adding Lindsay Lohan’s “Rumors” (on “We Could Talk Or Not Talk For Hours”) because I truly enjoy that song and believe it may be one of the best things she’s ever created but leaving LeeAnn Rimes’ “Good Friend and a Glass of Wine” off of “With A Little Help From My Friends” because I can only take so much country.

I love that I can create a playlist called “Goin’ All Jersey On Yuh” which takes me back to Liz’s house in a matter of seconds and speaking of travel, there’s my “Wanderlust” playlist which includes Lenny Kravitz’s “Fly Away” AND Eric Clapton’s “Sweet Home Chicago” because as great as traveling is, it’s always great to get home.

I also love that Spotify playlists are never really finished and can be altered or expanded at any given moment. Now that I think about it though, that may not be such a great thing for someone like me.

Anyway, if you’re on Spotify, find me here. You can follow me if you’d like, and you can follow individual playlists so they are accessible on your Spotify menu at all times.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a playlist to build.