I attended a 40th birthday party recently. Most of the music was by the Who and Led Zeppelin, which left me thinking about the fact that my music taste continued to evolve well after high school and college. Since I'll be turning 40 myself next year, I started contemplating the perfect birthday mix. Starting from the premise that my iPod Shuffle holds about 120 songs, I figured I should come up with three songs from each year of my life. Then my mind started spinning with all the ways I could interpret this concept: my favorite songs at each age versus music that I've discovered after the fact, i.e. is "Undercover Angel" by Alan O'Day a better representative song for 1977 than the Ramones' "Teenage Lobotomy"? Should I include songs which aren't necessarily my favorites but I so strongly associate with specific times in my life, such as how "Relax:" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa were the party staples that bookended my college years. Should "Head Like a Hole" be classified as 1989, the year Pretty Hate Machine was released, or 1990, when I first saw Nine Inch Nails and went on to see them twice more in just a few months? How do I narrow down to one favorite song by the Clash, the Police or the Cars?
I have about four months to work on this project, but I've already
reached two conclusions. One is that I'll finally need to get software
to digitize my vinyl, if only because it would be more convenient to
have "Macy, Macy" by the Push Kings on something other than a single.
The other is to not fret over making the perfect mix that strictly
adheres to a precise set of self-imposed rules and just assemble 120
songs that will make me happy.
I hope to post the complete playlist in the future.