Having two weeks off at the end of the year is undeniably awesome. Finances keep us at home instead of traveling world, but that’s ok, because I share the vacation with two kids who consider our city an international adventure. The time allows me to catch up on sleep, work, family, and every other responsibility that I’ve been shirking. I typically plan to work on about 2 or 3 times what I actually have any possibility of completing, which keeps me both marginally productive and feeling anxious for most of the break.
Available time, anxiety, and guilt held at bay by marginal productivity, combine to form perfect conditions for vacation procrastination, which happens to be one of my major talents. This vacation I’ve started creating playlists of the best music from different years. I started with 1977, a surprisingly disappointing year in music and finished the far more impressive 1993 today.
After years of nomadic wandering, I’m finally settled with Google Music, which gives me access to most of the world of music for less than $10 a month. Google stores my original collection in the cloud and gives me access to virtually everything else that I want. The only issue that I’ve run into is that to share music, I have to use Google’s version instead of my own. So far only AC/DC and Tool are in my collection but not licensed through Google. My mind is blown by the amount of music that I have access to for almost no cost. This alone makes a good deal of the shit that is wrong with the world seem tolerable .
I start by going through lists of album releases from any given year on Wikipedia and then go through a few extra best-of lists in case I missed anything. Then I play music for hours, moving all the great tracks into a list. Once I have my initial list done, I go through the playlist on random and move the songs up, down, or off the list. 150-200 songs seems like a good number for each year. There isn’t much need to worry about where a song will end up, just moving tracks up and down while flipping through the music gets everything close to the right place eventually.
The lists end up a little different from how I remember the year in music because I’m only considering releases from the actual year, when music from previous years heavily flavors my perception of a musical year. Listening to the playlists brings up all kinds of interesting forgotten and repressed memories, which I’m looking forward to exploring as part of future procrastinations. I joked about being disappointed by the 1977 list, but really, there was a lot of great music released in 1977; it’s more a matter of some years being better than others. My interest and knowledge don’t go back much before 1960, so that’s about 50 lists to go!
Of course, my lists exclude great songs that just rub me the wrong way for one reason or another. I’ve also included music that is arguably lame, but held some important significance for me at the time. Playing the year on random mode works best for me because the order isn’t too important and probably distracts from the experience without giving benefit. Without Google Music, you can still see the list and play either 0:30 or 1:30 excerpts. If you have Google Music, you should be able to play the list as your own and add it to your library for anytime access.
Next up, I’ll probably work on a year from the ’80s. I’m hoping that digging deep into all the 80s music will improve my opinion of the decade. Right now, I consider it the worst decade for music (that I like) since the ’50s.
Clicking on the links will bring you to the playlists
A winter ice cream break from a couple of weeks ago.