Playlisting can be a significant factor in the career of a recording artist. I can’t imagine the algorithms which govern the royalty payments from Apple Music! From the vantage however of the listener the object is as forceful, as complicated and as prophetic. Though the listener’s commercial interest does not compare to that of the artist, the settlement of what constitutes one’s personal playlist is not meaningless nor any less expressive. From my perspective playlists evidence an anchor of all that is preferred in one’s life. The evolution of the preferences is gradual but perceptible. Many of us no doubt flatter ourselves to conclude that the process resembles distillation; that is, refinement and clarity, elimination of garbage and inadequacy, achievement of purpose and ambition. And for the most part, I’d agree that it is. But whatever the transition, identifying its singularly beguiling characteristics is always relevant. There are two ways to get down a river; viz., either you know where to go or where not to go.
Whatever the effect, the currency of the concentration changes with time. There is no computerized engineering which can truthfully capture changeless adoption. Whether it is a transition from the American songbook to opera; from a two-seater convertible to an SUV; from hamburgers and cheese to garden salads and vinaigrette; from booze to pomegranate juice; from public avocation to private profession; from drugstore paperback to the History of England; from silver to gold; from here to there, what matters is the identification of what works for the moment. The burning imperative of the present is not in my opinion to be diminished by so-called rational assessment which may overtake the persuasion of what is at hand.
For many people I suspect the invitation to outline on a playlist all that speaks to oneself is not something they’d normally entertain. First, the presumption that such detail even matters is questionable. Second, not many of us have likely pondered the quiz sufficiently to be able to answer the question with any depth. The fact is we normally just listen to the radio and hear what’s playing; we’re predominantly auditors not enablers. At most we might respond to the serendipity of what’s playing.
Herein lies the risk. If we perpetually ignore what really works for us, we may fail to unite our fabric with productive nourishment. Appetites and preferences are no accidents. Each of us feeds upon different inspiration and expression. Somewhat paradoxically it is only when we’re properly fed and relaxed that we can hope to digest a fulsome view of what else exists. Change is work, make no mistake. But when we’re motivated through passion, desire and animation, the labour is much reduced.
Just as nature teaches us how to die, so too it eventually tells us wherein lies our fondest experiences. In either instance, time is running out. So we mustn’t delay the recognition of what nature is telling us. The sooner we know where we want to go, the quicker we’ll get there!