I'm self-employed and work at home in my basement. I always have music playing all day. I would go in spurts of listening to CDs for a few days, but that gets old fast because my CD player holds only five CDs and after I've heard them a few times in a row they get boring. And I'm too lazy to get up and put in new ones. So usually I'd just end up listening to the radio. But I don't get great radio reception at my house for the station I prefer, so that doesn't work great, either.
So I downloaded iTunes back in June and then copied all my CDs into my computer. That took about a week and two CD drives. I actually burned out the CD drive on my computer and had to buy a new one! But I now have all 2,866 songs in my computer.
If I'm in the mood for something in particular, then I go ahead and listen to that, of course, but I've frequently just been listening to my music in alphabetical order by song title. That makes for a rather eclectic mix. It also takes several weeks to play through the whole library. The thing that surprises me sometimes, though, is how often back-to-back songs will be by the same artist. For example, "Going to California" and "Going to California" and "Going to California" and "Going to California" by Led Zeppelin. ;-) Okay, not counting multiple versions of the same song, I have "21 Years" followed by "29 Palms" both by Robert Plant. Or "Across the Universe" and "Act Naturally" by the Beatles. Or "Post" and "Postcard Blues" by Cowboy Junkies.
Now playing on iTunes: Joan Osborne Relish. Great album.
Because all my music is now extremely convenient, I've been listening to stuff I hadn't heard in ages -- you know, those albums you buy, listen to a few times, then forget about. Some of it deserves to be forgotten, but not all of it. My favorites still rank pretty high on the playlist; I generally have a Led Zeppelin day or k.d. lang day once every couple of weeks. But now I'm also getting to listen to that great Chris Whitley album Living with the Law. And the Laura Love Collection. How could those have fallen out of the rotation?
One of the features I've found useful on iTunes is song ranking. You can click on a song and give it one to five stars, or leave its ranking blank. Well, I don't want to get into the nuances of whether a song deserves three stars or four, but the rankings are still really useful for me. As I play through my library, I'll rank the songs I really like with five stars and the songs I hate with one star. Then I set up two playlists: the Top Rated list (all five-star songs) for when I want to hear one good song after another; and the No Crap list (no one-star songs) for when I want to hear everything, but not the crap. One disadvantage to listening to the Top Rated list, though: It's always playing something too good to turn off!
Another thing I really like about iTunes is the free music download every Tuesday. The iTunes store offers a specific single every week. I've gotten some really cool stuff for free: "Staring at the Sun" by Simple Kid, "Letter Read" by Rachael Yamagata, "So Far So Good" by Thornley. I've gotten a few duds, too, but I won't mention those.
I've also bought a bunch of songs I just love: "Holding Back the Years" by Simply Red, "Lovesong" by the Cure, "Loser" by Beck, "Under the Milky Way" by the Church. And then I have the guilty pleasures: "How Much I Feel" by Ambrosia, "Lay Lady Lay" by Bob Dylan, "Stranglehold" by Ted Nugent. Lots more. Lots and lots more.
I enjoy going to iTunes and reading through the various playlists that people upload. They always make me want to buy a bunch more songs!
Now playing on iTunes: Mindy Smith One Moment More. I really like this album. She does a killer version of Dolly Parton's "Jolene" (great song) and even has Dolly singing backup!
Well, that's it for today.