While taking a brief mental vacay this evening, I decided to “rate” a random selection of songs in my iTunes library. I’m generally a fan of organization and order, and my original plan was to eventually rate every single song in my collection (about 39 gajillion total) for the sake of, I don’t know, each entry looking nice and complete.
It was easy at first: a Bob Dylan ballad? Four stars, easy. A song I barely know from some emo-punk group I’ve never heard of? We’ll give it two (I decided that the one star rating was to be reserved for the truly awful stuff). My clicking continued like this until I began rating very different songs with the same rating, back-to-back.
Smokey Robinson’s “Going to a Go-Go”? Always a favorite of mine. Let’s say four stars. But Ben Folds’ “Steven’s Last Night in Town”? Also four stars, but for completely different reasons. One is sentimental to me; it’s a 60s classic with which I grew up. The other is just clever, catchy, and wryly humorous. I love them both, but in entirely different ways.
I’m currently reading Nick Hornby’s Songbook, and let me tell ya: it’s fantastic. He takes a selection of his favorite songs, and explains why they are his favorites. Far from being some boringly voyeuristic treatise on Something No One Cares About, it’s engaging and entertaining and something with which I’m sure everyfreakingone can relate. As I was wily-nily-ingly starring songs, I thought about Mr. Hornby’s book, and realized that to use such a one-dimensional ranking system was the ultimate waste of my time. I might give The Flaming Lips’ “The W.A.N.D.” five stars today, but six years from now? I might have outgrown it, or grown beyond it, or simply forgotten that it existed.
I’ve since abandoned this silly categorizing, though I’m still intrigued by the idea of organizing my music this way. But because I can’t come up with a better (or, at least, a better and efficient) system, I’ll put the idea to rest for awhile. After all, I’ve better uses for my (lately limited) free time.
Like blogging about it.