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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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musical anomalies
children of dune - leto 1
I'm going to tell you now; this is going to be the most boring post you can imagine. Just warning you; if you're out of valium, keep reading, I'm here for you.

I'm about to do my semi-annual update of my Pandora playlists, which is always fraught and weird, because in general, I have to make a new playlist entirely and that means starting with a new base. Eventually, each playlist hardens, and I may love most of the songs there now, for reasons every new song they play on one of those I will now hate.

So: new playlist, new base, and the old way--not efficient--was to go through my bought music (and...not so very bought), find the ones that combine showing up on mulitple writing playlists, grab the last five I downloaded from my Amazon subscription, and create the base from those. In general, this meant Pandora would get me new music that matched my taste, but burnout still happened; eventually, it would harden and stop giving me anything.

Which makes no sense: this is a meticulously self-curated list by me combined with an algorithm by experience I know works. And yet, the hardening, every time. Which means I have to retire a playlist--not delete--for a while before I can listen it for anything but long walks.

But here's the thing: about two thirds of the songs I don't like as it turns out I love and will die for, but not if I hear them on one of those playlists. I have to hear them somewhere else.

Examples: I hated Mumford and Sons, every song, and yet, at this moment, I have the better part of an album of them and the gold standard is four songs from an artist. Same with Florence and the Machine, Broods, Metric, Imagine Dragons, Andrew McMahon: all of them, at one time or another, got thumb-the-fuck-down in Pandora--I checked this--until I heard them in a different context. Vids are a really good way but a goddamn trailer or commercial or in a store or the mall or while surfing youtube when I am bored enough to hate myself.

There are some obvious explanations--vidding, for example, is a translation, and some songs just work by association even if they're not generally to my taste. Which I think is the explanation: for reasons unclear, this song is outside my hardened playlist, and that means my taste has hardened unacceptably and it's time for a full reboot.

This is why the playlist update has to happen, no exceptions. Hardened taste atrophies your ear; you only hear noise. That way ends with hating everything not made after 1979 or 1989 (...please tell me those people don't exist) or 1999, pick a year. Which is ridiculous because who the fuck wants to miss My Chemical Romance and the Dixie Chicks and Beyonce, are you crazy? It blows my mind; no, I don't love everything in the top one hundred, but I never loved everything in the top 100, but I guarantee you thirty I won't mind listening to, ten I like and one I will love. I honestly have yet to find a genre I hate; I may not love it, but there is always several that I like, and one thing I love.

You know that feeling you get with some songs; it's like getting a hard hit of something seriously good and likely illegal except it's better. It almost hurts; you put it on repeat one and play it forever, you hear it when you're going to sleep, your walk matches the beat. No song can do it forever, but that's the point; if I want it, I have to chase it.

It's not just music, though; it's everywhere, but it's not something you get sitting still; you have to chase it and sometimes, you have to be willing to run. It's when I'm coding and suddenly, all the pieces come together and I compile and run and it's perfect; when I'm writing and the words I was fighting flow together and become a scene, a story; when I read something--it can be the whole book, a page, a paragraph, a single line, and it stops me short because I forgot to breathe; a speech I heard once did it, that was weird; when I was lead in two plays, and the second one, at the end, everyone stood up; every basketball game I ever played and the time I got second in the four hundred that I didn't even know I was supposed to run and I almost blacked out when I reached the finish line.

Like, for that second, I get what it must have been like at the cusp of Creation, the vastness of infinite nothing. One command, given to infinity, and the first light to exist illuminated the universe in the form of newborn stars across an infant universe; this is everything. What a fucking rush.

The universe is in infinite expansion and everything is out there and we have so little time; you can't stop, not for a second. You're going to have to chase it down, and sometimes, you're going to have to run.

Posted at Dreamwidth: https://seperis.dreamwidth.org/1035521.html. | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments

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This is not boring at all. It's actually really interesting.

I've been trying to figure out how to get exposed to new music, other than listening to the radio and browsing YouTube mixes... I tend to listen to the same favorite CD over and over. This is not exactly great for finding new viddable songs. :) The song I am currently vidding, I randomly heard when I was in an airport gift shop. (Destiny, I tell you.)

The Pandora playlist idea is interesting. Do you have any more suggestions for finding new music?

My number one is vids: most of my playlists have several I loved from vids. Go by vidder + fandom and favor vidder:

It sounds counter to everything we understand about 'liking' but it is a matter of training yourself to listen and understand what you're hearing. We aren't born with musical taste per se; it took me years to love jazz, not because jazz isn't awesome, but my ear was trained in marching band and orchestra groups and country music; it wanted very strict rules and got super baffled by improvisation or anything not strictly on beat so I didn't understand it. When I finally understood what I was hearing, things got much more interesting.

From the other side: I went through a super-hard R&B and rock phase until I couldn't listen to most country music, even modern but especially classic, and had to go back and fix it. I just don't want to live in a world without Waylin Jennings and Kenny Rogers and Clint Black and the Judds. Not happening.

Method: it works.

Use two artists and three songs (not by them) minimum to set the base of a playlist on Pandora or Spotify or anyone with good predictive algorithms and for the first few days or maybe seventy songs, do not thumbs down anything unless you literally literally literally would not play it at your worst enemy's funeral hate it. Mildly annoys you doesn't count. Thumbs up anything you like, which in this case is you would listen to more than twice without screaming, and above. Skips are to be used rarely. Right now all you're trying to do is eliminate what your ear can't deal with and also pushing you out of your ear-zone as quickly as possible.

You are going to hit mostly duds, that's normal; you're building brand new baseline and retraining your ear at the same time. This takes time, but it's incredibly worth it; you'll triple or quadruple what you'll listen and will fall in love with songs you literally had no idea were that amazing.

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