Last month, I hesitantly signed up for Spotify. Calling it a good decision would be an understatement.
I was lamenting that I don’t listen to music as often or as passionately as I used to (sounds like I married it, hyuk hyuk), and my iTunes library is so packed full of albums I’ve never pressed ‘play’ on that I don’t know where to start. Obviously, the solution to being overwhelmed by the amount of music I have was to sign up for a service that gives me access to all music. All of it.
But here’s what’s made me fall in love with Spotify: not only am I listening to a lot more music, but I’ve re-discovered the playlist. Not playlists like the ones on my iPhone (“sad shit”, “sappy shit” and “new shit”), but playlists like I used to make when I was 14. Back when I had a Creative ZEN mp3 player for years and years that constantly broke down and, at one point, had to be soldered back together. You had to put music in a playlist to listen to it on those things, so I would have these long, rambling lists of songs that I added to according to how I was feeling. They ended up not being lists of songs at all. They were diaries.
The only way I can deal with the sheer volume of Spotify is to start making playlists again. And already, they’re becoming what they used to be for me. Snippets of my inner world. If I am feeling the same way I felt two days ago, I go to two days ago in this month’s playlist. I’ll eventually be able to do the same thing with months ago, years ago. Because so much of emotion is repetition. Unresolved (and, rarely, resolved) issues, hidden in beats, lyrics, choruses.
Once, when I was about 16, my old mp3 player broke for several months, so I had to make mix CDs again. I was making several a week. I kept those CDs and I still listen through them sometimes, and it’s like piping my 16-year-old self directly into my brain. These days, I’ve been feeling a lot of ways about a lot of things and it makes me nervous and uncomfortable, so I go back to the beginning of November 2012 and I wear out the same dozen songs over and over to keep myself from running away from it.
That’s what it is. Connecting to yourself. Identifying with your own damn life.
So, if you’ve friended me on Spotify and you’re sick of the constant notifications in the sidebar of “Katie added ______ to playlist ________”, you can suck a bucket of ass, because playlists are how I make meaning. Sometimes out of music, sometimes out of everything.