Playlisting With Your Emotions

I’ve been doing MP3 for quite a while, but I guess I started to take it seriously when I bought my first Zune in early 2007.  Never before have I used playlists.  I’ve always been a fan of the album – a collection of songs that captures a moment in time in a band’s progression.  I’ve been kind of disappointed in the slow death of the album format, but I’ve done that topic to death.

So anyway, with recently increasing frequency, I’ve found myself playing a song or two then moving on to another album and playing a few more and so on.  In my typical analytical nature, I studied why I was doing this and I determined I was picking songs that fit my mood at the time.  An album can set a mood on its own, which is usually fine with me, but sometimes the mood defines the songs.  This meant I had to consider creating playlists to consolidate these songs.

Being someone with a psychological bent and a touch of organizational perfectionism, I’m finding this becoming a nightmare very quickly.  My first idea was to have playlists named for the mood or feeling.  I still think this is a good idea.  I came up with four:  “Closer”, “Driving”, ”Reflective”, and “Upbeat”.  Then I started going through and choosing the songs for the playlists.  I have 8000 songs in 670 albums by 246 artists.  This is no small feat.  Two days of attempts have got me to the “S” artists.

Somewhere in the process, I realized how difficult this truly is.  Some songs were obvious where they go – they make me feel the same every time. But others I have to pause and think of the song, then try and remember how I feel when I hear it.  It may not be healthy to make myself feel a different emotion over and over and over.  And I started to feel worn out as I did this.

And then I realized I was putting lots of songs into a couple of playlists and thought maybe my playlists need to be more specific, like “Driving-Hard” and “Driving-Smooth”, because these are distinct driving moods to me.  Trying to define your emotions isn’t easy and trying to draw the line between some is hard.  Right off the bat, “Driving” and “Upbeat” had a foggy delineation.  I found myself justifying which song goes where, like there some rules that define my mood and emotion.  That was when I realized it wasn’t really working out.

I am pretty sure the ZuneHD allows adding to playlists on the fly, so I need to make some simple playlists and do a lot of listening on the ZuneHD.  As songs play and affect me, I can add them to the proper playlist right then and there.  Trying to do this emotional evaluation offline is no good.

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