Lately I’ve been thinking about Spotify — just how incredible it is, how for the first time in human history we have the ability to create and share playlists, digitally, across all borders, drawing upon the entire history of popular music. Even when we had the ability to tap into such a range of material (Napster, YouTube, BitTorrent, etc.), there’s never been a communal way to share playlists with friends. So that got me to thinking; and with some assistance from friends (Niki and Matt), I’ve come up with a fun summer project:
What is The 17?
Simply, a Spotify playlist of your 17 favorite songs of all time, shared publicly.
Desert island songs. The ones that can be on repeat forever in your head. Maybe they’re the songs you listened to the most over the years; the ones you put on mixtapes in high school; the songs that you associate with major life events. Maybe it’s a perfectly crafted moment of pop bliss, a thrash metal song that shatters your brain, an uplifting song played over the climax to your favorite movie. The reasons don’t matter.
Why do this?
It’s a creative way to be introspective. Maybe you can learn something about yourself. Maybe others can learn something about you. At the very least it puts you on your cards — what are your favorite songs of all time.
It’s arbitrary, but it’s basically an LP’s worth of material. You’re putting together your single favorite album of all time.
What criteria to use?
Forget about favorite bands — forget about ‘important’ bands — forget about historic albums. Radiohead is a favorite; the Rolling Stones are important; “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” is historic. None will appear on my own 17, because I’m only focused on one thing — figuring out my 17 favorite songs all time.
How to even start this?
There’s no one way to figure this out. I jogged my memory with albums on iTunes, then moved through Spotify playlists and my collection of CDs, all the while keeping my ears open for other ideas. Just to be thorough I also consulted Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (http://rol.st/jjEXQU) and Consequence of Sound’s 100 Greatest Songs of all Time (http://bit.ly/UkrdI7) for more ideas. I then put all contenders onto a master Spotify playlist (163 songs), and have been narrowing them down since.
I’ve made a 17; what now?
I’m going to post my 17 here, along with some friends’ 17s. But really, the journey is the destination.