Thursday, January 15, 2004

in praise of iTunes

Despite not being an Apple or iPod owner, I have now become a complete convert (and, with this message, proselytizer) to the iTunes music playing and buying system. I've got it set up at home, and once I get it set up in my office, I will never use Real Jukebox again. I'm not going to go into a detailed account of its praises. But one pleasing feature it has--and I'm sure other players in this class probably have it as well--is that it keeps track of the number of times that you have played a particular song. Obviously, this has potential for embarrassment: I think it's better that there is no recorded information of how many times I played the song "Hey Ya!" in the week after I first heard it. However, what I do think is nice is the idea of imagining resetting the counters to zero at the beginning of the year so you can see what songs--especially if you are like me, and listen to music almost exclusively on your computer (driving and exercising are time for books-on-tape, not music)--were the songs you listened to most in the past year. I'm imagining how wonderful it would be to have had this technology for the past 15 or 20 years, so I could have a running list of what my most-listened-to-song was each year from junior high or high school up to the present. I'm actually now deeply curious and engaged in much futile speculation about what songs would have been year-toppers at various points of my life. I have various songs that I retrospectively associate with being my favorite songs from those times, but I suspect the sculpting effects of nostalgia have reshaped my memories enough that I'd surprised by what the actual winners were.

Anyway, although I didn't start iTunes exactly on January 1, I will be keeping track this year. Although I won't be providing periodic updates in this regard, the early leaders are "Good Things" from Sleater-Kinney, off Call The Doctor ("some things you lose, some things you give away") and, for whatever reason, "Everybody's Stalking" from Badly Drawn Boy (arguably, had it not been for various contributions by Sting, the best song about stalking since the old standard "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter (And Make Believe It Came From You))".

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