Do you enjoy a mix CD purely for the novelty of the music, or do you find artistic value in the arrangement of the songs?
I adhere strongly to the latter viewpoint, as anyone who knows me might guess. I think it has something to do with reconciling my fierce passion for music with my inability to create recorded music of my own: I can't make it, but by gum, I can be creative in organizing it. To be sure, sometimes I choose songs with an eye to the audience--songs that a person or persons might not know and therefore can use to broaden their musical horizons. ExRecs, in particular, and the summer mixes as well, tend to follow this rubric. Moreover, the newer the song, the more interest I have in including it in the playlist to begin with because I'm personally not tired of it yet.
However, I also firmly believe that there's value in a farther-reaching playlist, one that spans your collection and includes beloved songs as well as cutting-edge tracks, and I think this is why ...by the numbers became one of my favorite mixes ever--without the constraint of purely "new" music, I could simply pick songs that appealed to me, and the result was literally intoxicating. I might make copies of such a mix for people whom I think might be interested, but for the most part, the mix is for my personal benefit. Hell, I obviously own the music already--it's the artful arrangement of the music that brings its appeal.
Anyway, I made a mix this afternoon, which I oh-so-charmingly entitled Just for the Halibut. Yeah, yeah, I'm hilarious, I know. Regardless, it consists merely of songs I've loved recently that I wanted to revisit in a holistic setting, and as it resulted in an even 80 minutes worth of music, I feel it's somewhat fated: I can burn it to CD if I choose, or not, as the whimsy strikes. However, I offered a copy to the Boy this evening, and he declined, saying, "I own most of those songs already," and chalked it up to some sort of double-songed iPod distress. I was, and still am, hurt by this rejection, because clearly I already own the songs--it's the choosing of the songs, the collection and the order, that brings me joy. I can't imagine refusing a mix CD from anyone, even if I owned every song on it, because part of the delight of a mix is appreciating the effort that went into selecting particular artists' work and aligning them ever-so-perfectly in order.
Obviously, I think about this way too much. But have I thought myself into a corner? What do you think, readership? Do mix cds/playlists derive value only from their ability to introduce you to a new artist? Is one song on a mix cd really that revealing of an artist's catalog, anyway? And while I'm at it, what's your favorite new artist you've discovered in the last six months?
And as I would be remiss to talk around a track listing so much and not actually include it, here's Just for the Halibut (you want it, it's yours):
1. The Twilight Singers - I'm Ready
2. The New Pornographers - Sing Me Spanish Techno
3. William Shatner - Common People
4. The Polyphonic Spree - Light and Day
5. John Vanderslice - Keep the Dream Alive
6. Mike Doughty - I Hear the Bells
7. Belle & Sebastian - Sukie in the Graveyard
8. Ben Folds Five - Video Killed the Radio Star
9. Ok Go - Get Over It
10. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - All In a Day
11. The Long Winters - Cinnamon
12. Aimee Mann - She Really Wants You
13. Counting Crows - Einstein on the Beach (For an Eggman)
14. Joseph Arthur - Can't Exist
15. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dani California
16. Broken Social Scene - Almost Crimes
17. Aqualung - Left Behind
18. The Verve - Lucky Man
19. Coldplay - Swallowed in the Sea
20. Augustana - Stars and Boulevards