I absolutely love talking to my youngest son. He has an excellent gift for conversation and loves to discuss many subjects from building models, parenting, cooking, and music, just to name a few.
This morning, he called me to tell me that back in the day, when he heard an Aerosmith song, whether it was a ballad or a hard-driving metal song, he could tell it was Aerosmith. That is how he starts the conversation. “Hi, Mom. Do you realize that when I was younger, back in the day, Aerosmith sounded like Aerosmith?”
Aware that this is part of his thought process, I allowed him to continue with his thought, patiently waiting for him to get to the point.
His complaint was that many contemporary musicians do not have that distinct identity that brands them as them. He said that the performers may cross several genre lines even on albums. He applauded the versatility but pointed out that he normally wanted to listen to a particular genre rather than a group.
Therein lies his problem. If he wants to enjoy smooth jazz’s low-fi beats, then why would he choose a group with songs in that genre, plus metal music, dance music, and ballads all on the same album.
The solution to this thorny problem: playlists.
He tends to download an entire album and then has to cherry-pick the songs he wants to listen to. I described my playlists to him (which I have over 50 on my iPhone.) Some songs appear in more than one playlist. For example, David Arkenstone has his own playlist and his songs appear in my New Age playlist and also in my Writing Music playlist.
I have music categorized by artist, genre, and by activity. These playlists have been over 10 years in the making with a lot of help from iTunes and Apple Music.
My son then complained that it would take too long to create playlists in Google Play Music. I asked him, “Are you under a time constraint? A deadline is looming large? If not, what is your hurry?”
Who cares if it takes him 10 years to categorize his music?