Life In Six Songs?

Running On Sober has a regular series called Life In Six Songs and I’m participating. My post isn’t scheduled until September so you’ll have to wait until then to see it. It’s not like I could really give spoilers anyway since I only have three of seven songs picked. Even though it’s called Life In Six Songs, it’s actually seven because there’s a bonus song, too.

This is way harder than it seems. I’ve been working on my answers here and there when I get a chance. As I listen to my music library, like I do all day every day, I’m paying particular attention to songs with special meaning. I’ve changed my mind half a dozen times.

I am an audiophile. Actually, it’s probably more apt to call me a music hoarder. I have over 30,000 songs in my library. Granted, I recently finished downloading all of my CDs to digital format, so there are a lot of duplicates. For example, I have three versions of Velvet Goldmine from three different albums:

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Not that I mind having three Velvet Goldmines, but one Velvet Goldmine would probably meet most of my Velvet Goldmining needs. I have no idea how many other songs I have multiple times, but it’s probably a lot.

But, what can one do with duplicates? I could get rid of two of those Velvet Goldmines, but that leaves holes in two albums. I don’t tend to like holes in albums. One day, I might go through and uncheck all the duplicates so they don’t play in random shuffle, but let’s be honest here, I probably won’t. It was enough work just downloading them all.

You could maybe knock 5-8,000 tracks off the total just in duplicate songs alone. Still, even on the outside, that leaves 20,000ย discrete songs by several thousand artists.

My music collection spans the history of music and humanity. I’m not really exaggerating. I have the Seikilos epitaph in mp3 form. It’s the oldest known example of a complete song from c. the first century AD and it’s actually really pretty. You can listen to it here.

So, yeah, I have a lot of music from all of recorded human history. Do I need that much music? Probably not. Do I like having it? Hells yes. Do I listen to all of it? Well, sort of.

Unless I’m in the mood for something specific, most of the time, I listen to my music library on random shuffle. 30K tracks means I can listen to my library for over two months 24/7 without replaying a single track. So, yes, there are some tracks that I don’t really get around to hearing and there are a lot of songs I listen to a lot more often because I love them.

I’m not really sure where my love of music came from. No one else in my family has it. On both sides, going back to my grandparents, none of my relatives have or had a “thing” about music like I do.

My mom listens to soundtracks to Broadway musicals. If I ever hear the jellicle cats again in my lifetime, I will kill someone, probably Andrew Lloyd Webber. Fuck that guy.

My dad loves the Peter Gunn theme and the music from the old-timey James Bond films. The James Bond films are his favorite movies. I’ve seen all of them multiple times. At one point, I borrowed his pickup truck and there was a tape with the Peter Gunn theme recorded over and over on both sides. Mostly though, when in the car with my parents, we listened to the news.

My sister has a 16GB iPod nano that isn’t even full. She mostly listens to satellite radio where you can’t choose what songs you want to hear.

I can’t even imagine having an itty-bitty nano that isn’t even full. I have an old 80GB iPod and I keep running out of capacity. I have to rotate stuff off of it. I’d love to get the 160GB one, but I can’t afford it nor can I justify it since my old one works just fine, even though it’s ancient by iPod standards. 80GB will have to do. Boooo.

Seriously though, having 80GB of music in my pocket is damn amazing. Before the iPod, I had to carry CDs around with me. They’d continually get lost, stolen or damaged. A boyfriend accidentally spilled a giant Coke in my CD book once. I had to painstakingly clean soda off of my CDs. I was pissed. Back then, I had a choice of about fifty CDs at any given time. For an audiophile like me, the iPod was the best invention ever. I have no idea how many albums are on my iPod, but it’s way more than fifty. Even that’s not enough though. I want all the music, all the time, forever.

So, where did my obsession with music come from? I have no idea. It’s not from anyone in my family from the two generations before me. Life without music isn’t even a viable concept to me. Even if I can’t listen to it externally for whatever reason, I always have a soundtrack going in my head. I’m always humming something. It is integral. It is a part of me. It is me.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some more song picking to do. September isn’t all that far away and I have a lot of music to get through.