2017's big big tunes

Every year I download less mp3's than the last. I think I used to feel political about this (downloading vs. streaming), but I've come to believe in Jace Clayton's observation about music streaming services — "We're inside the infinite library! Let's start showing a sense of wonder and respect!"

from Uproot, by Jace Clayton

One casualty of mostly listening to streaming music is that I don't have a coherent mental model for what my collection of music "looks like" at any given time, because it's distributed across several proprietary services. When I was downloading a lot of music, I could pretty easily get a sense of what I was listening to at a given time by sorting the music (in iTunes) by "Date Added".

the totality of 2017's downloads — not a lot!

Though in principle YouTube or Spotify or Bandcamp maintains a record of everything you've listened to over time, these representations are often lossy. What are the odds that my YouTube history will be persist in 5 or 10 years? What merits counting something as part of my listening history, vs. something I've merely sampled or briefly listened to?

In 2017 I started more methodically saving songs I was streaming & feeling to a tag on my bookmarking account. Though this system is imperfect as well (sometimes I forget to bookmark something I'm listening to a lot!) it felt like a nice balance between allowing for the free-wheeling nature of streaming random music on the internet, while still having some permanent record of "what I listened to, regardless of the platform, for a given time period".

a mix

As an exercise in trying to digest this year's personal favorites, I made an mp3 collage of some of the ones that hit me the hardest. It's mostly in reverse-chronological order, and I was trying to record this like how you'd record songs from the radio for a tape: the timing for when I'd start & stop are at the mercy of someone else's controls. If you've ever played the role "YouTube DJ", you'll know what this feels like: there's a very specific ergonomics to streaming music that's distinct from playing mp3's or records.

Praise be to the original uploaders, and everyone who shared music with me this year — please send me your "ones"!

: / :

  1. Casals: A Living Portrait - Casals
  2. What does it take - Isaac Hayes
  3. Baltimore - The Tamlins with Sly & Robbie
  4. Wrath of Zeus - The Eternals
  5. Centipede - Rebbie Jackson
  6. Love is a hurting thing - Gloria Ann Taylor
  7. In Your Eyes - Johnny Osbourne Feat. Roots Radics
  8. Adventures In The Land Of Music - Dynasty
  9. It aint no big thing - Donna McGhee
  10. Sunshine (Shine on mix) - UNIT 2
  11. Soft Moon - CoastDream
  12. Three O' Three - Public Energy
  13. 100 Weight Of Collie Weed - Carlton Livingston
  14. B side EP 2 - Cottam
  15. Doctor Love - First Choice
  16. No Way Back - The Dells
  17. Upside Down - Michael Jackson at Diana Ross Concert
  18. I Cry (Night After Night) - Egyptian Lover
  19. Emma - Hot Chocolate
  20. It Wasn't Me español - Shaggy
  21. T.S.O.B - Master Jay & Michael Dee
  22. I'm Here Again (Edit by Mr. K) - Thelma Houston
  23. Galaxy - War
  24. Gunman A Come - Martin Campbell
  25. T-Shirt - Migos
  26. Forty Nine Reasons - Julius Brockington
  27. Onda - Cassiano
  28. Classic Man ft. Roman GianArthur (Chopped and Screwed) - Jidenna
  29. Sweet Leaf (Live California Jam 74) - Black Sabbath
  30. Ali Baba - Joseph Cotton
  31. Trip City - A Guy Called Gerald