The idea came from JWZ in late 2005: why not rate all the music in your jukebox? If your jukebox is iTunes, you create an “unrated” smart-playlist containing all the tunes with no stars, then you set up the Party Shuffle to draw from it, then you rate them as they go by except when you’re not listening, and after a few months, you have them all rated. I haven’t got them all rated, but I have quite a few labeled ✭✭✭✭✭, which means “a tune that in some way gives me as much pleasure as music can.” I care a lot about (and am reasonably literate about) music, so I decided I to share some of this five-star stuff with the world. I’ll try to post something most Mondays. [Does the title look broken? Here’s why (Updated 2006/01/30).]
Title Broken? · The title is supposed to look something like this picture. It works fine on all the Mac browsers I’ve tried and on recent Linuxes. There aren’t any graphics, the star and the music-notes are Unicode characters. On Windows, if you’re using Internet Explorer you’re out of luck, it just won’t work. On the other hand, if you’re using Firefox it’s less broken, and you can make it work correctly (as Alastair wrote to point out), by installing Microsoft’s Arial Unicode font; more from Alastair here. For the moment I’m not going to fix it here, because it’s correct and I like the way it looks. Get a better browser.
Old, But Good · A lot of the music I’ll describe is really old; as I progressed through my forties I managed to outgrow my angst at not being hip and up-to-the-minute in my tastes; I do manage to fall in love with the occasional current hit, but no longer worry about a lot of my faves being from 1977 or 1866 or 1755. Having said that, there are a few 21st-century cuts here, and I hope the number grows.
Covering the Waterfront · The music on my computer is a tiny and random sliver of the music on my shelves, selected by impulse-grabbing random disks. Plus there’s a selection of real obscurities dating from the golden days of Napster — all of which I have in some other medium or would buy given an opportunity. So, the music has no common thread; but some songs come with stories.
My tastes are broad rather than deep; while I listen to more kinds of music than anyone I know, I’m not an authority on Fifties hard-bop or Bristol Trip-Hop or the Vienna School or any of the others. Except maybe for J.S. Bach, with whom I have a special relationship; but this will not be all-classical; I will cover most genres, excepting operetta and hip-hop.
Try, Then Buy (On Disk, Please) · So the idea is, most Mondays, to introduce some music that maybe you don’t know about, and to avoid both wilful obscurity and greatest-hits pandering. Many weeks I’ll recommend a single song, but I’ll also do aggregations (albums, compositions, micro-genres) which have multiple 5-✭ members.
The following will sound like bragging, but: I’ve noticed over the years that when I’ve told someone “Listen to this, you’ll like it”, most times they do. I’ll provide pointers to help track down online versions of the music for sampling purposes. If you like what you hear, please go buy it on an uncompressed, un-rights-restricted Compact Disc, then it’ll be yours for the long term. Good music deserves nothing less.