Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

My Playlists II

Over a year ago, I wrote a post called My Playlists that went on to describe my affinity for obsession with music playlists. After rereading the post, I thought I could add more to it in terms of what other kinds of playlists I have, and the reasons I created them. Since it’s for my Freedom Friday series, I might as well have some fun along the way.

Musical notes
Musical notes

In my original post, I talked about mixtapes and what made them so special back in the day when cassette tapes ruled media. A perfectly designed mixtape is a form of expression that captures the essence of a feeling or of a moment in time. Nowadays, the mixtape is a playlist on a music player tailored with songs that have a connection with each other. In other words, a playlist brings together songs that mean something to someone when played together in a certain order.

For instance, I have a playlist dedicated to my college years. These are songs I was listening to while in college that if I played them today would spark those memories of my trips in and out of class, the school library and study hall. I also have a playlist called High School that I love playing whenever I want to remember the times when I sat on the football field with my friends, looking at the sky while dreaming of who we wanted to be someday.

Recently, I’ve added a slew of new playlists to my collection that I could only describe as representing a feeling:

Lounge—A series of smooth jazz songs that transport me to a lounge at the top of a luxury hotel, minutes before midnight while I take in the sight of the city lights below. Yeah, pretty specific, huh?
Autumn—Songs that have a nostalgic, melancholy vibe that remind me of the reflection I go through when fall arrives. Whenever I find myself in this playlist, I’m instantly walking through the leaves as the rain pours.
Winter—I came up with this playlist as a way to enjoy the solitude of the season. Those cold winter days when the wind is blowing and no one’s around makes for a peaceful time. These songs bring those moments together in a way that enhances the frost of the season.
Love—Ah, yes. It’s all about love. My choice of songs vary, but the theme remains the same. On this playlist I’ve added songs for the tender heart.
Sports—Unlike the name of the playlist, the songs evoke inspiration. It’s the one playlist I can go to for a “You can do it!” jolt of adrenaline to spike my productivity.
Summer—Fun tunes featuring Beach Boys and anything with the word summer in its title. I’m playing this now as I write. They’re the songs that epitomize youth, fun in the sun, and explode with energy.
Power—This playlist features tunes with only one thing as its purpose—to blow away anything in its path. I mixed soundtrack songs from various superhero, car and summer blockbuster flicks in one neat little package that would evoke a big sense of adventure. I came up with this playlist as a way to kick me into action. A couple of these songs is all I need to press me to running with the bulls.

Anyway, I love my playlists. I really do. Whenever I need to focus on a certain period in my life or take an emotional journey, my music has been there for me, saving the day and pulling me to keep creating.

What about you? Do you have playlists that inspire you?


Do you create playlists? If so, what kind of playlists are they?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

My Playlists

Over the course of years, I’ve changed music players, I’ve changed computers, but I haven’t changed my playlists. If anything, I’ve created more. Under last count, I have fewer than one hundred playlists. Now, you might wonder what these playlists do. Come into my Freedom Friday parlor said the author to the reader.

Musical notes
Musical notes

For those who haven’t used playlists before, they provide a music enthusiast a means by which to create a song lineup. That’s it. Simple, don’t you think? Playlists are the digital equivalent of old-style mixtape. For those of us who remember mixtapes, much of their content depended on how much music we could fit in a small cassette tape. The typical size of these tapes ranged between sixty to ninety minutes in length. Many of the older vinyl albums the music corporations distributed had a typical running time of forty-five minutes.

A lot of folks back in the early days of portable players would copy their favorite album on tape and then carry around the tape to play in their car or on their Walkman. Yeah, we’re talking ancient history here. Others had more creativity in their bones and wanted to create their own tapes based on their taste in music. They scrounge from one album to the next to cherry-pick the song they always wanted to hear in a certain order. These tapes would then make the rounds among friends and become part of a community of enthusiasts appreciating each other’s work.

Fascinating stuff, huh?

Let’s get back to my playlists. When I first discovered I could create mixtapes on my music player—I mean, playlists—I went nuts. I chose my favorite artists and added them to their own playlists based on the chronological release date of their studio albums. I can’t tell you how much I had wanted to do that since the early days. I enjoy the continuity the playlists have and the vibe. After all, we’re talking about the artists’ discography presented in a way never dreamed of before by the record labels.

Musical staff
Musical staff

I next tackled mixtape playlists. I know what you’re thinking, “I thought you did that with the chronological ones, dude.” Well, I did, but I didn’t. Remember what I said about mixtapes? I picked a generous helping of songs with common themes. For instance, I created inspirational playlists, power playlists, college playlists. Each one reflecting what I felt at a certain time in my life. I’m proud of the college one the most since it contains modern instrumental pieces tailored after a sunrise/sunset vibe.

My absolute favorite playlist, and the one I took a long time to put together, is the oldies playlist. The songs come from a pool of 50’s and 60’s music put together to play at random on a Saturday night. When I first got married, a radio station in Toronto played nothing but oldies on a Saturday night. If I remember correctly, the show went by the name of Saturday Night Oldies. I think it’s still around, but I haven’t checked in a while. Anyway, I wanted to recreate that experience on my music player. Whenever I listen to the lineup on a Saturday night, all those memories flood my brain:

  • That night when we painted our new apartment before moving in
  • All the rides home alone after spending time together
  • Driving her home from the movies

I never tire by what music can do. A simple song can unlock a vast wealth of experiences we thought we’d forgotten. It can make us jump, it can make us cry. One thing’s for certain, it can take us right back to where we were the instant it played for the first time in our lives. That, in itself, is an amazing feat.


Have you created playlists for your music player? If not, have you ever tried online jukeboxes built on your song preferences?

Posted in Freedom Friday

Today’s Technology

Here we are again, Freedom Friday. If you’re joining this series for the first time, you can search for all the posts by simply clicking on the Freedom Friday link above this post. For those who need a refresher, I use Freedom Friday to express my views about what’s current, what’s not or anything else that may trickle into this brain of mine at the time of writing.

27-Inch Hitachi Tube TV
27-Inch Hitachi Tube TV

At this moment, I’m thinking technology. In particular, I’m thinking about how far technology has come from the good ol’ days when a large 27-inch TV and a VCR dominated our entertainment centers. Anyone remember this? For some of us, we had two VCRs—one for recording and one to watch recordings. It made for a simplistic life, but much of what the 80’s had, delved on simplistic.

We cherished those cold, winter evenings when we got back home from work, prepared a warm soup for dinner and plopped on the couch to watch the latest episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Let’s not forget those autumn Tuesday night comedies. How can I forget taping  episodes of Home Improvement so I can watch them later. Those episodes always shattered my funny bone for some reason.

Home Improvement
Home Improvement

So much has changed.

Today, we live as a traveling society. We bring our entertainment with us. We can download any episode of any series we’d like; plop it on our iPods, iPhones, Nexus 7’s, Samsung Galaxy Tab’s, whatever—and we can watch them on the go. Gone are the days where we sit in front of the TV as past generations. The media we consume, at the rate we consume it, is unbelievable to those who’d lived in the VCR age.

Take, for instance, music. I remember a time when I’d recorded my favorite tracks on a cassette tape in a specific order based on how the songs meshed. Then, when I traveled with my Sony Walkman, I could listen to them on the go.

Boy, that no longer happens. At least, I don’t think.


Today, I can carry my entire music library I had carefully culled over the period of decades on my iPod. I have mixtape playlists, compilation playlists and even live playlists (those used when rating songs during my travels).


This is what our technology has brought us. We can carry our whole media library anywhere we go and consume it at a bus station, truck stop, library, museum, deli, newsstand, restaurant, friend’s house, wilderness, bus, train, woods, park, walking, hiking, boating, sailing, running, riding, traveling, etc. all in the confines of our realities.

I laugh. How did we do it back in the 80’s?

Anyone else notice how far technology has advanced? Anyone else have the same idea I have with the way we consume our media? What about books? Do you like hardcover books or do you read them on a Kindle or another reader?