That’s the question that seems to be the focus of this New York Times article from a few days ago — specifically which tracks the Shuffle feature randomly selects, and which is causing iPod users to question whether their devices “prefer” certain types of music.
Some users seem to think that when hooked to a stereo so that other people can hear, their iPods are bent on embarrassing their owners by randomly displaying the lamest entries in the catalog. Others say their iPod “knows” just what will ruin a workout, or that it’s lacking in sensitivity. “It was totally not reading my moods,” says one user, who complained it “would play upbeat music when she was feeling low, and dark, somber selections when she was feeling upbeat.”
Naturally, the Apple expert quoted in the article, laughs all this off.
“I have friends who say, ‘My iPod is, like, totally into 80′s music,’ … And I will say to them, ‘Well, how much 80′s music do you have on your iPod?’ ” The answer, he said, is usually an amount sufficient to ensure a steady stream of Flock of Seagulls and Duran Duran.
I’ve only recently come into the iPod universe and haven’t yet had any disorienting listening listening experiences — although I would hate for Jim Stafford’s “My Girl Bill” to suddenly pop up at just the moment when I did not need a hearty homophobic laugh.
Just now, sitting at the computer, I went into the iTunes library and hit Shuffle. Out of 4,469 songs, the first ten that popped up are:
*”Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll” — Ian Dury
*”That’s How Strong My Love Is” — Otis Redding
*”Forever Young” — Bob Dylan
*”Epilogue,” poem read by Robert Lowell
*”Ballad in Plain D” — Bob Dylan
*”By the Time I Get to Phoenix” — Isaac Hayes
*”Whatever Happened to Saturday Night?” — Buffale Springfield
*”Bard of Armagh/Streets of Laredo” — Vince Gill
*”Track 11″ — Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (Sorry, never got the title logged in.)
“Under My Thumb” — The Rolling Stones
All this says about me is how extremely predictable I am: Dylan, punk, soul, classic rock — those are pretty much my tastes.
What do your MP3 players say about you, if anything?