Remember, years ago, when MTV was to blame for shrinking attention spans? Oh, you’re too young to remember? Lucky you. There was a time when media was criticized for reducing everything to easily digestible sound-bites, dumbing down the media-hungry among us, which were considered to be, basically, everyone. The “fear” was that people would become so used to condensed versions that they couldn’t bear to invest their mind power and time in entire books, movies, newspapers, and other “long forms,” which actually are boiled-down versions of whatever story they are telling or selling. Since music is to blame for all the ills in the world, it was natural to choose MTV as the worst offender. Hey, if you see a chance to knock the rock, take it!
Creating playlists sometimes brings out the creative artist in people. Hours are spent laboring over the appropriate combination of songs and the order in which they will be played. So much for the limited attention span! Let’s face it, though, a really good playlist is a thing of beauty. It is artistic output and personal culture, and can produce many hours of pleasure.
One song that I particularly like (as in “more than any other in the world”) is that ode to schizophrenia, “Paint It Black.” It doesn’t have to be the Rolling Stones; I can listen to almost any cover of it and be thrilled (it’s even my ringtone). Therefore, I decided to burn a CD that was all “Paint It Black.” The music is diverse and ranges from threatening industrial/punk to blue grass to symphonic and lullaby versions. So many artists have covered “Paint It Black” that one could fill many CD’s and have an “All ‘Paint It Black’, All the Time” environment. Were the results worth the time and money invested? You bet! Not everyone would want to spend 80 minutes listening to “Paint It Black,” some even think it’s depressing, but every once in a while, on a long road trip, we put it on the CD player, and when it gets to Eric Burden and the Animals doing it live — we laugh.
Warning: I was recently induced to make an all “Hotel California” CD. An Amazon search lists over 450 entries. Skip the Nancy Sinatra version.