After a few hints from the family, I have concluded that is time to end my blues exploration – at least for the time being. I had a revelation while eating dinner with the family the other night: The Summer Playlist. I’ll describe it in detail below but first a little context about the music listening situation in our house.
During the work day I spend most of my time in my office, the kitchen or the bathroom (in that order). On the left side of my desk my MacBook Pro (MBP) runs iTunes all the time. The MBP is connected to my awesome PMIX-100 personal audio mixer (seen on the right of the photo). The mixer is connected to my Cambridge Soundworks desktop speakers which are located 18 inches in front of my head in the classic stereo position. This is where I do almost all of my listening these days.
In the kitchen we have a Cambridge Soundworks Model 88 “tabletop” radio. In addition to the tuner, it’s also got AUX and CD inputs. You can see the old Phillips portable CD player that is attached in the photo. Out of sight is the Apple Airport Express that is attached to the AUX jack. Through the wonders of AirPlay, we can stream music to the Airport Express and hear it on the Model 88 using any AirPlay-capable software/device combination. Thus, I have the MBP in my office set to play music both on the speakers on my desk and the Model 88 in the kitchen. I love this because when I venture from my office I can still hear the same music playing in the kitchen and the nearby rooms.
The unintended consequence is that everybody else near to the kitchen will hear the same music to which I listen. This is not a problem during the school year because most of my work hours are during the school day. Once summer vacation comes, though, everything changes and the kids are within listening range of my office and the kitchen constantly. Thus, out of consideration for the rest of the family, I came up with the idea of the Summer Playlist.
The Summer Playlist democratizes the music selection process in that any member of the family can put music into the playlist albeit only on my laptop. From there it filters through a series of Smart Playlists to remove songs rated less than three stars before it’s gathered into a final Smart Playlist that removes recently”skipped” songs and selects the 500 Least Recently Played from the lot. I point iTunes DJ at the final playlist and it selects from it randomly.
Of course, the first thing I dumped in it was my entire Jimmy Buffett collection followed by all of the Beach Boys. And then every song with the words “ocean”, “summer”, “sea” and “beach”. We’ll add more as the summer progresses. What music says “summer” to you?