Referring to this exercise of rating my iTunes Library as “quixotic” would be generous, with three weeks of effort barely making a dent in this monstrous catalogue. Two conclusions have been reached, though, which I’ve found enlightening. The first is that one’s disposition at the time of listening is paramount.
Mr. Fuzzybuns recently leapt out your 57th-floor window? That Chromeo album is probably not going to fare to well, star-wise.
The love of your life just said yes? I would postpone apportioning stars to anything from the oeuvre of Ian Curtis for now.
Obvious, right? But doesn’t it raise the question of the validity of concert reviews to some extent? That’s a query for a future post and/or dissertation, but for now, let’s just agree that for these ratings to mean anything at all, multiple listens over a span of time are a necessity.
The second conclusion involves the metamorphosis that takes place when one listens critically. Have you ever had that experience of falling in love with a new song, finding yourself vibrating with the expectation of sharing it with friends…only to realize upon playing it for them that the so-awesome-I-suddenly-know-
Karate-and-can-kick-ass build doesn’t actually exist? This is perhaps what changes when listening with a critical ear, even for something as simple as rating your own beloved tunes. Here’s where the 5-star rating is actually useful. If you’re not writing a 600-word review for a major publication, it actually can be as simple as I hate it / It’s ok / I like it / I really like it / I want to have its babies. Listening with this particular pair of ears encourages a more thorough aural experience, in my opinion. Not because music should be reduced to one of five responses, but because it inspires the question, “Exactly what about this do I love?”
With that, I’ll leave you with a few results from my foray. Feel free to comment on my horrendous, or horrendously good, choices.