All I want is a perfect jukebox

All my life, I’ve dreamed of having my music at my disposal. When I want to hear something, I want to hear it NOW. Not after thumbing through vinyl or cassettes or CDs and doing what had to be done to get that music in my ears.

It’s why mix tapes meant so much to me. It’s why each step of the evolution of how music is delivered to listeners has been a stop toward the better for me. I thought CDs were the ultimate, until I started to learn about Winamp and playlists and MP3s and the ability to break up an album into the pieces I really wanted.


Acquiring a jukebox, one of my bucket list items, to be able to play my vinyl 45s, became a desire I could dismiss. (And just as well, given the experiences described to me by people who attempt to maintain a jukebox and keep it operational.) With MP3 players, I wasn’t limited to 200 two-sided records.

That’s part of what makes The Big List so special, and I really treasure that I have close to 150 albums in my life that I consider “perfect,” or very close to perfect. There are thousands of songs I love, but for that relative handful of albums to have meant so much to me for so long is spectacular.

What’s even more spectacular, though, is the system I have for playback now. I’m not fully there yet. I suspect I may never be. But I currently have close to 6,000 songs in a huge master playlist, and it’s a joy. I can listen to full albums at one time, but I can also set random play and even though I don’t know what’s coming next, I know I’m going to enjoy it.

(When I had my online radio station, it was from this list of songs that I’d relay music for the station. I said each song was the perfect antidote to the previous one. I find that invariably to be true.)

But the system still has flaws that need to be corrected. Today, there were two instances where I wanted to hear a specific song, and it wasn’t on the playlist, and I (a little angry with myself) scrambled to get those songs in a place where I could easily access them for listening purposes.

It’s a more ideal situation that I’ve ever had.

So I couldn’t have been much more bemused with myself today after filling my car with gas. There was piped in music playing, something I generally ignore, because the songs are not to my taste.

But Heart’s “Dog and Butterfly” came on just as I finished. There wasn’t a crowd at the station – mine was the only car parked at any of the 16 pumps. So I went back and sat in the car, rolled down the widow, smiled and listened for five minutes.

Like my late, lamented Internet radio station, like your best Pandora or Spotify playlists, sometimes the best thing about music is allowing someone else to make the choices for you.



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