Rebel against the world of playlists

Rory Geraghty

Of the many metaphors for life, one truly stands out. With all due respect to Forrest Gump, I’m not a big fan of chocolate.

Sometimes it becomes undeniably clear that life is a shuffle.

It is not the Cleveland Shuffle. Nor is it the Kansas City Shuffle.

I’m thinking more in terms of a shuffle of the musical variety. Many of us carry an MP3 player everywhere we go. Unless I have a particular artist or album that I desperately feel the need to enjoy, I basically live my life on shuffle mode. Perhaps others share the same sentiment. Then again, maybe not.

Why be opposed to shuffling your way through life? As long as I’m in control of the entire bank of songs, I don’t have anything to lose, right?

Maybe I’m the anti-control freak. Maybe I’m the ultimate control freak and this is my only way of loosening my grip on the reins of life. Maybe I just like knowing that the next song coming through that little cord leading to my ears will be chosen at random.

Whatever the case may be, I find myself enjoying it.

Every now and then, I run into someone who strictly monitors their playlist. This happens more than you’d think. Abusing their power of the “New Playlist” button, these people know what they like, and that’s simply how it is going to be.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a strict playlist. Even I, a self-professed shuffle advocate, am guilty of the behavior from time to time. However, I find that I miss certain things about the shuffle. I always come running back.

What about that long, lost song that you haven’t heard in a while? You used to get along so well. But it has been such a long time that you’ve all but forgotten about it. You knew all the words, and still do to this day. The hands of time have distanced you from each other. The magic of the shuffle has brought you back together, even though you haven’t spoken in years. A strictly managed playlist system simply does not allow for such spontaneity.

How about the joy of the perfect transition from one song to another? For someone with a relatively abstract taste, this phenomenon occurs more often than I could ever expect. Often, it even crosses genre to become even more impressive. The perfectly random pairing results in a feeling of joy and fulfillment. Some people attempt to achieve the same effect with their playlist structure. Sometimes the same feeling can be artificially duplicated in this manner. While technically impressive, it simply doesn’t pack the same psychological punch as the shuffled version.

Clearly, it is about so much more than music. Shuffle is a way of life. Shuffle allows you to keep your options open. Shuffle is random.

Upon further thought, maybe Forrest Gump had a point.

Rory Geraghty is a senior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].