Where rhythm is life and life is rhythm

My story

So the topic is music. What does it mean for me? Well, it's complicated. I can't play any instrument, my singing is terrible, my rhythm is 1.5x slower than the actual rhythm and I only dance after a few drinks or within a safe space of my house and yet I love music and couldn't imagine living without it. I listen to music everyday and I truly love the moment when I discover a new song that's so good that I just insatiably listen to it on repeat. Discovering new songs is almost like collecting Pokemon. I mean, I'm not gonna let them fight each other, but I will add them to my Pokedex Playlist.

I love hip-hop, especially anything that Dr.Dre puts his hands on, West Coast 4 Life! I grew up in Slovakia during times when there was no music on demand, Slovak radios played utter garbage and MTV and VIVA were the best way to listen to new music. I would usually have to wait for like 7-8 non hip-hop songs to then listen to Ms Jackson by Outkast once. But I don't complain, it taught me patience, and to be honest I still remember many of Shakira's songs by heart. My first album that I've legally acquired was Afroman - The good times (thanks Mr PE teacher!) and my discman was now the on demand music in my life. The Czech and Slovak hip-hop scene was booming, the hip-hop parties were the best thing in the world and if you'd ask my 15 yo me, he'd swear that he'll listen to hip-hop and hip-hop only for the rest of his life. You can imagine how a 34 yo me is laughing right now.

I listen to everything now, it just has to make me feel good (ok, not Coldplay). And I'm laughing again now, because my father used to say that he listens to anything that just makes him feel good and I thought he was so wrong. Some time ago I read that on average people tend to stop discovering new music at around age 30. I was 30 at that time and I realized I have not been listening to anything new for quite a few years already and thought, fuck, I'm even more limited than the ordinary person (even though I do not believe in an ordinary person, there's no such a thing).

How I discover music

To be completely honest I do not know how this actually happened but over time I have developed a way to keep on discovering new music. Stars needed to get aligned and few things had to happen. First one - Shazam, you have to be quick, but it's literally your Pokeball, you hear a great song, boom, Shazam it, if you are lucky, it's loud enough, your internet is decent enough and you are not late, you caught it! Secondly - Spotify, straight from your Shazam catch you can open it in Spotify and add it to your playlist (I'll get back to playlists a bit later), done, it's yours, you can listen to it on repeat and the more you listen to it, the more the musician earns, I guess that's how it works.

Where to find good music? I have a few tips here. Find a radio station that plays tunes you mostly like. There will always be some songs that are not up to your taste, but just ignore those, I usually listen to a radio in the morning when I'm getting ready for work and at work as a background for coding. I personally listen to an Austrian radio FM4, which is the best radio in the world, but their morning show might not work for you if you are based in the US ;) Another great source are movies and TV shows, if you like to binge, just have your Shazam handy every time you are watching something, these tunes are usually gold. Lastly you can discover great music in cafes, these are the hardest to catch as often there will be background noise, or shitty internet but usually if you just ask the staff, they'll be able to share the song with you, cause it's probably playing from their own playlists.

Once you have a bunch of songs in your playlist, you can use Spotify's enhancement feature. It's pretty cool, it adds random songs to your playlist that are kinda similar to the general playlist vibe. I'm not using it personally but know a few folks who use it regularly and it works wonders for them.

How I listen to music

So now we are discovering new awesome music every day, fantastic! I've got a few more tips about how to structure your playlists, but feel free to ignore me now and just go and listen to music! 🎵You've read really far anyway ;)

I have a playlist for each year, it's a great way to tame the list which can grow long - each year is like 6 hours long. But that's not the only advantage to structure your music by year, like this you've created something that's as close to time traveling as it gets. You can literally just go back to a 2019 playlist, play on shuffle, and suddenly you are hearing songs that are bound to a period of your life, random memories will start to pop up, and you suddenly want to call an old friend.

If you decide to keep a playlist for each year, the best way to listen to it is to keep it sorted from the latest to the oldest, like this, you will always listen to the most recent songs first, they will be fresh and exciting and they will start belonging to that part of your life period and hence the time machine gets its superpowers.

There is one little issue with having a dedicated playlist for each year, it's not a Biggie but sometimes you might want to add a song that you already have in some previous year's playlist, there's nothing wrong with it but if are like me, you'd like to keep each year unique and the workaround is to create a lifetime playlist as well and every time you find new song, I add it to both, first the lifetime and then the current's year playlist, if you already have that song, Spotify will ask you if you really want to add the song again. I usually do not listen to the lifetime playlist much, but it's a great one for board games night when played on shuffle.

So that's it, thanks for listening and enjoy your music!

Here are my playlists if you want to have a listen.