In the book High Fidelity (and the movie too, for that matter), the main character is obsessed with making "Top 5" lists and categorizing his music collection. There's a moment where he decides to organize his records autobiographically - the order in which he experienced them. I've always been intrigued by that idea: trying to express one's journey in life through the music that accompanied it. So I'm going to do just that, except instead of sorting stacks of records I'll be producing a playlist.
Unlike the character in the book I have no intention of organizing every single piece of music I own in such a matter. Really I just want to capture the inflection points. The problem is that as soon as you introduce choice into this exercise it becomes an entirely different activity. In defining the timeline of my life, what music was most important?
Do I choose songs that represent the evolution of my taste in music? Or do I choose songs that are steeped in personal memory? Sometimes hearing a song can take me to a time, or to a specific feeling. Some songs are tied so tightly to poignant memories that hearing them transports me to an exact moment. Clearly a musical timeline of my life has to include these songs. They may not represent me musically, but they do represent my human experience.
As I've tried to put this list together it's become clear that I can't just do one or the other. A progression through my music tastes alone is soulless; a trip through the highlights of emotional moments lacks context. There needs to be an intentional blend in order to achieve a sensible storyline. It's a tricky task, and one I've been working on for months now.
I've finished reconstructing my timeline, and now it's down to the logistics of writing, linking, and presenting this to the vast anonymity of the internet. Let this post serve as an introduction to the project. The next time you hear about it we'll jump right into the early years of my exposure to music. Everything from Bob Marley to Michael Jackson to even New Kids on the Block. You heard me, I'm baring it all.