Bittersweet Shuffle

by vernsanders on May 4, 2012

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a couple of opportunities to drive long distances, which means, of course, more time with my Ipod in my head. Which means I’ve made some significant progress in my Ipod Shuffle quest. So I thought I’d do a bit of an update, for the three of you that are interested…

First, I’m much farther along than the number and tune listed at the bottom of this post. I decided that I’d keep a list as I went along (the metrics of how that list is assembled is a secret with a security clearance akin to that of the Osama Bin Ladin operation last year…) and, at some point after the post referenced above, I started the little footer you see below.

Second, as far as I can tell, there have been no repeats in the shuffle process. It’s a bit difficult, because I’ll hear tunes in some Muzak restaurant/grocery store stream, and then it will come up shortly thereafter on my Ipod, and I’ll think, “is this a repeat?” There are some tunes among my 7875 that appear twice because they are on an original album and then the greatest hits collection, but not too many.

But most importantly, my listening habits have changed over the course of this quest. Whereas at the beginning it was just, one after the other, now I’ll “replay” tunes with some degree of frequency. (That list, which I’m not keeping, would be really interesting view into my head, but it’s not happening…) And here’s what is happening…I’m hitting replay because the tune hits me for some reason, generally random, and some (like a movement from a Bach cantata I heard yesterday) I’ll play multiple times (5, I think it was on the Bach yesterday). And when I let the shuffle go on and do its thing, there is a sense of “goodbye old friend” because I know I’m not going to see hear that tune again…perhaps ever.

Music, like friends and family, can produce such strong emotional ties. And as a church musician, I am very aware that one parishoner’s treasure is someone else’s trash. And for folks of a certain any age, the memory baggage of any given tune is inestimable. If you don’t believe me, think back to any concert you attended which was headlined by a solo artist you went specifically to see. Think about your absolute need to sing along on some of the hits, and your deep disappointment if that artist didn’t do your favorite of their whole catalog. It’s like that, at some level, every Sunday in every church in the US: play the tune I’m waiting for, or I’m left feeling cheated.

And yet…

Worship can’t be just a “greatest hits”" concert, and who gets to make the choice even if some small part of it is?

Serve your churches well…don’t just play the tunes you like the most…

What you think? Are you even listening? Leave me a comment and let me know you are alive…all 3 of you…   :)

Ipod shuffle status (What is this?): 3990 (Dr. Feelgood – Aretha Franklin)  of 7875

Get my EBook The Choir in Modern Worship



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Janice Timm May 4, 2012 at 9:45 am

I’m listening! Oh and I pray constantly that the hymns and songs we sing each week are not the tunes I like the most… and sometimes, God just smacks me upside the head in the middle of the service and says “What were you *thinking* choosing *that* one????? Sing this one instead. So I change the song in response to the Word. Most people just smile and shake their heads and say “That’s Janice.” But some say Thank You – the new song you chose really spoke to me (moved me, responded to the moment). And once, I did have someone say “I was so looking forward to singing XYZ and then you changed it, which was ok, but when are we going to sing XYZ?”

As always, Vern. you get me thinking.

vernsanders May 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

You forgot the “roll their eyes” part when they say “There goes Vern again…” :)

Sheldon July 6, 2012 at 7:17 am

Listening and I agree. Big questions … fewer answers.
take care.

vernsanders July 6, 2012 at 11:32 am

It may not be an answer, Sheldon, but my mantra is “local solutions for local situations…” so I do listen more these days that when, as Bob Dylan wrote, “I was so much older then…I’m younger than that now…”

Previous post:

Next post: