Man, I haven’t listened to Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend in a long time – way too long – but it accompanied me to work this morning. I always tend to prefer the follow-up, Altered Beast, but the thing about Girlfriend that is so pleasing is that things seem a little looser. Robert Quine’s guitar work absolutely slays – more than anything, this is what keeps me coming back to this album. It has that ragged around the edges, playing loose with the rules feel that results in instant excitement. You get the feeling that he’s taking the curves a little too fast but somehow he manages to correct and keep everything on track. Fascinating. Altered Beast, on the other hand, is tighter and might have better songs, but it loses that wild, loose feeling.
Lately I get to work and want to listen to something on my Ipod but find it impossible. I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of things. One, listening seems to do exactly the opposite of what I hope, which is make the time pass quicker, because I become aware of how many songs I’ve listened to, which tells me how long I’ve been sitting at my desk. The other is that weird isolation that occurs when listening to music, especially with my in-ear Shures, which have some amazing outside sound-dampening properties. It’s kind of an eerie feeling to me and makes me feel a little paranoid because people can be standing right behind me, talking, and I won’t even hear them. It has happened many times. So more often than I like, I don’t listen to music at work. It depends on my mood and how deeply I need to get into something. It’s complex, I guess.
And there’s also the matter of what works at work. I have often found that jazz is simply something I can’t do at work. It requires more attention than I can afford, so I often save it for the drive home from work . . . which is a little weird given that you’d think I would need to concentrate more on driving than clicking a mouse. Different kinds of concentration.
One thing I find annoying about the Ipod is that when using playlists it simply displays all the songs. Why can’t it display the artists and albums just like it does in the normal views? Perhaps I just want a subset of music, say all of my 2007 albums, in one playlist so I can choose from only those, but don’t want them listed out by song? This is just a setting, a choice made by the Ipod designers, and I don’t understand why it can’t be a choice we users make. I suppose most users do the “a la carte” song thing and so this doesn’t mean anything, but surely I’m not among that small of a minority that having this ability goes overlooked, right?