I decided I wanted to start 2010 with a clean iTunes slate, so this week I put my epic Drive-By Truckers re-listen on hold to frantically plow through everything that was built up in my various unplayed and/or unrated playlists. I am getting much, much better about acquiring music with some sense of discernment, but I still occasionally build up a backlog of things I wanted (or wanted in iTunes; a lot of what I had to listen to and rate was CDs I imported at various points in the fall) but then forgot about or didn’t care enough about to make the time to listen to.
I spent about 18 months over 2006 and 2007 obsessively organizing and rating my fairly massive music library, and I’ve kept it reasonably up to date since then; I use smart playlists based on ratings and last listens to turn my library over pretty regularly (or at least I try to), and if it’s not rated, it won’t show up in those playlists. So I have to rate things, and I have to hear them to rate them. Sometimes it’s tedious. Sometimes it’s great fun. (The new Black Crowes album! Surprisingly excellent!)
Regardless: I got all the way through that stuff, and all those playlists are empty. It involved a lot of mid-90s Tori Amos (oh, teenage self) and also Salt ‘n’ Pepa (don’t ask, but I had to go listen to all my Outkast today when I was finished rating things), but it’s done. I have a few things in my to-import folder, 2009 releases I picked up late-late-late in the year (the Antlers, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, and ex-Hush Sound-er Greta Salpeter’s solo debut as Gold Motel) based mostly on the strength of year-end-list reviews, but I am for all intents and purposes starting 2010 with my ears open to nothing but new music. It feels good; I’ll get back to the Truckers sooner rather than later, with a two night stand in Raleigh impending in February, but for now, tomorrow I’m going to listen to a few final 2009 releases and then get ready for whatever new music 2010 is going to bring my heart and my brain and my ears and my camera. It’s a literal clean slate in iTunes, and I’m aiming for a metaphorical one in my life. I’m going to start 2010 fresh.
I thought about trying to pinpoint the important moments of this year — and, oddly, two of the ones I kept coming back to happened in Tennessee, a state in which I spent only about 72 hours, if that, in 2009 — thought about trying to quantify this year somehow, and I can’t do it. I was unemployed for 10 weeks. I spent a lot of time watching baseball. I got my heart broken in Richmond, Virginia. I took thousands of pictures, and some of them were even excellent. I think about this year, and I think that it sucked hard and was miserable, but there were high points. There were good things, and great things. In my head, 2009 sucked. If I aim for the good parts of 2009 in 2010, it can’t be that bad. So it’s going to be a good year. Can’t be worse than 2009, to start with, even with the good bits.
I’m ringing 2009 out with Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech, some butter chicken curry and a bottle of wine, maybe an hour and a half of a party if shep. and I both get up from our naps, and if 2010 could live up to those standards, it’d be okay with me.
The song I’m going out on this year should probably be the Mountain Goats’ “This Year”, but it’s not; it’s Ha Ha Tonka’s “Close Every Valve To Your Bleeding Heart”, and it’s perfect.
thick skinned, hard headed, better off
you’re closing every valve to your bleeding heart
does it hurt too much? are you just fed up?
or is it something else entirely?
Happy New Year’s, kids. May 2010 be happy and healthy.