The only way to compile a “Best of…” song list :-)

After announcing to write this post for a while I finally get around to do so. And probably will bore you all to death :-) I’m way to lazy to actually include the result (= song list) in this post, because I want to comment on the songs and that will take ages as well. Anyway I will be seeing The Killers live in concert in three weeks and I am SO looking forward to it. Im not listening to anything else on my cellphone, although I’ve got the music of quite a few other bands artists saved on it.
I can’t compile playlists on my cellphone or maybe I can and am just to dumb to figure out how, so I usually put the Killers folder on shuffle and skip the songs I don’t like. A couple of days ago I remembered my “Best of…” mixtapes of the good old days. Compiling those always was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun and I decided to do it once more and make a “Best of The Killers” compilation. At home I can save that compiliation as a Winamp Playlist and “for the “road I just have to put numbers to the song files names and don’t choose shuffle but play the songs in that order.
Which leads to the basic of my way of putting together these compiliation: Order is the most important. It’s probably totally geeky, but to me a countdown from from the No 20 (or whatever) favourite song to the ultimate No 1 song is essential. What’s the point in a best of compiliation if the songs are played in a rather random order anyway? Seriously, to me part of the fun listening to a best of mix is knowing that you’re going to like the next song even better than the one you’ve just listened to. Anticipation is the key. Yes, I know that’s really geeky, but I warned you… :-)
The hard work with these kind of compilations is not only to narrow it down to about 25 – 30 songs (which was the maximum for 2x 45 minutes) but even more to put theses songs in the right order. And that takes careful consideration, repeated listening and weighing songs against each other, which usually is the hardest part. Back in the good, but really really old days, I usually wrote down every song I might use ( = the whole work of that band/artist, which sometimes was huge) and did all the sorting and compiling on paper, which got messy after a few rounds and countless lists. Excel really is helpful for things like this.

I think there might even be a scientific term for the way I put the songs into my order, but I don’t remember the term. Anyway: I usually divide this first huge selection into two groups: Songs I like more and songs I like less (Vague classification, but it works). If the “like more” category includes more than the 30 songs (I’ll stay with this number in this “manual”)  I continue this process till it’s narrowed down to 30 songs. There usually already is some weighing involved, especially when it comes down to which song to not include.

Once I have narrowed it down to these 30 songs, the next step is to rank them, which basically means to rate them in a “like a lot / like ok / like less” way. That includes even more weighing songs against each other, because if l didn’t like a song a lot already it wouldn’t have made it into this 30 song list in the first place. The whole process starts again withinin each category with even more careful weighing. After a few hours days  there will be a first draft which will still need some tweaking because sometimes you might realize that you like song A less than song B, but you actually like it almost as much as song H or any other song you haven’t actually weighed it against.

But after long and careful consideration you have a compilation that ranks your favorite songs in the order you will definitely enjoy listening too. At least I do. During the last 15 or so years I obviously really forgot how time consuming the whole thing is, no wonder I never worked out these sort of compilations since highschool :-)


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