Liked?

I spent more time than was justifiable Sunday evening and Monday morning culling my Spotify library. In 2020, Spotify changed the way its Liked Songs playlist worked for users so that, when you add an album to your library, all of the songs on that album no longer get automatically added to the Liked Songs list. I didn’t take much stock of the change and kept adding albums and songs to my library. As the tally of Liked Songs crept toward 8,000, though, I decided to get under the hood and see what was actually in there.

Digital music is like digital photography in that its greatest advantage–the sheer size of a collection–is also its greatest hindrance. I’ve also spent obscene amounts of time trying to organize, backup, and categorize years worth of digital photos–and for what? For the collection. I used to have my music collection lined up in plastic cases on a shelf, and I still have collections of pictures in photo books, but a digital collection is something very, very different. Still, I want to be able to get my hands around it and to know where it begins and ends.

8,000 songs is not a collection. It’s a mess. So I cut it down by half. I went through every album in my library, removing many of them entirely (some were nostalgic relics of albums I had as a teenager but that I’m never going to actually play start-to-finish–sorry Richard Marx; others were albums I’d added with the hope of listening to them later but never did). For the albums I kept, I un-liked the songs on them that I don’t actually, well, like. For an album to justify its existence in my library, there need to be at least three songs on it that I like. However, movie soundtracks, as a category, are exempt from this rule; I don’t really like any of the songs on “The Bridges of Madison County” soundtrack, but I like to play it in its entirety when I’m in a certain mood.

Here, then, is a five-song random shuffle of my new, slimmed down, Liked Songs playlist. I stand by all of these.

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