The Value of Reflecting On Music

A little less than three years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to the idea of personal music charts.  At its most basic level, personal music charts are just your personal version of the Billboard music charts.  Every week, you think about which song goes first, second, third, etc.  The exact criteria for how to order them, and whether or not you want to do more with them than that, is up to you.

Anyway, for most of the time since I was introduced to the concept, I’ve been doing some sort of music chart.  At times it’s felt a bit burdensome, which is why I stopped doing it for a few months last year.  Part of that is because I ramped up my songs per week from 20 to 50, kept track of songs’ peak positions, kept track of how many weeks songs had been on my charts (and how many weeks in a row), and at one point even had a very extensive points system for my charts that involved a significant amount of math.  (I still do most of that, but I canned the points system and just went with points for each song off the top of my head.)

The reason I decided to continue the system is that the work tends to be worth it.  As both a music lover and a nostalgic person, I like remembering which songs I particularly loved at certain points in time.  Also, with a constantly growing library of 6700+ songs, 50-song playlists of songs I’ve really enjoyed lately make it a lot easier to listen to music without spending forever picking songs.

But I think one of the most valuable pieces of it for me is that it forces me to really reflect on my music.  Ordering songs – even just speaking of individual weeks – is extremely difficult sometimes, but it forces me to think about the songs that mean the most to me.  Even with charts that have 50 songs in them, it still forces me to really distinguish and think; yes, I love this song, but have I enjoyed it enough this week to put it in my chart?

It’s not that I devalue the songs that don’t; it’s that I grow to love songs more.  I have tons of songs that are rated five or four stars; there’s no way to distinguish between songs on those levels.  But I do this and then I can look at a song and say, “Wow, this has been #1 on my chart four times.”  And it shows me how much I really love that song.

What I’m getting to here is that I’ve found there’s a lot of value in finding a way to really think about your music.  It doesn’t even have to be in the form of a music chart – although I really do find it to be a fun and effective way to do so – but just something to really make you think and separate the songs you’re really passionate about, the songs that mean the world to you, from the songs that you simply love.

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