Since ripping all my CDs and only buying MP3s, I’ve missed the ability to easily browse my albums when deciding what to play. While I don’t hate iTunes as much as many people seem to, it still turns music into a joyless spreadsheet.
So, given scrolling through lists of data rarely gave me the inspiration that browsing shelves of CDs once did, I came up with a typically laborious and completist solution: make a playlist containing only complete albums and EPs, and finish finding all their cover art.
It’s not a ground-breaking innovation but it is very nice. It’s easy to scroll through my decades-in-the-making playlist until something grabs me. Much better than looking through a spreadsheet of artist and album titles. I’m re-playing music I’d forgotten I owned, that I forgot existed, that was previously buried away among rows and columns of uninspiring text.
Of course, just as when I used to browse CDs I still find myself thinking, “No, none of these 1,200 albums are quite right.” And this still feels like a solution from the past, for people who miss physical music, and like listening to complete albums, and still buy music occasionally. But I like it.