Friday, February 17, 2006

The Collective Unconscious, or Government Wiretapping?

Brother #2 and I have been swapping tales of coincidences when playing music on the shuffle setting.

For example, as he's driving up past Mono Lake:

In 10+ hours of music yesterday, two coincidences I remember, which of course means it's a whole big conspiracy:
  1. How could iTunes know that Tom Waits and Chuck E. Weiss are old buds? And yet it plays "Murder in the Red Barn" right after "Jimmy Would," which I believe Tom even produced for Mr. Weiss.
  2. How did iTunes know I'd just finished a cell phone call with Sister #1? (Separate question: Do you hang up a cell phone?) As soon as I did, the player switched to Harry Chapin's "30,000 Pounds of Bananas," which is on the live album that I believe she had. At least I remember hearing it from her album first. Maybe it's my memory that's fuzzy.
Well, I could add another: Right after a Sarah McLachlan tune, iTunes plays the Pretenders "Every Day Is Like Sunday," which is from the "Boys on the Side" soundtrack, which also has Sarah McLachlan doing Tom Waits' "Ol' 55." (Everybody knows Kevin Bacon.)

I'm deliberately ignoring the times when iTunes puts Rickie Lee Jones right next to her old beau Mr. Waits. Or next to Norah Jones, which is a cheap coincidence and not worthy of iTunes.
For my part, this morning, I got to work, fired up RealPlayer, clicked Play and got
Bill Cosby's Ray Charles shaving in the dark bit
backed up with
Makin' Whoopee, Parts 1 & 2, by Ray himself
Both are live recordings, so it's like they were doing a show together . . . which is exactly what Cos was describing in his bit. It gets too self reflexive for me to parse until I get to the bottom of my cappuccino.

And that's RealPlayer . . . we know that iTunes is that much smarter than RP . . . I'm thinking that wiretapping thing has gone a little too far when they're programming my playlists like that.

Not that the feds would be clever enough to do that.

1 comment:

  1. I KNOW! The same thing has happened to me and I get totally freaked out. It's always on random, yet out of (let's check) 9.7 days of music - in other words, 3,425 songs - it picks out "Where Do Broken Hearts Go?" and "Where is the Love?" to play back to back? Weird.

    Good thing that hadn't been on Valentine's Day or I would've thought my iPod was trying to get me to break up with Boyfriend!