Arranging Shelf Music To Suit Head Music

And now the CDs. Brilliantly handy shelf inserts from IKEA have been installed and a provisional arrangement is in place, although it’ll have to be tweaked again when my boxes finally arrive from England with the rest of the CDs.

The Arrangement of CDs is a difficult matter. I could go on and say it isn’t just one of your holiday games, but then I’d have to apologize to T.S. Eliot, and I am adamant that I owe that man NOTHING after struggling through The Waste Land. But where was I? Ah yes, I was being a total nerd. Onwards.

The thing is, the most obvious way to arrange CDs is alphabetically, but that seems to assume the arrangement’s meant to facilitate the locating of a CD I already know I want to listen to, and how often does that happen? Sometimes I don’t realize how much I wanted to listen to a CD until I’m two thirds of the way through. I want an arrangement scheme to detect the music in the back of my head and tell me what it is.

To this end, some sort of genre-based classification seems more suitable (insert obligatory “of course I know you can’t just force music so rigidly into genres and anyone who insists on this needs a laxative pronto, but it’s just convenient, okay?” disclaimer), but that can entail fairly tough decisions. Do I put Elliott Smith under indie pop or singer/songwriters? Should I separate UK hip-hop and US hip-hop? Does The Cure belong with “sound-of-the-80s” or post-punk? Do I even really, I mean really know what the hell post-punk actually is?

While doing this, I’ve been listening to CDs I haven’t heard in a long time, hoping to whittle out deadwood to sell in order to finance future purchases. Some of it’s fairly obvious, like the shiny circle of turd that is the Manic Street Preachers’ This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, and Beth Orton, who I once liked but now find rather dull, but the search through the less obvious candidates has turned up some fairly pleasant discoveries. Unconditionally Guaranteed 2 (an Uncut compilation) has Prettiest Thing (The Creatures) and My Morphine (Gillian Welch), which I can’t believe I didn’t notice when I first got the album in ’99. Your Sweet Voice, from Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend is the sort of saccharine I hate from most other people except Matthew Sweet, who somehow gets away with it. Unfortunately, as much as I tried to like REM’s Up, it still blows. Sorry, guys.