Even though my musical tastes have broadened significantly over the years, whenever I look through my list of most played artists I almost always see the usual suspects at the top - sort of a recurring who's who of my general musical tastes: Jimmy Buffett, Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Chet Atkins, Keb Mo, John Mayer, Tom Petty, The Allman Bros.
But there's always a handful of individual songs which stand out and don't belong to the usual suspects. As I was listening to a collection of my playlists in the background just a moment ago, two of my all-time favorite songs came on back-to-back for the first time. And while they both have a somewhat similar sound and emerged from the same era, they both end up conveying entirely different emotions.
The former is an absolutely haunting melody which conveys the ultimate in me-too despair after a rough day. Meanwhile the latter makes you want to roll down your windows on a sunny day and sing along at the top of your lungs as you roll through the countryside.
The art of the well-balanced mix tape used to be the ultimate, personal musical expression. Yet the simplicity of the 'random' setting on one of my playlists just nailed it (for me anyway.)