There’s a certain type of girl – and I’m one of them, 100% – who has the script from Almost Famous down. “I always tell the girls never to take it seriously. If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt. If you never get hurt, you always have fun. And if you ever get lonely, you can just go to the record store and visit your friends.” I can type it without Googling.
Those are the immortal words of the real-in-all-our-hearts Penny Lane, played by Kate Hudson in the movie that celebrates music and writing. It also has the most incredible soundtrack.
It’s a cool concept, having your friends in music on hand to help you feel better in the way that only music can. If Almost Famous was set in the 2010s, and William Miller was a blogger instead of a type-writing magazine columnist, perhaps Penny Lane’s advice would have been, “If you ever get lonely, just load up Spotify and visit your friends.”
While vinyl will always be better than digital and live will be better than recorded, there’s room for Spotify in the modern age and here is why: the dynamic playlist.
I call mine, “Songs I Love With All My Heart” and it’s one of the most worthwhile projects I’ve ever worked on. It formed organically when I first started using Spotify a few years ago: back when every third song would be interrupted with an ad. At work I would be listening and remember how much I loved a song like, “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” by Wilco, and I would add it to my playlist. I would discover new songs that would be instant additions because I immediately knew that I would never be without them. The only test a song had to pass to be on the list is that I loved it, with all of my heart.
Now I have 88 songs on a playlist that continues for 5 hours and 25 minutes, which is long enough to last the drive from my hometown to Sydney. Each time I add a song, the date is recorded, from the 23rd of January in 2013 when I added my first songs, to four days ago, when I added my 87th and 88th. I play it on shuffle, and I never know which song of the 88 will come on next. I only know that I’ll love it. There’s a certain kind of buoyancy you experience when all you’re doing is listening to music that you absolutely love – your heart soars, and you remember who you are, and love that it’s who you’ve always been and always will be. You come home again.
It’s a little bit like a portal to reliving a lot of memories, too. The remnants of my emo phase, my rap phase, and the times I could listen to nothing but Seahaven on repeat. Soon my playlist will turn 3 and it will have taken me from when I was 24 until almost 28. It’s definitely been a place that I’ve gone, when I’ve been lonely, to visit my friends.
This is my playlist:
What would be on yours?