Are You Your Playlist

Are you your playlist?


If you were asked to list your top 10 songs or pieces of music, how would you go about it? Could you even decide on a definitive list? I heard someone once say that a person’s essence can be boiled down to a playlist – that when it comes down to it, we’re all just walking collections of our interests.

One thing I do know is that our list is deeply personal. If I was informed that there was another person in the world who had the exact same list as me in the exact same order, I would really want to meet them. I would be compelled to ask them to explain their choices and I would anticipate that we would see the world through a similar lens. Instinctively, I feel that we could be great friends just because we chose the same songs!

So what about your personal top 10 songs… how would you compile that list? I’m sure there’s two or three that immediately come to mind, the default choices that you decided a long time ago are ‘your songs’.

Would you choose the ten tracks that give you the most pleasure right now, the ones that are on high rotation at the moment? The chances are that these ten songs probably won’t be the same in a year’s time, but does that matter?

Or would you choose the classic songs that have been your companions for many years, like an old friend. The songs that are etched in your consciousness, like wearing your favourite old T-shirt. It could be argued that the songs that have had great meaning to us over the years are a more accurate representation of who we are.

What about the songs that are linked to powerful memories? Have you heard a song that has frozen you in your tracks, reminding you of a long lost friend, or a great time in your life, or your first love? Would you choose the songs that remind you of pivotal moments in your life or special people that you met along the way? I remember one day I was having lunch with my parents and we were having a laugh about something and suddenly my mother started crying because a song had just started playing on the radio which reminded her of her brother. Within ten seconds she shifted from laughter to tears, such was the power of the memory attached to that song.

As I was thinking of this, I jotted down ten songs as a start. Then I changed one. A few minutes later I changed another, and another. I then asked myself which songs I could I not live without. Which songs make me feel that all is right with the world. Which songs would cause me the most pain if I could never hear them again… and my list changed again!

Think of the two people that are closest to you, that know you better than anyone. If they were asked to guess your top ten playlist, would their list be close to yours? What about if they were asked to choose the ten songs that best represented you, what songs would others choose for you, and why?

Exploring this theme of your personal playlist reveals how unique and subjective music is to us, perhaps because the music that has special meaning to us reflects our own unique life experience.

So what’s your list?