Musings on music, old, new, popular and obscure. Post punk, metal, hip-hop, funk, and rock in general. A music fan with a desire to lose boundaries on what should and should not be listened to writes about experience in music from a listener's perspective, hopefully unhindered by prior expectation.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Dangers of Obsessive Detailing

Normally, there's a huge affair to be had in a post I make--I set aside time, I focus on whatever artist, genre or concept I'm going to talk about by listening to it, and build from there. Right now, I'm taking a sentiment intended to be a brief blurb on my (personal) Facebook account and realizing it was simply too long to fit there reasonably (even if they've removed the limitations that used to exist).

This, however, is merely to sort of let anyone who happens to read this in on how intensely, obsessively, and ridiculously in-depth I can get with arranging my digital music collection (physical music less so, though I have my days there as well).

So, I was working from in order to parse out the tracks from the Thirty Years of Maximum R&B set I recently found exceptionally cheap and used (even though much of it has been overtaken by deluxe edition reissues of the Who's albums, there are exceptions, even some not on Odds and Sods or anything). It's a lovely site, with a pictorial discography of every Who release you could possibly imagine--down to minute differences between international releases, re-releases and so on. It's kind of scary, really, but it's building a public database, isn't it?

Now, having gotten a set of 'cover art' for all my Who (digital) 45s, I decided that my other "45rpm" MP3s ought to have nice images of the sleeved labels, rather than the 45 Catalog approach of labels with cropped grooves. Uniformity, and all that.

So, this is already sounding bad enough, no?

It gets worse.

Now, I'm going through my Beatles, and this means taking tracks from both the 2009 Stereo box and the Mono box, and correctly labeling them. Now, it's all a mess, really, considering a lot of the albums were released only in one format or the other originally, especially if we do as I do and focus on the original UK releases. But nevermind that--I'm dealing in singles.

So as I was going, I suddenly thought, "But, realistically, the mono tracks"--which I have automated playlists to exclude from the database to avoid replicated song plays--"are the ones that were originally released on singles, so they ought to have the Parlophone sleeves and labels, rather than the stereo tracks."

No, no. It gets worse.

Once I found out the interesting fact that "Get Back" was the first stereo single in the U.S. (April 11, 1969) and "The Ballad of John and Yoko" was the first in the U.K. (May 30th, 1969), I realized that this would be a changing fact at some point, and only a certain number of the tracks would follow this 'rule' I'd stupidly created.

So, from there, I worked along until I hit the interesting point: Magical Mystery Tour.

Now, in the U.K., Magical Mystery Tour was just an EP, which meant it was shorter than an album but longer than a single (to simplify things as much as possible), and only contained "Magical Mystery Tour," "The Fool on the Hill," "Flying," "Blue Jay Way," "Your Mother Should Know," and "I Am the Walrus." In the U.S., it was combined with the "All You Need Is Love" single (including its B-side, "Baby You're a Rich Man"), the "Strawberry Fields Forever"/"Penny Lane" double A-side, and "Hello Goodbye" (which had, as its B-side "I Am the Walrus" which was already on the EP).

So now I had an interesting point: technically, this meant those five songs were released at around that date with stereo mixes, just not as singles. So, now, those three singles, because I'm ridiculous, have the cover art for the American album version of Magical Mystery Tour (which expands upon the original art with a patterned yellow and blue border, and pink-on-white lettering listing the track titles).

Is this important?
No, not really. But this gives you an insight into just how ridiculous I can be about these things. Luckily, separating out "not originally released in mono at all" from playlists to have an even mix of 'appropriate mixes for chronology' is not on my list of things to do. I can tell the program I use--Media Monkey--to exclude tracks, albums, etc that include "Mono" (as I've labeled them appropriately) and stick to stereo (and make a separate list for pure mono, which I've done, and just requiring that it does contain the word, instead). But picking tracks here and there would be eight kinds of headache.

Anyway, there's your little window into what I do with my free time. What, more importantly (and, perhaps, terrifyingly), I enjoy doing with it.

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