Cruising Solo

Ah, the ol’ family food chain. My dad bought a car, so Suanna and I bought his old one, a ’93 Mazda with considerably fewer miles than our venerable ’92 Corolla. Suanna and Ella flew back from Michigan, but I drove our new ride back to DC alone. Fortunately I had had the forethought to bring the trusty mp3 player along, so I had tunes for the ride.

I ripped mp3s off of my CDs several years ago, at the height of the popularity of _Buffy: The Vampire Slayer_. I knew I wanted to assign genres to the tracks so that I could play songs by genre either on the computer or in the car, but traditional subdivisions like Folk, Rock, and Alternative weren’t useful at all. So I decided to organize by metaphor: my “genres” became characters from _Buffy_, based loosely on the music that character might like. So all geek rock (They Might Be Giants, Moxy Fruvous) went into the “Xander” category, while the artsy moody stuff (Belle & Sebastian, The Pernice Brothers) fell under “Willow,” and so on.

For the long cruise home yesterday, I opted for “Giles”: everything from the 60’s and 70’s, or by artists who were at their height at that time. It turned out to be a good choice. The air was balmy and the sunroof was open around twilight, with the sky dappled orange behind me, when the following sequence kicked in:

Absolutely Sweet Marie –> Respect –> Piece of My Heart –> In the Light –> Like a Rolling Stone[1]

The sublime beauty of those twenty minutes carried me the rest of the way home without complaint. Well, that and lots of cheese popcorn.

It’s high time for a new set of genres, though. I need a set of ten or so characters or other entities that I can assign music to in a non-arbitrary and metaphorical way. Any suggestions?

fn1. That’s Dylan, Aretha, Janis, Zeppelin, Dylan, for those who weren’t sure.