A few years ago my CD collection had grown to an unmanageable size and I decided it was time to rip the whole thing into MP3. It took me about 2 years to get through it all but it was totally worth it. Now I had most of my music in a searchable index and I was pleased. Soon as my collection grew beyond it's original 60GB size it started getting harder and harder to search so I decided that it was time to start tagging all of my music. The only fields open to me were Artist, Album and Genre. I groaned, I wailed, I pulled on my hair and finally sat down and started creating genres for my music.
I hate genre. I hate it with a burning passion, I think it's a terrible way of describing music in any but the broadest of terms. So I stick with some pretty broad terms; Opera is easy to distinguish from Punk Rock, Hip-Hop sounds very different from Mexican Bolero etc. The real bitch of it comes in truly modern music. Where the hell do I put Devotchka? They're a Gypsy/Bolero rock band from Denver for fucks sake. Genre? They want nothing to do with it, just enjoy. What about Beck? Every album sounds like a new street drug I've never tried and any attempt to file it in my collection feels wrong.
Alas a gigantic music collection requires some organizing or I'll find myself back with my CDs, staring at a giant cluster fuck of boxes and buying the same album three times in one year because I don't think I own it. So I can either create a genre tag for every Balkan Beat Box that keeps scribbling outside of genre lines or I can try and group some of this crap together so I can find it. Recently a genre tag that I truly despise is creeping into my digital music.
I hate you, Indie genre tag. You are a method for distributing music, not a damn genre. You describe nothing, but so much of what I'm all about these day keeps landing in this pile. Again, Devotchka? Where the hell do you go Devotchka? Beyond creating a specific genre for Ukranian/Mexican Rock I can find little else to place them in. Maybe rock, but it still doesn't fit quite right. I'm not rocking out while I listen to them, I rock out when I hear The Black Keys. Or to make things worse, where am I to file Beirut? Gypsy-folk? AAAARG!
I've tried replacing the Indie tag with a few others and I've managed to extract Indie Pop and Psychedelic into their own categories but honestly it's painful work and not something I'm interested in spending a lot of time laboring over. I want to enjoy my music, not spend a couple hundred hours organizing it. That is the exact reason I went to MP3s so long ago, it's supposedly very convenient. Prove it to me MP3s, be more convenient.
I want music playing software that allows me to write in my own fields and then populate them with data that matters to me. Like what kind of sex goes good with this particular Leonard Cohen collection, or what color fruit reminds me of this Animal Collective track. I want emotional tagging. I want to be able to ascribe a mood to every track and every album in my library so when I'm feeling pissy I can just scroll down through my Ani Difranco records and listen to all the tracks tagged as "Pissy". Where's my Magical iPod that can do all of this? Damn you Indie genre, damn you for being useful and annoying.
Fuck it, someone please just take a picture of me every time I play Gulag Orkestar and tell me where it should be filed.
Thanks for listening to me rant,