Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Open Letter to the Shuffle Feature on my iPhone

Dear Shuffle Feature on my iPhone,

Your function, as I understand it, is to randomize the music played from my iPhone based on a 13GB section fo my songs on iTunes. The function exists to "shuffle" my songs around, like one might "shuffle" a deck of cards.

However, Shuffle Feature, when I picture you shuffling my songs like a Vegas card dealer, I can only imagine that the anthropomorphized version of you has two stubs where your hands would be, as though you were arrested for shoplifting twice in what I assume is all Arabian countries that have singing genies.

Because, here's the thing. I know that part of your algorithm is to take my preferences, based on Star Ratings, and Play Counts, and what have you, and weight those songs more heavily. That's fine. And I know that you must be able to "see" that I have four Radiohead albums on my iPhone, which is more albums for one singer or group than any other group in my library. And I know you can see that all of those albums have Five stars each. And that's fine, too--if I were really thinking about it, and actively constructing a set of preferences, I probably would like to hear Radiohead more often than any other band on my iPhone.

The thing is, though, Shuffle Feature: for the past three weeks or so, whenever I turn on "Shuffle All Songs," within the first seven songs, without fail, you play a song by Radiohead, and, much to my dismay, confusion, and displeasure, that song always happens to be "Fitter Happier." For those who don't know, this quote-unquouth Radiohead "song" appears on OK Computer, one of the greatest albums of all time, and is really little more than a text-to-voice robot saying a lot of very pessimistic things over some bleep-bloops for three minutes. It would be like turning on The White Album and hearing "Revolution #9" over and over again, or constantly getting "Love Is Like Jazz" from 69 Love Songs. There are much, much better options on OK Computer. Like, songs with a beat, for example; or songs with choruses, for another; songs that are actually songs, and not bleak, mechanical recitations of depressing facets of my daily life. Not tons what I want to listen to at the beach, is what I'm saying, Shuffle Feature.

And so, I plead you--I beg you--before I crash my car trying to skip past "Fitter Happier" for the humpteenth time on the Turnpike: can I get some Karma Police up in the top 10? Maybe No Surprises? There are three other albums for you to choose from...In Rainbows has some nice tracks, as does Amnesiac. Broaden your horizons, Shuffle Feature. I think you will grow to like the Radiohead selections that couldn't be constructed from and a random xylophone-note automaton.

Also, cool it with the "Squalor Victoria."



1 comment:

  1. new arcade fire album is better than radiohead. pitchfork told me so. must be true