Quick thoughts on the music selection in Yahoo! Music Engine

Jeremy has a vibrant discussion going over at his blog about his experience with Yahoo! Music Engine, specifically the synchronization feature he recently used. (And there’s some discussion in the comments about the system requirements, but I’ll leave that to Jeremy’s blog for now.) Now that I’m working at Yahoo! and I’m using Windows again, I decided to give YME a shot.

High Fidelity First, I’ll admit — I can be a wee bit of a music snob, and I’ve committed quite a few of the base sins that music snobs commit (especially the sub-species of indie rock music snobs). I briefly DJ’ed at a station with barely enough broadcast wattage to get to the station’s parking lot, yet I took my 2-5am slot very seriously. When I ran a small music venue in college, I probably sneered with contempt as I turned down a bad local metal band who begged to play on an unbooked Tuesday night. And, of course, I’ve turned against obscure bands that have gotten popular because they are actually good. When I watch High Fidelity, too many of the “top 5 list” debates bring back very specific memories. When I’m at a party at a stranger’s house, I could care less about secretly peeking in the medicine cabinet — but I’m not above a quick scan of the spines of someone’s CD collection. (Despite all of the above, I have miraculously managed to avoid a vinyl obsession. When you’re engaged in a conversation with a fellow music snob and you assert that a truly obscure band sounds better on vinyl, time to recalibrate that music obsession).

That being said, I’ve found a lot of indie rock music-snob-worthy stuff on YME: Yo La Tengo, Built to Spill, Guided by Voices, Big Star, Calexico, Sonic Youth, Flaming Lips, Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill. . . after a few days, I keep finding more stuff I like. I’m very impressed with the diversity.

In reality, I’m not that much of a music snob — on a recent out-of-town trip to a bachelor party with a bunch of equally discriminate music fans, I played a CD that I had labeled “Classic Rock Mix.” This one CD was my own distillation of The Eagles’ Greatest Hits and Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits into one rockin’ CD without the songs that I perceived as filler in the two larger works. After a brief period of indie-rocker indignation, the criticism subsided and there was nothing but appreciative toe-tapping and head bobbing. If “Jet Airliner” and “Take It Easy” don’t move you on one of those perfect summer days when everything is just right, then you’re simply not human.

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