Updated: Nov 6
By Bob Deakin
I’m out on a run yesterday and take longer than usual since the weather is so good. I’m listening to my George Harrison playlist on Spotify. It includes his acoustic-driven songs and tracks from other artists that fit a similar style.
I don’t sweat making Spotify playlists. I add and remove songs frequently. They are for the run, and I tire of them quickly.
I am careful, however, to only include songs that fit a particular mood. I don’t want to mess with my phone while I run, so I make sure each track works. This mix is doing it for me on a bright, sunny day with temps in the 70s.
I feel good, the air is fresh, and nothing hurts. At five miles, I’m still good, so I keep going. The music is working, and I feel like I could run all day. Songs range from Harrison to Al Stewart, Steve Winwood to the English Beat.
When what to my wondering ears should appear…
“Positively 4th Street” by Bob Dylan.
WTF? This is not on my list!
The mood changes and I don’t want to run anymore. Suddenly I feel that old twinge in my left knee, and the sun doesn’t look as bright. It’s like a guitar string broke while laying down the perfect take.
Nothing wrong with the song, but it doesn’t work with this list. Not now, not ever.
I awkwardly reach over my arm and click to the next song, figuring it was a roque intrusion.
WHAT! “Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry” by Chicago. Not on my list and would never make any list of mine. Now the groove is gone. I’m limping back in the direction of my car, which is a mile away. After all the who I’ve been through, is Spotify going to make it up to me?
I calmly assess the situation and realize that my playlist was nearing the end. Spotify, rather than repeat it, feels I would rather hear new, remotely related songs not on my list.
How dare you mess with my playlist, Spotify! You think your AI algorithm knows me? You are sadly mistaken. I wasted good decades researching what songs belong on a George Harrison mix. Particularly a sunny, acoustic mix.
You don’t see any John Lennon or Paul McCartney songs there, do you? I bet “Sister Golden Hair” by America was your next intrusion into my list since it’s acoustic and has the George Martin connection.
It doesn’t work like that, Mr. Spotify.
Bob Dylan wrote songs with Harrison and was a member of the Traveling Wilburys; the connection lies in Mr. Spotify’s brain. David Foster played piano on Harrison albums and produced “Hard for Me…” by Chicago. The longer I let Spotify have its way with my list, the more inappropriate connections it will make.
Not today, Spotify. And I’m a subscriber. What kind of treatment is that? Stick to podcasts. I don't think you ever liked music anyway.
I’ve learned my lesson. From now on, I’ll make my playlists so long that they never end.
I don’t care anymore, Spotify; this is my life. This reminds me of the Billy Joel song. And hey, now that I think of it, Peter Cetera from Chicago sings background on it. There’s the Chicago connection again. It’s probably next on Spotify’s list of intrusions.
Go ahead with your own life, Spotify. Leave me alone.