Playlist By Committee is a subdivision of the Institute of Idle Time dedicated to the preservation of the mixtape format. Each month, four governing members and one guest contributor choose a theme and each pick five songs that best correspond to that theme. The songs are then reviewed and ranked by the committee, with the the top songs being added until an 80 minute blank CD is filled. The list is then published via Mixcloud for the listening pleasure of all who seek it. This is our 7th playlist.
As an only child, sharing hasn’t always been my strong suit, but it has always been a cornerstone of the Institute of Idle Time. Even in the early days of IT, when it was just holybeeofephesus, MMDG and djlazybear passing around playlist ideas on e-mails and binder paper, IT has been about the joy of giving and discovering something new. Ironically, I get super protective of the music I like because I feel it says something about me as an individual, but most of the songs I love were (and continue to be) shared with me by my fellow Idlers.
For me, good music only gets better if I hear about it from one of my friends. Yes, songs can become personal mantras and anthems, but they can just as powerfully connect you to another person and a certain time and place in your life. Arcade Fire’s Funeral is an amazing record in its own right, but I love it because my friends and I would have huge air-instrument jam sessions to “Rebellion” on the way home from high school. I probably wouldn’t like Katy Perry as much as I do if my friend Kim hadn’t dragged me to see Part of Me, in theaters, in 3D (she cried when Katy and Russell Brand split up, and she had already seen it, no joke). There’s a song by Will Johnston called “Nothing But Godzillas,” where Johnson explains that “most the time that [things] ain’t shared, they’re only half as good.” I wouldn’t seek this tune out on my own because I’m not into country, but because it was shown to me by WH, it’s something I recognize as beautiful and inspiring.
In fact, the person who got me into following music was none other than djlazybear, a member of the Old Guard, who fed me mixtapes and compilations when I was an awkward 8th grader and needed means of escaping the trivia of teenage life. That simple act of sharing not only provided entertainment, but it is the catalyst moment that would eventually lead me to joining IT. The power of sharing cannot be denied.