Recently a close friend proposed a project for everyone to take part in. We would all make a 10-song mix CD of tunes that were particularly meaningful or hold some special place in our heart. Then we'd burn enough copies for everyone and swap them.
The concept on the surface didn't seem that exciting, just making another mix, something I've done for friends, girlfriends, and long car rides since burned CDs existed. Once I really dove in to the project though it became clear how awesome this would be. I cruised through my library, scanning artist names for ones that popped out and it became a great chance to revisit some of my old favorite songs and the memories that came along with them.
The most crucial element is the limitation of 10 songs. By limiting yourself to 10 songs it forces you to make difficult decisions about what your most influential songs are. Not only was I choosing which songs I wanted to share with my friends, I was choosing which parts of myself I thought were the most important and most formative elements of my life (I took this really seriously). The social element of the project meant that I was more selective as well, leaving off songs that I thought would be skipped by my friends.
I may have taken a more personal, biographical approach to the project than others in the group. Some people tried to show the breadth of their music tastes while others just picked their favorite songs whether they carried emotional attachment or not.
After finishing my mix I thought of some other variations on the project such as "10 songs you'd want on a desert island", "10 songs to play for future humanity", "10 songs for aliens", "the 10 you'd time travel to the past with", "10 of your favorite bad songs", and so on. This project is also great because after you're all done you get to trade and listen to your friends' choices!
To make my CD (which I'm including below) I selected something like 25-30 songs, then narrowed it down to 12 and finally down to 10 with a few additions and subtractions. I decided not to include any classical music as it would have made the whole process much more difficult. I went with a theme of "songs that have influenced me musically" but like I mentioned above, left off some of the more difficult artists. Here are the 10 songs that I settled on. And no, I'm not writing the memories they are associated with.
1. The Outfield - All the Love
2. Son House - Death Letter
3. Million Dead - I Gave My Eyes to Stevie Wonder
4. Millencolin - Kemp
5. Catch-22 - Keasby Nights
6. The Falcon - Building the Perfect Asshole Parade
7. Donna Lewis - Always Forever
8. Dizzee Rascal - Fix Up Look Sharp
9. Kid Dakota - 10,000 Lakes
10. Bon Iver - Beth/Rest