Sunday, November 23, 2008

What's Your Favorite Song?

A couple days ago, a post at raised an impossible question: What's your favorite song? It's a question I couldn't even begin to think of an answer to. I've got 500+ songs rated at five stars on my iPod and if I have one favorite song, it's in there somewhere. But how to distinguish it among flash-in-the-pan recent loves and other tunes that are great but not GREAT? Could it even be done?

Well, maybe. I thought about a series of head-to-head comparisons of 128 songs, widdling them done to one champion. So I took the list of fivers from the iPod and started striking songs that weren't legitimate contenders. Newer stuff got kicked. Almost all local songs were out, on the idea that part of what makes the favorite is a sense of a large community of fans existing somewhere out there. And in any case in which one album had multiple fives I tried to pick my favorite from those (e.g., Radiohead's "Just" knocked "My Iron Lung" out). And I was still left with over 200 tunes. So I took another whack at the list, got it down to 192 and decided to do three-way trials in the first round. I put them all in random order then grouped in threes for 64 sets. For each set, I'll listen to the songs, figure out which I like best, and write it up. In 127 posts I'll have a favorite song, just in case this ever comes up again.

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