Apple recently released iTunes (version 8.0) software, spotlighting a new Genius feature that supposedly creates a perfect playlist to go with whatever song you choose. I installed it, and then tried to figure out the big deal right from my laptop. At first glance, it seemed to be another gimmick to sell more tunes. Soon after download, I forgot about my new Genius. That is until Tuesday.
While selecting a playlist for the ride home, I noticed a new button on my iPhone in the playlists menu. Out of curiosity, I clicked it and selected a Pat Benatar song which began playing immediately. Next, another song played from the same time period. It was a song that I had forgotten that I had. Before long, I was transported back in time to the days of total freedom — with my convertible Fiat, my golden retriever, and long road trips to anywhere and everywhere.
The songs kept coming, surprising me again and again. I was soon driving down the street towards YaYa’s school with Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 blasting "We don’t need no education." I quickly turned the music down as I pulled into the parking lot.
My enjoyment of Pink Floyd was not discovered, however it wasn’t all good.
With football practice as the next stop, YaYa and I were back in the car. I resumed the playlist, skipped past a few songs and settled on another Pat Benatar song. She was my favorite artist back in the day. Without a thought, I began singing along until I realized that "hell" might not be such a good word to sing. I skipped the word but kept the song going, unaware of the effect that the song, in general, was having on little YaYa.
I stopped at the curb to drop him off and discovered a pale and somber face.
I don’t believe that; please tell me what is wrong.
Hell? Hell is for Children?
It’s just a song YaYa. A song about horrible things that bad guys do to children. She is saying that is bad like hell is bad.
It doesn’t mean that hell is really for children…
My explanation clearly wasn’t helping things. I promised not to listen to it around him. I parked the car in a proper spot and gave my iPod a timeout.
I didn’t resume my Genius playlist until the next morning. I chose a different "seed" song. Like magic, I was taken back to the 80s where life was easy, Tom and I were just beginning our courtship, and my life was essentially just beginning. Each song was a new surprise and brought with it an old memory: Dire Straits, Bruce Springstein, and many other forgotten artists.
Happily singing my way to work, I began thinking about the different effect these songs had on YaYa and me. For him, it was painful. For me, it was the complete opposite. Personally, I think it’s Genius: simply Genius! The best part is these are songs that I already have.