• Making your iTunes playlists all they can be.

    10 Ene 2011, 8:20

    For the past year or so, I've been updating my iTunes music with as much info as I could. In addition to the regular fields like Title, Artist, Album, Year & Genre, I've tried to add BPM, Album Art, Composer, and Comments for every song. the main purpose was to take advantage of the Smart Playlists in iTunes to create playlists from similar songs. The more fields filled out, the more options you have to include or exclude songs.

    Discogs was my first discovery in getting the regular fields filled in, and has helped a great deal in organizing my library. But going one or two songs at a time have been time consuming, so I've concentrated on filling in info on any new songs I add first.

    Next, a great program to fill out BPMs on any track is the free Mixmeister BPM analyzer. It can be done retroactively by dragging songs from the iTunes window into it, as well as before being added to iTunes. Often slower BPMs (those below ~70) can be doubled (140), but they can be easily spotted and adjusted. Having BPMs can help a great deal in dance playlists to maintain tempos from song to song.

    Since m4a songs can't have info written on to them like mp3s, I try to avoid adding them to the library. But for m4a songs already there, to calculate BPMs I use a free website, Tap for BPM Neat tool to add BPM info when Mixmeister can't do it.

    For producer credits, I used the Composer field. Again, Discogs is a great place to find this info. Anything that isn't there, I try, and many times YouTube.

    All that info will only get you so far. Tracks can be all the same tempo and genre, but what if you want an all female playlist? What if you want a playlist where all the songs have a piano? Well, the genius of a Smart Playlist in iTunes is that it can search the comments field, which I think is the most important field to use. Here, you can put keywords about the song to help you filter results and make your playlists as good as they can be.

    For lyrics, I've been using EvilLyrics, a free program that will look up the lyrics for the song that is currently playing in your iTunes. I usually use it once the song is already added to the library. It is successful about 70% of the time, but for any rare or new song, it's off to Google.

    The grouping field is a good way to organize similar songs and artists. For me, I use it for known affiliations or groups the artist is a part of. This can often times to record labels. An example would be all the members of Wu-Tang Clan, so I can connect all their solo projects and affiliate artist/groups into on segment. Stones Throw would be another example.

    Here's a few things I label my songs for:
    Gender - male, female, duet.
    Group/Solo - I go so far as to list them by duo, trio, quartet, etc.
    Tempo - Even though BPM is filled out, some 80BPM songs can seem fast and upbeat, so I'll put slowtempo, midtempo, or uptempo in comments to further characterize the feel of a track.
    Instruments - I haven't made a playlist with it so far, but I still label as many instruments as I can identify. Other things like autotune, synth, sound effects (rain drops, telephone rings), movie quotes & narration I try to label.
    Location - Especially in hip-hop, I like to put a hometown for the artist(s). I'll put Westcoast or Eastcoast as well.

    The possibilities are endless. I have playlist currently with nothing but Falsetto singers and songs. I know it can be a daunting task to go through thousands of songs and filling in the blanks, but the ability to customize a playlist is pretty sweet. If only Lastfm could somehow download tags into iTunes, you could automate the whole process. Maybe a site that has all this info I mentioned that can be linked to iTunes is a project I can work on in the future. We'll see.
  • My Top 50 Albums, According To The Top Album Generator Widget

    20 Mar 2010, 19:19

    balut2000's top albums (overall) 1. Chrishan - Chrishan (572)
    2. James Fauntleroy - James Fauntleroy (385)
    3. Atozzio - Atozzio (325)
    4. Granite State - The RE:Public (273)
    5. Brutha - Brutha (265)
    6. RL (of next) - RL (of Next) (263)
    7. Granite State - The Breaking Point (256)
    8. J. Holiday - J. Holiday (226) 9. Pierre Medor - Pierre Medor (219) 10. Ryan Leslie - Ryan Leslie (216)
    11. Saigon & Statik Selektah - All In A Day's Work (214)
    12. Jackie Boyz - Jackie Boyz (202) 13. JC - JC (198) 14. Ernie Gaines - Ernie Gaines (195) 15. TC - TC (189) 16. Ne-Yo - Year of the Gentleman (188)
    17. Dr. Dre - Dr. Dre (184)
    18. Donnellshawn - Donnellshawn (179) 19. Pleasure P - Pleasure P (170) 20. Skillz - The Million Dollar Backpack (169)
    21. Ginuwine - Ginuwine (166) 22. Keak Da Sneak & San Quinn - Welcome to Scokland (166) 23. Shon Penn (Of MTB4) - Shon Penn (of MTB4) (159) 24. B.o.B. - B.o.B. (158) 25. Lil Eddie - Lil Eddie (153) 26. Dru Hill - Dru Hill (151)
    27. Bishop Lamont - The Reformation (145) 28. Luke & Q - Luke & Q (144) 29. Kia Shine - Kia Shine (144) 30. Bishop Lamont - Pope Mobile (137)
    31. Johnta Austin - Johnta Austin (137) 32. Lee Carr - Lee Carr (137) 33. Mario - Mario (136)
    34. Hamilton Park - Hamilton Park (133) 35. I-15 - I-15 (131) 36. Bertell - Bertell (130) 37. San Quinn - From A Boy To A Man (130)
    38. The Jam - The Jam (130)
    39. D. Brown - D. Brown (122)
    40. The Game - LAX (117)
    41. Chris Brown - Chris Brown (117)
    42. Tank - TANK (115)
    43. Bishop Lamont - DJ Skee Presents N*gger Noize (115)
    44. Crooked I - Crooked I (112) 45. Colby O'Donis - Colby O'Donis (110) 46. Bobby Valentino - Bobby Valentino (109)
    47. Aaron Sledge - Aaron Sledge (108)
    48. Lloyd - Lessons In Love (106)
    49. Innate Forte - Innate Forte (104) 50. The Cool Kids - The Bake Sale (103)

  • 90's Music That You Should Listen To

    12 Mar 2010, 15:19

    In no particular order:

    1. Beauty - Dru Hill
    2. Tell Me - Groove Theory
    3. I Belong To You - Rome
    4. When You're Ready - Alfonzo Hunter
    5. Something In Your Eyes - Bell Biv DeVoe
    6. If I Had You - Frankie
    7. Feels Like The First Time - Intro
    8. If Tomorrow Never Comes - Joose
    9. Never Alone - Montell Jordan
    10. Softest Place On Earth - Xscape
    11. How Can We Stop - Horace Brown ft. Faith
    12. If The Mood Is Right - Jade
    13. You - Jesse Powell
    14. Spill - Link
    15. Day By Day (Late Night Piano Mix) - Portrait
    16. I Don't Ever Wanna See You Again - Uncle Sam
    17. She Needed Me - Whitehead Brothers
    18. Flavor - Imajin
    19. Please Don't Go - Silk
    20. Let This Go - 112
  • So where does that leave the '90's New Jack R&B' fan?

    12 Mar 2010, 15:06

    I grew up listening and watching 80's music (which I still love to this day), but the music that I really felt was mine was R&B in the early 90's. I was in high school, listening to dubbed tapes (plastic cassettes with music recorded on magnetically wound strips) of Guy, New Edition, Keith Sweat, Boyz II Men, ABC, BBD, uuuh hmmm. Subsequent artists expanded on the New Jack Swing like Intro, Shai, Portrait, Mint Condition, Mary J. Blige, Tony Toni Tone. Then, as I graduated college, before Y2K, my love for emerging artists waned. They weren't putting out music that I loved anymore. I like to say that after 1999-2000, R&B turned into RnB. It was based on a foundation of New Jack, with something new on top. What happened? Maybe I had just grow out of the genre. Maybe it had got too commercial. Whatever it was, I found myself wishing for the good ol' days of R&B I was accustomed to.

    It's been another decade. I listen to those 90's hits a lot. Actually, too much. My ears have grown desensitized to their awesomeness. And that is the hurdle. You can only listen to (replace your own genre here) for so long. As a music lover, you crave new music. But you don't like the new music, or even refuse to listen to it for certain reasons. Well, I just can't give up on it. I have too much invested in R&B to ignore it. Sure, it's no longer R&B, but RnB can have good songs. I crave it. I will look wherever, listen to anything, try any new song just for a taste of what I came to love in the first place. And that's the trick. Whatever brand of music you happen to listen to, you have to look for new music that recaptures that vibe, that feeling that got you to love it in the first place. It isn't as easy now, as the genre has evolved. But don't dismiss the stuff that comes out today. If you are diligent, and have patience, you will always be rewarded with some new iPod fodder.
  • Comparing music you grew up with to the music nowadays...

    12 Mar 2010, 0:44

    Your music taste usually comes from a few places: What your parents listened to, what your siblings listened to, what your friends listened to, Radio and top 40. They key factor that they all share? You were a kid. Whatever era your grew up in, the music you were immersed in at that time usually dictates your musical taste. As you get older, you may drift away from that taste (especially during "college years"), but you most likely will hold an affinity towards those genres. "The music today sucks." "Artists nowadays have no talent." These are common statements I hear from my generation regarding today's music. They must remember: they are looking at it through the filter of their own established tastes. This music isn't for you. It is for today's generation. It is forming the tastes of today's youth. Your elders said the same thing about the music that you feel fondly about.

    Before you dismiss an artist or the progression that "your" genre has taken, try to listen to it on it's own merits. Sure, it may be played out or cookie-cutter, but there is still music out there to be discovered.