THE ROUGH GUIDE BOOK OF PLAYLISTS (Rough Guides)
I suppose theres a crushing inevitability that a book such as this would spring up to support the modern way of doing things, a grim suggestion that the pre-eminence of thumping great books of recommended albums has been whittled away to this plump yet reasonably pocketable volume of recommended tracks. It contains 500 suggested playlists, each with a brief commentary by the virtual DJ responsible, which cover not only individual artists but also genres, themes and other loose aggregations (amongst the more esoteric suggestions are a playlist based on the songs featured in the novels of Haruki Murakami, and Robert Wyatts list of French records).
Its a very dense book, then, with ideas and possibilities spinning from every page. (Im a bit disappointed that the compilers couldnt find room for an Electric Light Orchestra playlist, though.) Whether it becomes any more to you than a book of lists depends on how you listen to your music, and how you react to the covers assertion that MP3 players have changed the way we listen to music; its all about songs rather than albums, and making your own compilations. Well, not for me it isnt: I still buy, and listen to, albums, and at present my iPods 75% filled with them, with the remainder being random picks from my iTunes library. Ill happily admit to being addicted to the glorious adventure of discovery and juxtaposition that results from having my entire iTunes library unspool itself in random formation, but the idea of owning music in anything less than album-sized chunks leaves me cold. Given that each of these playlists exists within a narrowly defined pigeonhole, its exactly that delicious abandonment of genuinely not knowing what might be coming next that this book misses out on.