Play list enlivens mixed music artistry

Some people snoop in medicine cabinets. Some look at the MySpace pages of ex-significant others. But for those considering a less rude and creepy manner in which to catch a glimpse of understanding about who a person is, they know the best way is a look at music play lists.

Of course, none of these methods are the best ways to get to know a person. But who has time for that effort? As far as entertainment goes, we’re too busy texting Ryan Seacrest our “American Idol” votes with one hand and doing our daily cardio with the other, thanks Nintendo Wii! So, show us the music.

Anyway, the play list, formed with a variety of MP3 software, is the less-permanent format, the more fickle grandchild, of the mixed tape. Yes, that cheesy relic has evolved into a format that can still chronicle all those important relationship milestones and awkward coming-of-age interests – you know, like when your friend made that CD of N’Sync songs to celebrate her braces coming off.

The play list, much like the mixed tape, can also be a status symbol, a canvas for music snobs to display how much cooler they are than radio fanatics. The list can be purely about aesthetics and rules such as: you can’t have two songs by the same artist in a row, and tempos must be gradual. The title must be as creative as the music chosen. But anyone has a chance to make just the right mix. The play list is convenient and can be easily changed and created to fit any situation in a speedy fashion. There are plenty of resources to help bulk up a music library even if the best way is to know more music or to soundtrack your own life.

Whether you are looking for mood music, something to workout to, or are just wondering if Nelly Furtado is a “fanilow,” there are plenty of resources out there for you. Here are some options for channeling your inner Zach Braff:

Celebrity play lists and artist recommendations are available at the iTunes store and on Artists from Bob Dylan to Gnarls Barkley will give you recommendations as to what songs have tickled their fancy and why. iTunes has provided play lists of celebrities ranging from Denver Nugget basketball player Carmello Anthony to Al Gore, and from Carrie Underwood to Thom Yorke. Though most suggestions are not too surprising – several of Beyonce’s faves belong to Destiny’s Child and Jay-Z – the suggestions put music at easy access for completely legal purchase.

Maybe you are not ready to enter into the potentially expensive downloading frenzy. Web sites like or allow you to type in a song or artist that interests you, and the site will compile a play list or radio station it thinks will match your likings. The songs are limited and you can’t officially own them, but it may satiate the craving for a certain sound you aren’t ready to commit to.

If anyone knows there is a play list or mixed tape for any occasion, it is the folks at The site is like a musical cookbook, where you request a play list recipe and they create it for you. The site includes a chance to request a mixed tape for any situation from “Songs to listen to in a hammock,” to “Something to leave on repeat to keep my dog company while I’m at work.” The requests already on the board can be raunchy or sublime, but the “mixed tape generator” comes up with the right play list, with songs in appropriate chronology to capture the mood.

The options are endless – chronicle your life, make it a story, put songs in an order that makes sense to you. Whatever you do, you now have no excuse for placing that Hinder song on repeat and calling it “Super-cool mix #9.”