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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Sarah Brightman +14:

When it turned out my beautiful collection of 100 Sarah Brightman songs was actually only 71 songs due to so many other composers having a hand in what she sung, I was crestfallen.  All that work to reach 100 was instantly undone, and now Brightman was at risk of even falling out of the top 10, only 3 songs ahead of Yuki Kajiura's 68.

Sarah Brightman deserves better than that, so I went back to the holding tank and fished up some more replacements.  The end result was +14 songs to Brightman's credit, +4 songs to Frank Peterson's credit and +1 song to Andrew Lloyd Weber's credit (two composers who like to borrow Brightman's voice)

Now Brightman is safely ensconced in 10th place, with 85 songs to her credit.  The music hall of fame is up to 4949.  But this is just the beginning.

My music hall of fame is constantly evolving.  When I first envisioned it I thought it would be some elite list that had beaten out the competition, but as time passed I just wanted it to have as many good songs as possible.  Now I think of it as the music I want to keep listening to.  The only requirement to make the hall of fame is that I miss the song and want to hear it again.  This is what allowed so many new Brightman songs to make the cut.

In my first sorting of my girl rock music, I created three tiers.  3 star was meant to be the stand out stuff, 2 star was listenable, and 1 star was unlistenable.  Every other genre of music I sorted into just two tiers, pass or fail.  The music that passed entered my hall of fame, the music that failed didn't.  This meant my girl rock music uniquely had higher standards applied to it than everyone else.  Basically whenever I had to make a tough decision, I just deferred it by including it in the middle of the pack, 2 star grouping.  The songs were neither good enough to include nor bad enough to forget and abandon.  They were the group that straddled that divide.

I'm disbanding the 2 star category.  From here on girl rock, like every other category, will just be pass or fail. In or out.  And the criteria will be simple -- do I want to keep listening to this music?

Ultimately, my music hall of fame will be composed solely of songs that I've listened to 100 times and can still verify as worth hearing.  So what I'm really doing right now isn't selecting a hall of fame, but simply candidates for the hall of fame.  I'm allowing songs to get on the starting line.  I'm giving them a fair shot at the title.  We'll know what the real music hall of fame looks like six years from now.

Unwinding the 2 star category and deciding where everyone goes is going to take a while.  It's a lot of music to judge, and the music was already sorted to be the toughest decision possible.  I'm going to have to listen to everybody multiple times to be sure.

But at least provisionally, we're looking at 100+ new songs entering my hall of fame in the coming weeks.  It's not just Sarah Brightman who is getting a major boost.

The coolest aspect of this course change may be that the Hall of Fame becomes more balanced again between video game music and non-video game music.  I've recently been adding hundreds of songs, almost all instrumentals, by my favorite video game composers.  With hundreds of additional rock songs from the west, almost all vocals, things will be more like they used to be.  The overall feel of the hall of fame being a diverse place full of anime, video games, classical and rock all swirled together will return to the fore.

The idea of expanding my music collection by casting down my bucket where I am, instead of searching out random soundtracks of games I've never played, is also emotionally satisfying.  These are songs I grew up with and are part of my personal identity.  Garbage, Cranberries, all the golden oldies.  I'm attached to them in a way I'll never care about Breath of Fire V's ost.  Having them show up randomly as the next song to listen to will always bring a smile to my face because it will always bring back memories.

Rather than chasing after every last 'Lord of Vermillion 2', I should have done this long ago. . .

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