So the beauty of digital music is being able to group by genre and create playlists and mixes. We have hundreds, if not thousands, of songs in genres from Broadway to Celtic, sea music to classical, American folk to "world," 1930s to current pop, plus lists of the Indigo Girls, the Andrews Sisters, Beatles, Elvis, Cher, Simon and Garfunkel, and Peter, Paul, and Mary, and more.
And now, to take advantage of our wide swath of music, we have "musical Mondays." We choose a genre and randomly sort the whole playlist and listen till we're sick of it. We've done Celtic (especially the soundtrack of The Secret of Roan Inish after we watched the movie), 80s music, New Orleans jazz (which is Mama's favorite music when it's hot or we're eating muffulettas!), patriotic music for the 4th, and Broadway, since we're putting together a Broadway/Times Square puzzle.
I watched Annie Lennox sing blues on "Great Perfromances" and loved the music, even the heart-wrenching "Strange Fruit," about lynchings in the South. There's a reason she's been called the "greatest white soul singer." Maybe I can sneak it in with Mama's jazz playlist (once I figure out how to manipulate Sonos and the NAS.)
We also have "Kids Pop" playlists with our favorite current songs on it--we just added Kelly Clarkson's "Heartbeat Song" and Rachel Platten's "Fight Song." Sis likes "Riptide" and "Pompeii," both of which she wants to play on the piano. Bud likes "Uptown Funk," when he's not listening to Broadway. I like all of those and also switch between the 1930s soundtrack to the "Miss Fisher Mysteries" and all of the Piano Guys.
When we had 80s night, I couldn't recall the name of the song that I never remember. I hear it on the radio and have even once called Mama to say, "this is the song." Was it "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" or "If You Leave" or "Always Someone There to Remind Me," or "Don't You Forget About Me" or something else? I like it, but it somehow always slips through my mental cracks. And so a few days later, we were in the car and I started thinking of this mystery song and, just as I thought of the lyrics "if you wait around awhile . . . (something something something) I promise you." Yes, "The Promise!" And just as I thought of it, it came on the radio! The kids didn't believe that I was psychic that way. So I called Mama and we laughed at the song. Now it's on the 80s playlist.
Sure, there are some frustrations: our playlists are way longer than would fit on a CD for the car, because my car doesn't support digital music. And sometimes the sorting is off (for instance, half of Evita is missing right now.) Or a dud sneaks in (we picked up White Snake somewhere. Nope.) But otherwise, we have hundreds of years of music from all over the world (Peruvian flutists or Inuit throat singers, anyone? Vera Lynn or Madonna or Katie Perry? Sweet Honey in the Rock or Raffi? Hildegard von Bingen or Liszt or Paul Winter Consort? "Simple Gifts" or "The Golden Vanity?" Soundtracks from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Little Women, Last of the Mohicans? I could go on and on) at our fingertips and listen to it when we're cooking, playing games, doing puzzles, or discussing a place or time period. I love it.