I have a lot of film music on my iPod. Film music has a number of important characteristics, to wit:
ONE. Most film music has no lyrics.
(2) Many composers have a roughly consistent sound from film to film.
Third. Many scores contain a great many tracks per CD. Twenty or more is not at all uncommon.
Thus, my iPod contains a great many tracks that I can recognize as being by a particular composer but can’t identify with more specificity. I’m doing well if I can identify the film from hearing the music. If I hear a track in shuffle mode and can’t place it, I just glance at the display screen. Except that there are times when I can’t. You see, I listen most to Pinky (what else is white and unpredictable?) while I’m driving.
While I could in theory go back later and go back through the previously-played songs, more times than not, while trying to skip ahead songs that I don’t care to listen to (quiet string passages don’t come through well at all over the roar of the road), I manage to get lost in the menu system somewhere. (I am, after all, working it one-handed without looking at it.) That means to get the music back, I need to navigate back up to the top level and start it on song-shuffle again. Which conveniently overrides the old shuffled order.
Result: instant amnesia. Do you understand how long it would take to hear the track again on pure shuffle? The mind-boggling quantity of music on one of these things really does mean you’re not going to hear the same particular cut again anytime soon. It’s a little disconcerting that the music is right there and yet there’s no easy way to get it back.
UPDATE: Steven points me to the “Recently Played” playlist. Yep, I guess that settles it. Plus one for practicality, minus one for the poetic sense of loss.