DJ Jim Q's Playlist: Restart
This month’s theme is Restart. Maybe it’s a few months too early to incorporate into your new year’s resolution, but don’t let that stop you from hitting reset on those hopeless and destructive endeavors. We all need a fresh start now and again right? There’s nothing wrong with starting over—don’t fall victim to the fallacy of sunk cost. Sometimes cutting your losses and reassessing is the most productive path. Then when you’re headed in the wrong direction, backtracking is actually progress toward the right destination. And you’re always starting with more wisdom than you had previously.
It makes me think of the movie “Groundhog Day” where Bill Murry’s character is magically caught in a time-loop forced to relive the same day over and over again. However, through that repetition, he gains wisdom and becomes a better person on each pass. And that’s not dissimilar from the Buddhist concept of Saṃsāra, a cycle of life, death, and rebirth, without beginning or an end. Saṃsāra is difficult and painful, but it is the only way to achieve nirvana. We must restart to progress.
Music is structurally all about restarting. Repetition is foundational to most contemporary popular music, with many songs being constructed exclusively of musical phrases restarting over and over again, loops. Hip-hop, electronic, disco, even most rock music follows a fairly repetitive structure. It’s this repetition that makes the song “feel” intuitive and satisfying. We naturally love patterns and things that feel familiar. Most pop songs are built with only a handful of musical phrases that are repeated and organized into coherent compositions. The Beatles “Hey Jude” is a great example, it simply goes verse; verse; bridge; verse; bridge; verse; pre-chorus; and then the chorus repeats until the songs stops. Simple, repetitive, yet powerful. Repetition is cumulative not stagnant.
The theme this month is brought to us by the creative folks from the Cologne chapter. Home of uber-influential 1970’s experimental psych-rockers Can, the muse, artist and visionary Nico, and none other than Ludwig Van Beethoven. Wow, that’s quite a home team.
From Mark Morrison’s earworm, “Return of the Mack” to Billy Idol’s sweet and sultry “White Wedding”, these songs of repetition are all about rebirth, revision, new beginnings, and starting over. Put this playlist on repeat and maybe use it as inspiration to restart your record collection.