The Element of Surprise

I have a problem.

I rarely use a hands-free solution to select music while driving with passengers. Directions? No problem. Texting? Forget about it. But with music, I believe in the element of surprise. I believe in it so much, I will risk taking my eyes off the road for it. I have a problem.

If I say to my phone, “play ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac,” I am sure my audience will have already imposed a judgement on the familiar song without actually being lulled into the pent up, sultry piece. Don’t get me wrong. “Dreams” is a phenomenal song and I could never sing enough praise about it, but it’s that simple introductory drum-to-bass fill that puts it over the top. It’s the hook that lights you up when it surprises you on the radio or in your playlist/mixtape. Entering into the song with the intro, “play ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac,” kills the element of surprise. Most people (your truly included) will have already jumped to Stevie howling “it’s only right” over the somber drums, bass, and swelling guitar. If not that, then the legendary chorus. I can’t imagine the intro is their first thought.

For context, other examples include:

  • “You Make My Dreams” – Daryl Hall & John Oates
  • “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” – Michael Jackson
  • “Higher Ground” – Stevie Wonder
  • “Understanding In A Car Crash” – Thursday
  • “Sussudio” – Phil Collins
  • “Invisible Touch” – Genesis

Until consumer tech is able to read minds, I don’t think this is a problem for technology to solve. The real problem here is caring way too much about what other people think. That is a problem I need a solution to now.

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