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Silent Bob’s Chatty Playlist

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Kevin Smith the movie director also known as “Silent Bob” (after his verbally reticent character in “Clerks”) was supposed to do an iTunes celebrity playlist to promote “Clerks II” but was miffed when Apple asked him to trim some of the descriptions, deemed verbose for the format. Ever the uncompromising artist (he did direct “Dogma”) he refused to trim. Instead he posted his playlist on his blog. A director’s cut, and we didn’t have to wait for the DVD!

Playlists can be plenty treacherous, and I imagine it is worse when you are a celebrity. People judge you. You strain to include stuff that is cool but not so popular everyone has heard of it. And then you have to write a couple of lines about the song. Try to say something insightful about the song and you risk sounding like a wannabe rock critic. Include a personal anecdote and you sound like you’re so into yourself. (No wonder Apple told Smith’s rep that by and large most celebs don’t write enough, or don’t write anything!) Kevin Smith’s playlist is sort of predictable–he’s a Jersey guy who goes to great lengths to let you know he’s that he’s… a Jersey guy. A fierce Springsteen buff (he brags about the time he joined the Boss on stage) who even wears his Bon Jovi flag high. (Anyone who denies ever enjoying any Bon Jovi track is lying to you,” he says. Which isn’t quite the same as putting the band on your playlist.) Other likes include classic hip hop, Mr. James Brown, and tough chicks who make even a fat guy like him think they’ve got a shot at it. (I’m paraphrasing him here.) He also misspells Tom Waits. The most distinctive characteristic of his list is that includes a bunch of comedy cuts.

On the left side of the page you can click to my celebrity playlist. Since I’m not really a celebrity (definitely one of the least famous people in the bunch) but wrote a book about the number one celebrity on iTunes (the iPod, duh), I sidestepped the issue of my own favorites and selected a soundtrack to the book, including songs that figured into the history and culture of the iPod, as long as they were available on iTunes, an ironclad requirement. What’s more, apparently you must choose songs that are available by purchase by the track; my selection of “Push Push” by Herbie Mann was bounced. This is unfortunate, because as readers will learn in the “Personal” chapter (depending on which “shuffle” you have this is Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 8 or Chapter 5 ). this is the first song ever played on a real personal audio device and has a great story behind it.

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