6: This Reminds Me

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the term “Musical Chains”. No, not the “Musical Chairs” game – I do mean “Musical Chains”. No, not the book. Not the computer science-driven music generation software. And not necklaces with a music theme. Not even key-chains that play music. OK, enough with the not’s 🙂

I mean the game Musical Chains. You start by suggesting a song. Someone else will suggest another song that is related to the previous song by some rule. Then the next person will suggest… You get it. It’s pretty popular on the Internet.

What I don’t like about the games I find on the Internet, is the rule. Usually, these rules are totally arbitrary and as a result, the relation between consecutive pieces is random and meaningless. The most popular rule I see: The The first letter of the name of the new song must be the same as the last letter of the name of the previous song. Example from Bulls Banter: if we start with Oasis (ends with an ‘s’) then the next piece must begin with an ‘s’ (for example Sugerbabes) and so on. This is easy and popular – Bulls Banter’s game has approximately 250 links in the chain. But the connection between the songs is pretty meaningless – the only thing they have in common is one single letter in the song name. Other than that, consecutive songs are completely unrelated. A slightly better option is a common word (rather than a letter). A whole word in common has a better chance of making consecutive songs more closely related. For example, if the common word is “freedom”, there’s a better chance that they both deal with some sort of freedom (political, personal, etc.).

This category is essentially a form of the musical chains game. But it uses a more loose, yet meaningful rule. I want a game where consecutive pieces have a meaningful relation. Some sort of a stronger, associative relation. This is why I don’t call this category “Musical Chains”. I call it “This Reminds Me”, because I think “This Reminds Me” implies the kind of rule that I want to use. The next piece in the chain will come about because the current piece reminds you of it. Not a random letter or word but something about the piece itself. Things like: a similar topic/subject; a cover of the same song; Variations on a song; the same song in different languages; a common place or person or historical event, etc. Using a common artist or album as the rule is too simple. I’m looking for some personal perspective. “What does this song remind me of?” is probably the best way for you to figure out the next piece. And be sure to explain what took you from one song to the next – this is the most interesting part. This “Musical Chains …” thread is the best example I found – an investigation into the various chronological incarnations of a song.

So go ahead, think of a new This Reminds Me chain. Email me your idea and I will start a new chain for you. Better yet, contact me and I can make you a Contributor. Or, just wait and I will occasionally start a new chain of my own.


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