ilEvs (Shuffled Elvis)

Over on The Sheila Variations blog, Sheila states, “It’s very weird to listen to [Elvis] on Shuffle. It’s vaguely schizophrenic, the material is often wildly uneven, but there is also a thruline which is his voice and also – I guess I would call it joy. He seems happy to be doing what he’s doing” (“Elvis Shuffle” — The Sheila Variations).

Although Elvis is not always a primary topic there, The Sheila Variations has featured many insightful Elvis posts lately. It’s always great to see Elvis-related posts on non-Elvis blogs. Be sure to check this one out, for both the Elvis and non-Elvis content.

As for me, I happen to do much of my Elvis listening in shuffled mode these days. I didn’t always listen this way, but the iPod Age has no doubt caused this habit to evolve in me.

Except when first experiencing a new album, I don’t often play Elvis in context anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard the material in context so many times before, but I find that shuffling Elvis is a powerful way to get into his entire career without getting stuck on “I only like the 50s” or “I only like the 70s,” etc.

For instance, I just can’t take twenty or thirty of his 1960s movie tunes in a row. If instead sprinkling them among other songs I enjoy, though, I often pick up on a great movie song I may otherwise have missed (“Anyone” comes to mind, though that revelation actually came about during an all-artists shuffle).

Of course, the control freak side of me does not allow this to be completely random. I’ve got a series of smart playlists I use in order to carefully plan this randomness. More about that some other time. In fact, it’s been on my list of future articles for well over a year now! Maybe someday, I’ll actually write it.

5 thoughts on “ilEvs (Shuffled Elvis)

  1. Elvis on shuffle mode is my way to listening to Elvis’ music most of the time.
    I use to put everything on my cellphone, studio masters, alternates, live versions, home recordings, rehearsals, even audience recordings… and then I play them on random order. I like it that way, as songs I haven’t listened in a looooooong time appear and they sound so fresh and new to me, even if sometimes it isn’t Elvis’ best material… last time I found myself singing “Smorgasboard” walking on my way home… at 4am :D


    • That’s actually pretty much exactly what I do. I’ve rediscovered so much of my collection that way. That really is a smorgasbord. Though, ironically, I’ve got “Smorgasbord” set so that it won’t come up in the shuffle. I do have it on my iPod, though, in case I ever have an impulse to play it (or, more likely, the entire Spinout album). Thanks for commenting.


  2. I found that listening to the Complete Masters box set of everything in recorded order gave a new appreciation for Elvis

    but really, Elvis’ catalog is so diverse that he has transcended context


    • Elvis has definitely spoiled me. I get bored when all of another artist’s albums sound the same. Not to mention there are just so many songs from which to choose. Even if one of the other artists I has been recording for awhile, he or she will have something like 100 tracks. With Elvis, there are thousands upon thousands when you count all the versions and variations.


  3. Lately I’m all about specific categories: this summer I completed each and every soundtrack, made a “70’s” cd AND an “Essential 70’s” cd. Elvis ’60’s, Elvis Late ’60’s, Elvis ’50’s, Gospel Elvis, Rockin’ Elvis, Ballad Elvis and one I’m excited about: Cool Elvis: a collection of songs you’d play for someone who listens to current music to get them to realize how cool his music is (“Promised Land”, “Too Much”, “Power of My Love”, etc) One of the many cool things about King: so much great music for so many moods. And, for cleaning the house, shuffle’s always good – just see what comes up.


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