#essential20 – the faq


I have a bunch of friends on Twitter who regularly talk about music – sometimes its music I know and sometimes it’s not. And sometimes it’s Nickelback, but we won’t go there. While I enjoy an occasionally bizarre range of music it’s fair to say there are some huuuuuge gaps in my musical knowledge.

So, it struck me that one of the best ways of filling some of these gaps would be to get some of my friends to create a list of their 20 ‘essential’ tracks. It’ll be interesting listening to what keeps other people’s feet tapping but, more selfishly, it might help me add a few previously undiscovered favourites to my own playlists.


Trying to identify your 20 most favouritest tracks is a challenge for even the most casual muso, so here are a few criteria to help you narrow that list down. Your songs should probably satisfy at least one of the below, but filling more than one checkbox means you’re definitely onto a winning song.

  • Songs that you will never, ever tire of listening to
  • If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 20 songs to listen to …
  • Songs that have had a major influence on your life
  • Songs that remind you of significant periods of your life
  • Songs that represent your favourite artist(s)


The #essential20 is fairly flexible, but there are a few tiny ‘rules’ to help make this work:

  1. You should create your playlist on Spotify (and share it)
  2. You should give it the title #essential20
  3. You should tweet about it incessantly using the hashtag #essential20
  4. Obviously it can only be 20 songs. No more, no less. Medleys and concept pieces are ok.

The next bit is not a requirement but it would be really, really awesome if you could pair up your playlist with a blog post explaining your choices.I’m particularly interested in the following:

  • How did you go about building your list? What were your personal criteria?
  • Why did you choose each song? (Yes, I want to read why each, individual song is important to you)
  • What songs narrowly missed out on the list (you could include Spotify links here as a way of including a few bonus tracks)
  • Did you learn anything interesting during this process? Did your song choices surprise you? Are there songs that you thought were important, but turned out to be more disposable than others?

When you’ve done your playlist, and optional blog post, why not put a link in the comments section below?

Happy compiling, people – I know it’s going to torture choosing but it’s going to be a blast listening to the results!


The following links may be useful when wrangling Spotify:

6 thoughts on “#essential20 – the faq”

  1. My #essential20

    And a listing for those that can’t see all of them.

    I’l post a track by track explanation @tobiasampersand style on my last.fm sometime soon.

    Icehouse – Man Of Colours
    Mike Oldfield – Amarok – 2000 Digital Remaster
    Björk – The Dull Flame Of Desire
    New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle
    Aphex Twin – Ventolin (Video Edit)
    Bloc Party – Trojan Horse
    Bertie Blackman – Hold Me Close
    Fuck Buttons – Ribs Out
    Silversun Pickups – Growing Old Is Getting Old
    Jean Michel Jarre – Les chants magnétiques, Pt. I
    Ravel, Maurice [Composer] – Ravel: Boléro
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Rhapsody In Blue
    Moderat – Les Grandes Marches
    Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song
    The Prodigy – Omen
    Massive Attack – Teardrop
    Metric – Stadium Love
    Radiohead – Myxomatosis
    Julian Plenti – Games For Days
    Carel Kraayenhof – Aconcagua: II. Moderato

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