An iPod with limited functionality is a virtual mix tape on a beach getaway

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Executive Editor

I received an iPod Shuffle as a gift about a year ago, but I never used it. I didn’t see the point. My iPod Touch still worked, and had all the music I needed there. But even I had to admit the Touch was a touch out-of-date, and it seemed like a good time — just prior to vacation — to put the Shuffle in use. I uploaded a few albums from my desktop without much thought. But I quickly learned there’s a big difference between the platforms.

The 2GB Shuffle is bare-bones music playing: Nowhere near the hard-drive space of the Touch 8GB, it houses perhaps 500 songs. Buttons permit volume control, pause, “next track” or “replay.” That’s it. You can’t program it much beyond that, and to my surprise, most songs were played in random order. Upload an entire album? You might listen for days and not hear every song from it. While others you hear over and over. And over.

And that last “over” made me a snob. I got tired of songs and punched through them after one — or less than one — listen. I replayed others over and over when I had them, because I enjoyed them. There was song mystery in not knowing what was coming next, and it made for a woozy week at the beach, my Shuffle pinched to the brim of my ball cap.

I also learned something strange about myself. I have a lot of Scissor Sisters, George Michael and show tunes on this thing. My tastes are strangely varied, from hard rock to squishy pop to country.

Here, then, is what became, in essence, my de facto mix tape: the self-made album of favorites I listened to more than once and which would pass an hour on the beach (or by the pool) quite nicely.

“Free” by Matt Palmer.

“San Luis Obispo” by Scissor Sisters.

“Faith” by George Michael.

“Stay with Me” by Sam Smith.

“Oh my God” from the Legally Blonde original cast recording.

“Over You” by Daughtry.

“Back to the Earth” by Jason Mraz

“Put Your Records On” by Corrine Bailey Rae.

“Let’s Have a Kiki” by Scissor Sisters.

“Undone (The Sweater Song)” by Weezer.

“When It Hurts Like That” by Drake Jensen.

“I Just Can’t Walk Away” by Reeve Carney on the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark original cast recording).

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 19, 2014.