Around the age of 14, I stumbled across the Tumblr blog jesseepinkman (named after a Breaking Bad character), and on this blog there was an array of something called “song sorters.” The premise of song sorters, essentially, is to find out your personal ranking of tracks on an album or an entire artist’s discography. How? You choose between two songs and tell the sorter which one you like best, and then through a long and extensive process of choosing between many different pairs (for the updated Taylor Swift one, it’s over 800 questions total because of the heftiness of her discography). You can say that you like both songs and thus can’t choose, or that you don’t have an opinion, but that’ll mess with the definitive ranking (some songs may be tied). There’s even a masterlist of topics that have been done before. While jesseepinkman isn’t the only Tumblr page to make these sorters, I would venture out and say their page is the most popular hub for song sorters.
The ranking process is fun and lengthy, as I usually like to listen to both songs back to back before I make a choice; it’s neat to analyze your personal rankings and to be able to share your opinion with friends or other fans of the artist, but in some cases the feedback to rankings can get borderline hostile. In certain social media communities (TikTok and Twitter spring to mind), it’s a popular trend to share your rankings of certain albums or discographies. Some commenters will often make hasty assumptions about a person based on their rankings. A popular presumption goes along the lines of “You don’t like [sad song]? You must not know what it’s like to be sad.” Comments like that are slippery slope arguments, to say the least, and seem counterproductive to what music is all about.
When an album comes out, or you’re examining the whole of an artist’s discography, it’s normal to have favorites and least favorites. Even my favorite bands and artists have worked on projects that I don’t enjoy, and that’s perfectly fine. Your least favorite tracks will be someone else’s favorites, that’s just how the cookie crumbles.
With that being said, it is so much fun to do, and if you’re ever bored and wanting to spice up your normal music listening experience, try a song sorter. Try searching up the name of the album/ band/ artist you’d like to rank, and then “song sorter” on the search engine of your choice to find what you’re looking for.