i used to use wmp all the time, since then i use winamp, you can skin it and have it look decent, i dont add anything to the winamp library, so i dont point it toward my music folders, i open my music folder select a folder/album and click play all, winamp opens ,simple .
once you get into winamp more there are nice plugins that can allow the last album to continue to playback from when you last closed winamp. and so on.
to remove your pictures from wmp see this thread... Trying to remove WMP Picture Library
and to have a list in wmp click 1 and 2 as seen in this pic,( click the pic to enlarge it)
select list in figure 2