[NOTE: Apologies for the long delay between posts... I recently moved AND I also had to dramatically increase my part-time hours (in addition to my normal full-time hours) in order to pay for the move, so time and energy has been cut drastically. Things are starting to settle down now...]
I often fantasize about finding a woman who would find my iPod and fall in love with my music– finding that we shared a lot of the same tastes, discovering new favorites, talking about my experiences around the songs …and hopefully providing me with new tracks I can add to the mix and wrap new memories around.
I thought it might be fun to sample the eras here, music that made deep enough marks as to find a home on my iPod… You can find Part 1 “The Early Years” here and Part 2 “The Awakening” and “First Love” here and Part 3 Expanding Horizons here…
Getting married and starting a family certainly changed a lot of the sort of music I ran across since I was no longer going out to parties and being exposed to new music, or going to see as many live shows. It also marked a period of time of “big events” which often became associated with specific songs…
Paul Simon, Father and Daughter
One thing I was dreading about being a parent was being subjected to awful children’s television. However, in the 10 years that I’ve been a parent I’ve found a surprisingly large number of shows that are fun for kids to watch (and even sometimes educational) and are also at least mildly entertaining for the parents to watch too. One of the best of these shows was The Wild Thornberries, and I remember watching a Wild Thornberries movie where this Paul Simon song came on… and just choked me with emotion as I sat there curled up with my daughter. Such a beautiful song, but if you happen to be the father of a daughter, it’s like Paul Simon is singing just for you.
The Cottars, Hold On
When my father-in-law suddenly passed away it was pretty devastating. One day while the grief was still pretty immediate I was driving to work listening to the Folk Sampler on NPR, and a song called Waterlilly by The Cottars came on. It’s ethereal beauty weaved into the emotional roller coaster I was on, bringing tears of sadness… and yet the song was just so gorgeous I had to have it. I went and bought the CD and discovered a new favorite, this cover of a Tom Waits song that is much more fun and upbeat… and just as gorgeous. Not long after this album was release half of The Cottars left the band, and while the lead singer remains the same, they just don’t feel the same without the cute fiddle player and her lovely backing vocals.
The Duhks, Wagoner’s Lad
Speaking of NPR’s Folk Sampler, I also ran across the awesome band The Duhks there, with this beautiful and wistful song. They also do a great cover of Sting’s “Love is the Seventh Wave” that I actually like better than the original– no offense to Sting, I do like his version as well!
ZZ Top, Le Grange
Back when we had to bathe the kids, we used to turn on the radio to listen to while the kids played in the bath and we attempted to get them clean. My son was about 3 or so when this song by ZZ Top came on the radio. He told me he liked it, and called it the “Hawl Hawl Hawl Song,” perfectly mimicking the growly scat the lead singer tossed in between the lyrics. So yeah– my son’s first favorite song was about a whorehouse! Heh, he still likes it but still doesn’t yet know what they’re singing about…
Selena Gomez & the Scene, More
The last New Year’s Eve before my ex and I split I spent alone. I had to work at my part-time job until 11pm, and she took the kids and went to visit her family overnight. I came home, fixed some snacks and a drink and sat down to watch Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s celebration. As I was watching it, young pop star Selena Gomez and her band The Scene came out to play. At first I was impressed that she made sure to include the name of the band and not just relegate them to nameless backing status… and then I was actually impressed by the song “More.” Yeah, it was pop fluff, but I found it catchy and fun and full of good positive energy, something that I needed bringing in the New Year in the house by myself. When I downloaded the song I justified it by saying my daughter would like it — and she does. But I actually do too, in part for helping me through what could have been a rough time.
When my ex and I split up, one of the things I wanted to do was make sure I filled up the empty spaces with good TV, good books, and good music. I got an iPod and started building my iTunes collection, initially loaded with CDs I owned but then starting to download songs here and there. The pricing is pretty insidious– that song is only 99 cents, why not get it right now? Then at the end of the week you’re hit with the bill and all those pennies add up quick. I made sure to show restraint, and when I heard something I wanted to own I’d put it on a list to buy when I had it in my budget.
The Killers, Smile Like You Mean It
I remember hearing The Killers and scratching my head because they sounded like a band I should have heard before, like a band from the 80s or 90s but no– they were a modern band. This song is my favorite among several really good hits.
Neko Case, Star Witness
I think I first heard of Neko Case when she was profiled on NPR, and they played a few samples of her new album at the time Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. I was immediately smitten with her angelic, powerful voice and lyrical storytelling. Hers was one of the first albums I bought entirely through iTunes and was glad I did, just about every cut is worth listening to. Star Witness is my favorite, one that I try to share with friends, Hey there, there’s such tender wolves ’round town tonight…
The New Pornographers, Mass Romantic
I mentioned my new found love for Neko Case on Facebook or Livejournal and someone suggested I check out The New Pornographers, a band I’d heard of but because of their name I just assumed they were not something worth listening to. So I listened to a few samples and wondered who the bland dude was singing and where the heck was Neko Case? Then I ran across her singing lead on “Mass Romantic” and “Letter from an Occupant” and instantly downloaded those… and wondered– if you had Neko Case available for lead singer duties why would you ever not have her sing?
Tegan and Sara, Walking With a Ghost
For a while a friend of mine who wrote a Magic column would post a list of songs he was listening to currently, and after reading I’d go online and sample them. Sometimes I’d find them catchy and decide to download it. I found Walking with a Ghost so catchy and cool I poked around at other songs of theirs and ended up downloading 5 or 6 more songs.
Camera Obscura, The Sweetest Thing
Like most red-blooded American males, I find Zooey Deschanel totally irresistible and was really pleased to find her She & Him album very well done. I really enjoyed the retro-feel to the songs, and so I was particularly thrilled to run across Camera Obscura which had a similar retro-sound but fuller and more lush production. This is music to be heavily buzzing to, with headphones on and the volume turned up. When you’re lucid you’re the sweetest thing…
Ke$ha, Tik Tok
I took the kids to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 in the movie theater, a very cute and entertaining film. There was a funny scene where the kids were filming one of them lip-synching to “Tik Tok” to upload to YouTube and things go awry… anyway, the kids really liked the snippet of the song and asked that I download it. I have to admit I found it catchy too… though after listening carefully to the lyrics I wouldn’t necessarily call them “kid friendly”… but not so much that I won’t let them listen to it. It’s led to me having to explain a few things to the kids about things adults do…
Spinnerette, Baptized by Fire
Here’s another gem I ran across, with a different sort of retro-feel, almost like a throwback to Heart’s rocking days. I love the galloping beat, harmonies and driving synthesizers.
Girl Talk, Let It Out
I was playing Magic one night and someone was playing the new Girl Talk album, and I’d never heard of that artist or the songs, which are mash-ups of songs that sound totally cool mixed together. I heard that the album was free to download online so I pulled it into my iTunes and have enjoyed listening to the crazy blended songs. Let It Out is my favorite, with the underlying General Public song “Tenderness” getting wrapped around a funky R&B/rap tune. I’m not sure what twirt twirt twirt that ass means but damn it’s fun.
Metric, Black Sheep
A couple months ago I finally got to see Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World on one of my movie channels. I suspected that I would probably like the film, but I wasn’t so sure of it that I went to see it in the theater. When I finally watched it I just totally loved it, and have since watched it several times. The second time through I wondered if that cool song that Envy Adams’s band The Clash At Demonhead sings the first part of was a real song or not, and found out it was called Black Sheep by the band Metric (who I have a couple other songs by). Unfortunately I couldn’t just download that song, it was an “album only” track, so I ended up getting the whole album. It’s not bad, but Black Sheep really stands out, such a great song. Everyone pulls away, ooooooo, from youuuuuuu….
Which brings us pretty current to what I’ve got rocking my iPod! One day I hope to share it with someone special
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