Monday, July 17, 2006

Pop Quiz: Shuffle-tastic Edition

So is this already a bloggy-meme-thingy? If not, let's make it one. Tag, you're it!*
What are the first seven songs to play when you hit "Shuffle" on your ITunes/IPod?*
And no cheating. If the true answer is "Menudo, Menudo, Menudo, Menudo, Menudo, Menudo, Menudo," you gotta tell it like it is.

Extra-credit: Annotate it. You know, give us a little back-story. It's all about the human interest, baby!

Extra-extra credit: What's the most embarrassing thing in your music library?

* Benji's already ahead of the game.

* Those of you with out ITunes or IPods can, like, totally ignore this and go back to chiselling on your stone tablets or whatever.


  1. I'll get the carved-granite wheel grinding. I do not own an i-pod (I haven't even owned a Walkman since about 1988), So I will try to overcome my failing by reconstructing the last seven things I played on my CD player (which has worked faithfully since 1989, by the way--hooked up to a stereo that has been in operation since the mid-sixties. So there).
    Working backwards, this is what we here in Baltimore have heard:

    Zoot Sims and Al Cohn--Either Way: The back-story is that Beth put it on last night. It's her record, so she'll have to tell the story.

    Tito Puente--Dance Mania (volume 2): Particularly for the first track, A Gozar Timbero, but then the screaming tremolo in the horns on Si Te Contara makes me swoon. Is this music really 46 years old?

    Josquin des Pres--Missa Pange lingua : Naptime music for Theodore. He can sleep through a train wreck, but sometimes I need some soothing when he's asleep. So, some old church polyphony does the job (See note below for the problem of choice vs. random shuffle)

    Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd--Blow Boys Blow: I would consider myself poor excuse for a father were I not to teach my son some bawdy sailors' songs. We boys listen to it while Beth is at work, so she doesn't have to hear While Cruising Around Yarmouth, which is pretty bawdy.

    Willie Nelson--Red Headed Stranger: Theodore enjoys Willie's voice and the bassline that introduces the Preacher theme. I do, too.

    Johnny Cash--At Folsom Prison: We learned early on that Theodore is calmed by Cash's voice. He responds particularly well to Orange Blossom Special and The Long Black Veil. As for me, I remember, as a little kid looking through my mother's record collection, coming across this album and being frightened. That man, staring at me, sweating...what is he saying? Am I in trouble? Is he bad? So for years, my experience of Johnny Cash was just that picture of him. It's in there deep somewhere, and colors every song I hear him sing. Makes the happy songs a little strange.

    Fugazi--The Argument: Because I do not write letters to the editors of the New York Times, I play this.

    You might object that I have chosen these records, and so might not be a commensurate reflection of my musical taste to that of a randomly shuffled set of i-pod songs. True, to a point--but lately I have had a very short memory, and not enough creativity to put together a playlist for an evening--so as far as is humanly possible, this is a random selection. And half the records are the "choice" of a five-month old.

  2. The addled brain of early fatherhood will be accepted as an adequate approximation of "Shuffle".

  3. Anonymous1:42 PM

    In this order, from I-Tunes shuffling through 80g of music:

    1. Moanin’ - Quincy Jones - A great early Quincy Jones track, that had been previously record by Art Blakey on an album by the same name. The song is most famous, however, as performed by Ray Charles on the Genius + Soul = Jazz album which was arranged by Quincy Jones. I burned this CD from my friend Mike about a year ago.

    2. Running Out of Fools - Neko Case - Sometimes I like alt-country goddess, Neko Case, sometimes she bores me. This song is a cover of a Aretha Franklin song. The whole album sounds kind of spooky. I haven’t listened to it much. I got this CD from my old neighbor Nick, when he and I did a massive, 60g music swap from our respective external hard drives.

    3. I’ve Got to Be a Rugcutter - Duke Ellington and Teresa Brewer - I really like Duke but have never been a fan of this late recording. I do like the song though, “I've got to be a rug cutter, Swing out in the groove, I've got to be a rug cutter, So my jive will improve, I was so un-trucky, Now I'm super-ducky, Gonna cut back a figure, So, Gate, I'll dig ya.” I found this CD in the summer of 1995 when I was doing end of the year dorm cleaning at college and someone had left his, along with a few other CD’s, behind.

    4. You Say You Care - John Coltrane - I love this era of jazz. On this album, Coltrane is paired up with two other musicians who, along with Coltrane and Miles Davis, made up the Miles Davis Quintet, my very favorite be-bop group. The album is also one of several examples of the varied use that Coltrane made of his last name. This album is called Soultrane. There was also Blue Train. I think that, in general, that kind of thing is a bad idea. I think that I might have also burned this CD from Mike.

    5. Don’t - Dinosaur Jr. - This album, Bug, was in heavy rotation for me in the halcyon days of Scotch Guard huffing when I was in ninth grade. The song screams over and over again, “Why don’t you like me.” I still like it. I first had this album on cassette. I got it on my computer from I-Tunes.

    6. Christ for President - Billy Bragg/Wilco - This is off of the great Billy Bragg/Wilco album of Woody Guthrie songs, Mermaid Avenue. "Let have Christ for president, Let us have him for our king, Cast your vote for the carpenter. . . Cast the money changers out of the temple, Cast our carpenter in.” I worry that Christ would not, in fact, make a very good president. I am also concerned about potential division of church and state issues. I bought this CD when it came out.

    7. Sunspots - Bob Mould - I didn’t know that I had this and haven’t listened to it before. I have always tried to like Bob Mould’s old band, Husker Du, which was on SST records but it never did much for me, even in the Scotch Guard days. I liked listening to this song though. I think that it came from Nick.

    There is nothing embarrassing in this shuffle but I do have DeeLite on my I-Tunes. I don't like it but I had the CD, somehow, so I figured I should put it on my computer as I systematically put all of my CD's into I Tunes.

  4. Anonymous12:56 AM

    iron and wine southern anthem
    -i really love his voice and lyrics. i don't listen to this album as much as i should.

    Books it never changes to stop
    -i am really glad this was on my party mix. although it is a very unparty-like song. I have to say this is one of my favorite bands the past few years. one of those bands where you hear a song or two then buy all of their records.

    Beach Boys Wouldn't It Be NIce
    what can you say? always amazing. it took me until my late 20's to "get" the beach boys. so rich and just perfect. i was such a dummy.

    Wine Her Goosie Max Romeo
    some great reggae. although it does remind me of my mother in law. not that i am wining her goosie.

    Chinese Children Devendra Banhart
    i truly hate this song. i do like devendra just sometimes i wish he would shut up and quit trying so hard.

    The Cat And The Dog Harry Reser
    best banjoist ever. really.

    Flop Eared Mule Kilby Snow
    my favorite autoharpist ever. everyone i ever play this for doesn't like it. even folks who are big country fans, dulcimer fans or whatever. they just hear this oddly tuned, baroque assed autoharp and are kinda like what the f. the first time i heard this guy i was floored. it was so spooky and dark but crisp and full of what i guess is called technique. this song though is an all out jig.

  5. Anonymous12:59 AM

    oh and most embarassing would be my extensive collection of k-fed/shania twain remixes.

  6. Anonymous9:08 AM

    eeek! k-fed!
    my most embarassing is James Blunt. So embarassing in fact that I refuse to give my name.

  7. I'm trying to think what's the most embarassing music I own. I'm not sure, but I can easily say what's my most irritating. It's a CD of hog-call recordings entitled "Hollerin'" recorded at a (North Carolina?) state fair. I love it. Each call is typically preceded by some old-timer giving a lengthy explanation of the circumstances in which he has used or would use that particular call, "Hollerin' saved my life. When I was a boy I fell down a well. Weren't nobody a-boot so I hollered like this..." And then the holler itself, an inhumanly loud, yodel-esque unduluation of the voice, "Oh-ee-aa-oh-oo-ah-ee-ah-oh-ee-aa-oh-oo-ah-ee-ah-oh-ee-aa-oh-oo-ah-ee-ah-oh-ee-aa-oh-oo-ah-ee-ah... and the folks came a-runnin'." It's really not suitable for every day listening (and, in particular, it annoys the crap out of Sarah) so it doesn't get much spin time. (Well, that and that fact that it's currently sitting in the upstairs of our old house covered in a film of petro-fecal-chemical sludge). But I am quite fond of it.

  8. Anonymous11:11 AM

    Since I haven't decoded the iPod yet, I'll have to offer these off my random playlist last night.
    1. Slippery People / Staple Singers (we heard it on a NYC radio station in a hotel in Westchester. It was the last good wedding we attended. The year was 1984 and my cousin became a boring money grubber after marrying a woman who thinks she's something.) Anyway this version trumps the Talking Heads' original.
    2. Can't Get Started Over You / Sonny Stitt. Soulful favorite rendition of the Vernon Duke-penned classic.
    2. I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)/Grace Jones. Paris at night strolling around listening and looking. Evocative.
    3. A Time To Love / Stevie Wonder
    Great anthem for our times. Serious international drumming on the long finale
    4. Dance on Vaseline / Thievery Corp. & David Byrne / The Visible Man
    Although not a big fan of his voice, Thievery Corp. nails this with some monster bass lines
    5. Marie-Jose Alie / Les Grand Tambours
    Martiniquan crystalline voice about the great drummers of her island. Zambouya is the album and it's all good.
    6. I Can't Believe You're In Love With Me / Duke Robillard
    After Hours Swing session album with a 40's feel to it. Very fine musicians playing here.
    7. Old Kidney Stew is Fine / Eddie Vinson
    One of the masters of jump blues and a great vocalist and sax player. He can do some quirky things with his voice and the groove's always in the pocket.

    My mate has many things on her iPod that I'm ashamed of. Too many to recount here. I didn't load 'em. Some worse than hog hollerin'.

  9. Anonymous12:02 PM

    i have that hollerin cd too. let me know if sarah wants me to burn her a new copy.

  10. We have a record that Beth calls the party-killer. It's called The Harmony of the World: A Realization for the Ear of JOHANNES KEPLER'S Astronomical Data from Harmonices Mundi 1619.
    The liner notes (!) begin thus:
    "The main purpose of this record is to present Kepler's Harmony of the World for a period of several centuries, beginning with his birth date, 27 December 1571. We decided that the length of time represented would have to be at least as long as the period of revolution of the slowest planet, Pluto. Pluto's period is approximately 248 years or, in our terms, 20 minutes an 42 seconds, and we chose a total length of 22 minutes, representing 264 years. This time span we divided into 2 equal--" Are you awake? Where did everybody go?
    The record is twenty-two minutes of high pitched weeweewewewewwewwewwwe, low pitched bwaaaaaahhhhhhh, and rapid-to-slow thumpthumpthump and ticketicketicket.
    And yes, we have played it at a party. I am not embarassed by it, by others might be embarassed for me.

  11. Ok.

    1. Neutral Milk Hotel: Someone is Waiting. NMH is one of those bands that I really have to be in the mood for. Except the song "King of Carrot Flowers Part I". That song I listen to over and over.

    2. Bon Jovi: Living on a Prayer. Does it need commentary? I mean, Johnny used to work on the docks. Just sayin'.

    3. Whitesnake: Here I Go Again. Apparently it's 80's hair band day on my iPod. I don't actually have any of their albums. This came from a friend who made a mix. Or should I say a "friend"?

    4. The Beatles: Match Box. It's weird because I sort of feel rebellious listening to the Beatles. My folks hate the Beatles, so I guess it's some childhood psyche thing. But I still remember where I was when I heard my first Beatles song.

    5. Dolorean: Sleeper Hold. I actually don't know this group at all (another friend mix/recommendation). It's not too bad. Super mellow. Actually, it tends to put me in a very melancholy mood.

    6. Green Day: She's a Rebel. I only ever listen to this album as a whole, so I felt this song was really out of context. Fantastic still, but you just can't beat the whole story of American Idiot.

    7. David Bowie: Sons of the Silent Age. I'm actually not to familiar with this song yet. I recently went through a Bowie phase and have most of his stuff though.

    A few of my embarrassments (or guilty pleasures, if you will): Avril Lavigne (but only one song - don't really know why), and of course my "back in the day" albums: Matchbox Twenty, Train, Lifehouse. My dear husband wanted to put Lionel Richie and Michael Bolton on the iPod.

    I said no. Or maybe hell no. I really can't remember.

  12. Anonymous1:10 AM

    I love this game! My boss and her partner gave me an iPod, and though I would never have gotten one for myself, I am in love with it.

    1. Weezer, “Pink Triangle”--so many good lines--"We were good as married in my mind/but married in my mind's no good...might have smoked a few in my time/but never thought it was a crime...everyone's a little queer/ why can't she be a little straight?"

    2. The Magnetic Fields, “Abigail, Belle of Kilronan”--Magnetic Fields come up a lot on the shuffle, since 69 Love Songs is actually three CDs, plus I have the album I. This song is perfectly suited to headphones, because the instruments waver back and forth between the left and right speaker, which is really cool...except it is making me a little sick now...

    3. Wilco, “Jesus, Etc.”--This is a good song from a great but uneven album. "Tall buildings shake/voices escape singing sad, sad songs/tuned to chords/strummed down your cheeks/bitter melodies turning your orbit around"

    4. Indigo Girls, “Love’s Recovery”--This song bores me a bit; I think I mostly like the hits from this album.

    5. The English Beat, “I Am Your Flag”--Love this band, but not one of their best.

    6. Billy Bragg, “Island of No Return”--Again with the favorite artist but not-so-favorite song.

    7. James Carr, “Let It Happen”--One of the many beautiful voice/sad life stories. One of a few soul/r&b albums I have. Again, not my most favorite song (that would be "The Dark End of The Street"), but the whole Essential James Carr is make-out music extraordinaire (deployed on a first date just this week--very effective, I must say).

    Whew! Luckily, no ABBA or Soup Dragons popped up to embarrass me...

  13. We also have 69 Love Songs on our IPod, giving the Magnetic Fields a disproportionate frequency of representation. I like them, but there are more than a few duds on that album. (Come on, it's sixty-nine songs. How could there not be?) It adds an element of ironic, melancholy danger to the shuffle mix.

  14. Anonymous11:27 PM

    1. Mai Ai Hee (Dragostea Din Tei) - O-Zone-- back story: ummm i luv this song its fun ummm yeah

    2. ...Baby One More Time (DWAD Remix) - Britney Spears-- Backstory: britney spears is awesome??

    3. He's A Pirate (DJ Tiesto Remix) - Tiesto-- backstory: makes you feel like a rave pirate

    4. Sailor Moon (S.A.F. Radio Edit) - Sailor Moon-- backstory: uhhhhh there really isnt one

    5. (Bouncing Off the Ceiling) Upside Down - A*Teens-- backstory: well back in the day when bubble gum pop was popular so were they and i still luv the A*Teens

    6. The Great Escape - Boys Like Girls

    7. I Feel Pretty - West Side Story-- Backstory: bahahahaha the funniest song ever who doesnt luv it

    most embarrassing song

    Into The Groove - The Medic Droid (madonna cover)