30 Days Challenge: Day 26: First 10 songs to play on shuffle on your iPod

Okay, so here we go. Any errors are due to this being written on my phone while waiting for a student to turn up.

First is Katmandu by Bob Seger. I discovered it by accident when downloading a different song (Old Time Rock and Roll), and I absolutely love it. It represents a love of one’s home country and also the utter need to run away. He has a great voice for singing about a hard decision.

Next up: She’s Got the Look by Roxette. “And I go la la la la la she’s got the look” – with lyrical magesty like that, how could I not?

Just My Imagination by The Cranberries. Mostly, I admit, because of her accent and the way she sings the word “imagination”. I also love the line: “I have always kept my faith in love: it’s the greatest gift from the man above.”

That’s three, right? Okay, next up… Bad Things by Jace Everett (also known as the theme to True Blood). The deep, gutteral tones in hos voice just really draw me into what I imagine is a series of dank bars and danker motel rooms. It really tells me a story. Is also recommend The Good Life by the same artist. No, it isn’t about suburban rebellion.

(Skipped one because The Good Life actually came up next. Loved for the same reason. These songs make me think of a sleazier CCR.)

Andrew In Drag by The Magnetic Fields. I first heard about this song from Neil Gaiman’s blog. It makes me smile, it tells me a story, and to me it sort of sounds like Jeremy Clarkson’s coming out song. Particularly: “…I would even sell the Jaaaaaaag…”

Stay by The Hollies. Shut up. This was bound to go downhill coolness-wise. Anyway, it makes me tap my foot and smile, which can help on my regular, sweaty commutes.

We Want the Same Thing by Belinda Carlisle. Largely the same as the above, really. It also combines that cheerfulness with a kind of aggression in the verses which also helps to perk me up.

Nickelback singing How You Remind Me. Again, the aggression and loud guitar can get me up and going in the morning. There are better Nickelback songs for the purpose, but this was the one on the compelation I downloaded.

Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely) by Pink. This is a favourite I share with an ex of mine. Great tune, with a kind of aggression that can really get you onto the Metrobus in the morning. Favourite line: “All I ask for is one fucking hour!”

Foreigner, Cold as Ice. Um… I don’t know. I like it. Shut up. Although it does have some nice imagery around the repetitive chorus. And I like it. So there.

Lodi by Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR). Other than the very chilled sounds, this song really speaks to the baffled, planless way I progress through life. The confusion, adventure and ennui of that kind of life that you can hear in the performance speak to me on a personal level.

I have some time, so I’ll give you one more (and partly because it’s difficult to scroll and count on my phone’s screen.

Paradise City by Guns ‘N’ Roses. Travelling and looking for pretty girl’s? Yeah, I totally get that. Also the sheer confidence, the guitar, the chorus – like I said before, sometimes I need these things on my daily commute.

So if you see me walking down the street nodding my head mouthing words, chances are it’s to one of these songs. The examples could’ve been so much worse. I though that went rather well!

Speak soon, true believers!

30 Days Challenge: Day 24: A song that makes you smile

Sorry about the delay. I assume, of course, that the Internet waits with baited breath for my new posts.

Anyway, here are a couple of songs that have a tendency to cheer me up when they float to the top of my playlist. As always, melody* is important to me. The feeling comes second.

For slightly angry, fast-walking music, I like:

Now in Spanish!!

And a couple more for your listening pleasure:

Pretty obvious why I like this one, I think.

Now with bonus Spock. Here’s the main official video, because I like that too: 

So… there ya go.


* Yes, her too (see picture 1, right).Figure 1












30 Days Challenge: Music Make up: Accents

Points if you get the reference.

I owe you a music post due to my cop-out yesterday. The following paragraph will be nothing to do with music, then we’ll get back onto it. Promise.

One thing that really attracts me to a person is an atypical way of speaking. In the past, this has ranged an utterly enthralling Belarusian accent to opinions about life, relationships and food that I’d never encountered before. Accents in particular, though, I have a real yen for. I love to listen to a new, interesting or plain edible accent.

And thus we come back to music. I’m going to list a number of songs I have or have had on playlists purely for the accent for the main singer.

1) Jolene in two parts:

Sophie’s beautifully plummy syllables seem to consume this song with such relish, comparable to Dolly’s clear, Southern twang. I  love to hear these two versions back-to-back. Just like…

2) Fuck You Twice!

Just like the original wouldn’t be the same without Cee-Lo’s unique voice, Eliza adds a certain Britishness that transcends her accent. “I really hate your arse right now” seems so matter-of-fact, pessimistic and British beyond changing “ass” to “arse”. I love the video, too. It seems like she’s controlled by two Jim Henson puppeteers who just had a fight. The two backing singers are absurdly excitable, too.

3) Paloma Faith is weird.

Somehow every word Paloma utters seems to be different to how anyone else might say it. I find her wonderful to listen to, even if I only enjoy a few of her songs.

4) My Imagination?

Heard this on a bus between Celaya and Ciudad de México and enjoyed it. Found out the band was famous later:

5) Shut up. I realise it’s a joke-track, but it makes me smile.

6) Antonio Banderas singing angrily in his accent. ‘Nuff said.

Go on then, have another since you asked nicely:

I’m sure there’re more, but that’ll do you for now. Enjoy!

30 Days Challenge: Days 12 and 13: Your favourite and least favourite female group

These are tough, because as previously mentioned, I’m, not a massive music fan. That’s why you’re getting a twofer today. I’ll try to think of a way to make it up to you.

There few girl groups that come to mind. For example, I have a strong memory of B*witched. No, I don’t know why there’s an asterisk in there. Particularly this song:

I don’t know why. Maybe because they were making thinly-veiled innuendo in what I remember to be my early puberty, or maybe because they’re all cute girls dressed like (stereotypical) boys. My attraction to accents different to mine has also been well documented. I respect the rebellion of Russian group Pussy Riot versus an immensely powerful regime, but I’ve never heard their music. Hm. Musically speaking, no one really springs to mind. A few individual female acts, but girl groups tend to be kind of manufactured and homogenous, I think. Oooh, I know:

30 Days Challenge: Day 6: A song that makes you cry.

As a prefix to this post, and probably any other “challenge” question that involves music, I’m going to link you here. I’ll wait…

Finished? Good. So all that said, I listen to a relatively eclectic mix of music – my YouTube playlist includes the BeeGees, Paloma Faith, songs from Grease 2 and Cee-Lo Green. I can’t think of one that has made me cry recently, so I’m going to slide to the left a little and talk about TV.

As I think I have said previously in one of these posts, I love romantic comedies – movies or sitcoms. Comedic characters’ over the top romantic issues often help me ignore my own over the top romantic issues for a time. Sometimes the two overlap, and I feel a kind of empathy towards the characters I find rather cathartic.

Recently, I’ve been watching How I Met Your Mother. I just brought myself up to date in advance of the new series. I won’t go into spoilers, just in case someone equally soppy and silly is reading this and doesn’t want spoilers, but recently two characters (who I thought were perfect for each other in season 1) came together and the circumstances around it made me well up a little.

This isn’t, you understand, because I’m unhappy or discontented in my own romantic life as it stands at the moment (though it could be better). It’s merely because, as my Nanan would say, I’m a soppy bugger.

Not a music fan?!

You’ve got to be kidding me!
(I love this movie)

As I write this in my Rosetta Stone notebook1, I am sitting in a house… somewhere near Mexico City. I’m accompanying my lady friend to a rehersal of her band. I am surrounded by so much equipment that I don’t know whether they’re going to make music or launch this lovely antique-filled home on a mission to Mars.

Dolly Parton

This’ cool, right?

I love music. I do. I enjoy rock, pop, country, jazz, ska, soul, Motown and more. My regular playlists are so eclectic and varied that no two songs played back-to-back seem to gel at all. From Deep Purple through the Supremes via Dolly Parton, I love all kinds of music2. It seems, however, that I l love music less than almost everyone else I meet. This rules goes double for anyone I happen to sleep with.

I don’t know if anyone else has had this experience, but I never give a correct answer when it comes to favourite bands; I can’t name a guitarist from a single riff3, and I don’t know which band started which monumental movement that should have changed my life.

They guys I’m listening to now are great. Really, they are. I won’t have to put on my boyfriend-wow face and fake enthusiasm. It’s good stuff. I’m even pretty sure I can name all the instruments. After I finished this bit of scribbling, I also helped with the tambourine (badly) and some English grammar in the lyrics! I’m quite proud.

That said, I’m not really sure what genre their music is, nor which bands might have inspired it. I feel like Knives Chau being mesmerized by something I know nothing about4.  I just don’t have the language to discuss music, just like a non-linguist wouldn’t have the words to talk about phonemics, the Proto-Indo-European language or diphthongs. In the broadest possible strokes, I can say if I enjoy some vocals, a guitar solo or lyrics. I kind of know that Bowie was a New Romantic and Marvin Gaye was Motown. Regardless of any of my other traits or interests, this seems to make me a lesser person; I’m less cool and less interesting.

Case in point: on my journey to Mexico City last week, I was flicking through the poorly catalogued music collection on the bus. I came across a song I really enjoyed, with a lead singer whose accent really appealed to me4. I was berated by lover and ex alike for never having heard of the Cranberries. It was a name that I sort of recognised, and when their hits were yelled at me, I did recognise some. Nonetheless, they weren’t a band that was ever really on my rader until I accidentally listened to a  mislabelled song on a Mexican bus.

The song in question:

Right now, I’m surrounded by people who are enjoying making great music. I’m enjoying listening to it while I write. Isn’t that enough? Shouldn’t that be enough?

I have no issue with musical culture or how much it means to some people. I just don’t really understand it. It is, I suppose, the same way that other people don’t understand my passion for Doctor Who, the BBC’s Sherlock or Supernatural6, for example. What does bother me, however, is the ‘indie elitism’ that one sees far too often. The “my music is better than you music” mentality is what put me off looking outside the mainstream for the majority of my teenage years (another girl’s influence, as it happens).

I like music, but I know nothing about it. What’s wrong with that?

Please comment if you’ve had the same experience. Maybe you’ve got your own story of non-musicista prejudice? Let me know. Tell me I’m not alone.

1 The British Museum’s finest.
2 I know, I know. I’m sure you’re already rolling your eyes at my examples.
3 Except Queen’s Brian May.
4 If you don’t get the reference, do yourself a favour.
5 My weakness for accents is a whole topic in and of itself. The next time I do something stupid for a pretty accent, I’ll let you know. Refer to this post for reference to my summer spent chasing Belarussian crush I had entirely thanks to the pretty, atypical way she spoke.
6 If you don’t know them, look them up. Seriously.