Friday, October 14, 2011

When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.

For a little while last year, I was going through some emotional issues and one of the side effects was that I lost interest in things that I used to love. Now that I'm recovering from those issues, I've rekindled my love affair with music. Almost every morning, I have to listen to some type of music to get me going (unless I listen to NPR, but even then they usually have cool bump music). My favorite routine is to get up, throw on and jam out while I wash the dishes or do some other mundane but necessary task. And after giving my listening habits some thought, I've realized that there are 4 major things that have shaped my current musical tastes. 

The Quiet Storm- Every night until I was around 10, my mother would leave the radio in my room tuned to 95.7 R&B while I was going to sleep. I have no idea why she did this, but I assume it was so that I wouldn't get scared at night and so that I wouldn't try crawling into her bed. Anyway, in the evenings, the station featured the "quiet storm" format, even though until yesterday I thought it was an actual radio show. As I laid in my bed, the smooth voices of Smokey Robinson, Anita Baker and the like lulled me to sleep and burned their memories into my brain.

The Late Late Rock Show- 96X WROX is an alternative rock station based out of Norfolk, Va. During the day, they play more mainstream music by artists like Paramore, Green Day, and Nickelback (vomit*). During the night time, the Late Late Rock Show plays "indie rock and B-sides." I used to listen to my little battery operated radio in my bed with the volume turned down super low (my mom doesn't understand "that kind" of music) and swoon over songs by Saosin, Thursday, Crystal Castles and Death Cab for Cutie. And I'm pretty sure I had a crush on the DJ. I miss that radio show, but thankfully I can stream it from my computer, which I sometimes do. Here's a sample playlist from their website and the link:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – y control
Kenna – say goodbye to love
Washed Out – feel it all around
Folk Implosion – natural one
Julian Casablancas – 11th dimension
Beck – leopard skin pillbox hat
Arctic Monkeys – I bet that you look good on the dance floor
Of Montreal – id engager
Afghan Whigs – citi soleil
MGMT – kids (soulwax rmx) 
Passion Pit – sleepyhead
Passion Pit – the reeling
Modest Mouse – never ending math equation
Land of Talk – speak to me bones
Piebald – American hearts
Fugazi – margin walker Broken Bells – the high road
Radiohead – airbag
Cut Copy – feel the love
Spoon – written in reverse
Wilco – Monday
Free Energy – free energy
Minus the Bear – guns and ammo
Yeasayer – ambling alp
Jay Reatard – always wanting more
Vampire Weekend – horchata
Kings of Leon – the bucket
Les Savy Fav – comes and goes

The O.C. Mix 5- One of my besties Annie burned this CD for me in our senior year of high school. This was during the time that I was finally becoming slightly less awkward (emphasis on slightly) and pining over my friend who looked like the kid from "Ratatouille." It was a time of transition for me. So when I got this album it opened me up to so much indie-ness. My favorite song was "Your Ex-Lover is Dead." It did such a good job of capturing my deep teenaged angst that I listened to it over and over. The title of this post is the first line of that song. I later developed an affinity for Canadian indie rock, mainly The New Pornographers and Feist.

  1. The Subways - "Rock & Roll Queen"
  2. Kasabian - "Reason is Treason"
  3. Shout Out Louds - "Wish I was Dead Pt. 2"
  4. LCD Soundsystem - "Daft Punk is Playing at My House"
  5. Rogue Wave - "Publish My Love"
  6. Youth Group - "Forever Young"
  7. Of Montreal - "Requeim for OMM2"
  8. Gorillaz - "Kids with Guns"
  9. Kaiser Chiefs - "Na Na Na Na Naah"
  10. Stars - "Your Ex-Lover is Dead"
  11. Phantom Planet - "California 2005"
  12. Imogen Heap - "Hide and Seek"

Barbara Streisand "The Broadway Album"- My mother actually bought this CD during my freshman year of high school along with and Earth Wind and Fire album and a Laura Nyro album. She blasted Nyro all day for months (which drove me insane but also influenced my tastes) and I started listening to Streisand. I had joined the high school chorus and this album was what I wanted to sing like. Babs was awesome, so strong, powerful, and expressive. My enthusiasm for her eventually waned a little (even though she's still great) but I've had a revival from watching "Glee." I sang my heart out when I listened to this although at the time, I hadn't seen any of the musicals that were featured on the album. But I fed off the raw emotion in her voice.
Track listing:
    1. "Putting It Together" (Stephen Sondheim) – 4:20
      • from Sunday in the Park with George
    2. "If I Loved You" (Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers) – 2:38
      • from Carousel
    3. "Something's Coming" (Leonard Bernstein, Sondheim] – 2:55
      • from West Side Story
    4. "Not While I'm Around" (Sondheim) – 3:29
      • from Sweeney Todd
    5. "Being Alive" (Sondheim) – 3:23
      • from Company
    6. "I Have Dreamed/We Kiss in a Shadow/Something Wonderful" (Hammerstein, Rodgers) – 4:50
      • from The King and I
    7. "Adelaide's Lament" (Frank Loesser) – 3:25 (CD Bonus Track)
      • from Guys and Dolls
    8. "Send in the Clowns" (Sondheim) – 4:42
      • from A Little Night Music
    9. "Pretty Women/The Ladies Who Lunch" (Sondheim) – 5:09
      • from Sweeney Todd/Company
    10. "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" (Hammerstein, Jerome Kern) – 3:31
      • from Show Boat
    11. "I Loves You Porgy/Porgy, I's Your Woman Now (Bess, You Is My Woman)" (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward) – 4:35
      • from Porgy and Bess
    12. "Somewhere" (Bernstein, Sondheim) – 4:56
      • from West Side Story

    This list is obviously not definitive. As most people are, I was also influenced by the popular music that was around me at the time I was growing up. I LOVE the Backstreet Boys (when Kevin was there. He is my husband but he just doesn't know it.) and I also like Britney Spears, even now that she's had a few "episodes." I also really like Appalachian type folk music, but I'm not sure what influenced that decision. Anyway, I'm always eager to find new types of music and new artists to add to my rotation. Now if only I could fix the computer with all of my mp3 files on it so I could use my Ipod again. Sigh.

    *I'm not gonna lie. I had Christiana burn me 2 of Nickelback's CD's in high school. But that was before I knew better and I've made peace with those demons.

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