Music is something I should talk about more, and I’ve got a great opportunity because Ash at For the Love of Books tagged me in the Shuffle the Music Tag!
Here are the rules, although I’m going to modify them a bit:
- Thank the person who nominated you for this tag and link to their blog.
- Shuffle your entire music library (no matter how old songs the songs are) and talk about the FIRST FIFTEEN* songs that come up (anything like why they are there, if they signify something, any story, why you like them, etc.)
- Mention the songs as well as the artists.
- Tag 7 people or more to do this tag and please let them know!
*Ash did 20 songs, so I’m doing 20. Also, my library is split between iTunes and Spotify, so I’m going do 10 from each. Long story short, iTunes has a lot of older music I would listen to, some bought, some on CDs from my parents. It’s probably also a smaller collection. Spotify, meanwhile, I got more recently and now use frequently, though I think I’ve mostly saved (and listened to) musicals. So this will be interesting!
1. “The Long Run”: The Eagles
This song wasn’t on our Eagles greatest hits CD, so I remembered I ended up buying it on iTunes, maybe toward the end of middle school or early high school. The Eagles often sound somewhere between rock and country, and while I don’t really listen to the latter, I find the Eagles’ songs catchy. “The Long Run” is definitely one of their hits, all about taking a chance on a relationship and seeing what happens.
2. “Daniel”: Elton John
As a kid, I resisted my dad trying to get me into Elton John for a long time, but let’s be honest, he fits very easily into my musical tastes. “Daniel” became one of my favorites…I realize now it’s a pretty sad song about the narrator’s brother, a Vietnam vet, but it’s just so pleasant and breezy to listen to?
3. “Rent”: Rent, film version (Jonathan Larson)
This was the last album I purchased on iTunes before I was hacked and basically lost my account (though I still had the music downloaded on my laptop as I do own it). I actually much prefer the Broadway version because it’s less stylized, introduces more characters (not to mention has actual context before it), and has more of an ensemble focus…but overall this has been one of my favorite songs recently. “How do you document real life when real life’s getting more like fiction each day?” is basically how I feel watching the news, and I love the lines about trying to focus on the future and escape feelings from the past. Let’s be honest: this isn’t about the actual rent, but the burdens of society on those looked down upon (Roger can’t escape HIV+ and his mistakes that led him to that diagnosis, Collins gets mugged, etc). It’s angry and such a rousing opening number; when I saw this live during the 20th anniversary tour, that opening riff’s volume took me by surprise and I thought, “Yep, this is a rock musical, all right.”
4. “I Have Confidence”: The Sound of Music, film version (Rogers & Hammerstein)
Apparently my iTunes does have quite a bit of musicals on it! I’ve had this CD since my childhood…I was in a (minor) car accident when I was 5 and was mostly worried if this CD, which had been in the car’s player, was okay. This movie got me into loving musicals and singing back then and I’ve never looked back. While I might generally prefer stage productions to movie musicals now, but I still return to this one regularly and it holds up thanks to the wonderful dialogue and performances. “I Have Confidence” is such an empowering song, and a great scene in the movie–even though my dad annoys me with it sometimes.
5. “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”: Simon & Garfunkel, live Concert in Central Park
The Simon & Garfunkel Concert in Central Park CD from the titular 1981 concert was a regular listen on car trips when I was a kid, and I fell revisited and fell in love with it in early high school, I think (it has a better version of “Sound of Silence” than the original, IMO). The soft rhythms and their lovely harmonizing is certainly present in this carefree song. (Fun fact: my dad was at this concert back then. It was free.)
6. “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim”: Jim Croce
Clearly there’s quite a bit of folk-rock songs in my foundation. While not my favorite Croce song (that would be “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” or “Time in a Bottle”), this is again something introduced to me by my parents’ CD collection and radio channels. It’s just SO CATCHY and casual with plenty of dropped -g’s, humming, lyrics like “ba-da-bee,” sort-of monologue, and good advice (don’t spit into the wind!). Also this is about some sort of gangster named Jim Wailker, not about Croce himself! This song creates a fully-realized world and legend in less than 3 minutes.
7. “Guinnevere”: Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and Young??)
I really got into Crosby, Stills, and Nash (sometimes with Neil Young) during middle school as I discovered my love for soft songs with lovely harmonies. “Guinnevere” is certainly one of them: slow, some parts almost whispered, close harmonies. And yes, it’s about comparing a woman to the King Arthur character.
8. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”: The Beatles
Disclaimer: YouTube didn’t have an easy-to-find original version of the song, so instead please have this amusing choir arrangement because I am also choir geek.
The Beatles were another band my parents introduced me as a kid and accompanied us on our long car rides to family. I remember this one fondly, of course, because what kid wouldn’t like the nonsensical chorus of this song? And it certainly remains fun. LIFE GOES ON…BRRRAAA!
9. “Katmandu”: Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Another car trip favorite was Bob Seger. This song is heavier than some of his others and so it sticks out…K-K-K-K-Katmandu! Unfortunately, I didn’t learn/remember where Katmandu actually is until much later in life. I always thought of it as mountains in the Western U.S. for some reason?
10. “We Go Together”: Grease, film soundtrack
I think Grease is kind of a bizarre movie, from the first time I watched it in like middle school to rewatching it this year. But that’s another topic, and regardless I’ve always liked the music, because the 50s style was something I listened to when I was younger. “We Go Together” is definitely one of those I would listen to…I know all the words, and some aren’t really “words.” One of these days, I will go to an old-fashioned sock hop!
1. “No One Mourns the Wicked”: from Wicked (Stephen Schwartz)
So, this is saved because it was initially one of the musicals I intended to listen to when I first got Spotify, as several of my friends really love it. While I know some of the songs, and there’s a chance I might have heard snippets of this one somewhere, I still haven’t listened to the whole musical and honestly it’s so popular that I’ll probably see it someday and so I don’t feel an urgency to.
2. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”: U2
I know U2 gets a bad rap nowadays, mostly because of their iTunes gift that became difficult to delete because of iTunes’ updates (and now they have another new album??), but I really like their older classics like “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Bono’s vocals are great, and the slow build of the instruments leading into a steady melody provides an immersive experience. My favorite version, though, is probably this, a three-part harmony sung by Broadway and Smash stars (though I haven’t seen that show) Andy Mientus, Krysta Rodriguez, and Jeremy Jordan.
3. “I Love My Daughter” (But Not In A Creepy Way)” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Oh, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, how your song parodies make me laugh. This one’s from an early first season episode and it definitely helped win me over on the show. Nothing beats Darryl’s coming out “Gettin’ Bi” song, but he’s genuinely one of my favorite characters and any song with him is a gift. This one satirizes common themes and aesthetics in country songs to a cringeworthy but funny effect.
4. “Imitation of Life”: R.E.M.
R.E.M. is in that collection of music my dad introduced me to as a kid and that I generally grew up with, but that was mostly limited to their big hits and Automatic for the People (one of my favorite albums). But last year I discovered some of their other work on Spotify, probably because I was searching for more of that ’80s-’90s angsty political rock with great vocals like Rent (their album Lifes Rich Pageant was the answer to that). “Imitation of Life” stuck out to me because it’s just plain catchy and I would get it stuck in my head, though the central idea of “imitating life” does have plenty of weight to it. (Also I just watched this video for the first time and…what??)
5. “Take A Byte”: Janelle Monáe
Surprise, a new, non-musical song! This doesn’t happen very much at all. Dirty Computer was actually one of the first albums I really anticipated, mostly because a friend made me listen to the Prince-style catchy “Make Me Feel” when it came out, and I was intruiged by the style of that and the singles that followed, especially as it all made a sci-fi storyline with queer representation. “Take a Byte” isn’t one of my favorites on the soundtrack, but the electronic feel at the beginning definitely highlights the technology theme of the story, and it can definitely be read as queer desire in context.
6.”Many Meetings”: Howard Shore from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack
The Lord of the Rings music is absolutely memorable and great background music. This track has atmospheric elvish (I think?) singing, and the Hobbiton motif that just reminds me of nature and a sense of belonging/home keeps repeating…it’s really beautiful.
7. “Encore: Our Shot”: from Spamilton
Although I don’t have much of a personal connection to it because it was so popular and I didn’t quite come to it on my own, I love Hamilton. What a surprise, I know. But did you know there is an off-Broadway parody? Some of it’s great, some is less so, and some of it relies on knowledge of other musicals and actors, but if you love Hamilton it’s worth the listen. This track is just a little ending piece to the tune of “My Shot” about how now their voices are shot and they need a drink. Probably what every performer thinks after a show!
8. “Not Too Bad”: from Fun Home (Jeanine Tsori & Lis Kron)
So, like Wicked, here’s a musical I intended to listen to but still haven’t. I’ve heard some of the songs, but I had to read the book for class last year and I loved it, and I’m just not ready to experience an adaptation of it because what I liked about the graphic novel was so intrinsic to its form and voice. But I’ve heard it’s good. (Also let’s be honest, a song from this started playing once and it was too sad I just couldn’t listen to it.)
9. “Telekenetic Energy”: Chris Tilton, from from Fringe Season 4 soundtrack
I love the TV show Fringe (which, alas, is a subject for another time), and I discovered it has a pretty good score to listen to as background music, so of course I added the albums when I got Spotify. My favorite thing is that most of the titles are puns, including this one! This piece is very tense initially but then evens out (albeit with a heartbeat-like thumping in the background) and grows quieter…definitely like the main character Olivia gaining control of her telekenetic powers! (Maybe. Not sure when this was used specifically.)
10. “I Am Playing Me”: from [title of show] (Jeff Bowen)
And here’s another musical I haven’t listened to, although this one I fully intend to because it’s lesser-known and I don’t really know the storyline. Apparently it’s about the creators of a musical, so it’s very meta, which is the kind of stuff I love.
Wow, iTunes went really well with lots of childhood memories and Spotify was…not nearly as expected. I think I tend to save musicals to listen to them later and what I haven’t listened to is larger than what I have