If you haven’t figured it out yet from reading this thing, I’m something of a music junkie: I’m pretty much listening to, talking about, making or thinking about music during the vast majority of my waking hours, and sometimes when I sleep. (I often wake up with fragments of songs running through my head, sometimes real things I’ve heard or know, sometimes things my subconscious comes up with, which I then often attempt to preserve for waking states).
That said, and despite my long-standing and warm embrace of communications and internet technology, I’m something of a Luddite when it comes to the ways in which we make or listen to music. My knowledge of performing and recording technology ends at the point where things stopped being about plugging quarter inch cables into amps. Midi and computer-based technologies, for instance, completely escape and elude me when it comes to recording or creating music.
Likewise playing music. I clung to my vinyl albums and cassette tapes (so many mix tapes!) well into the CD era, until Marcia finally got me a CD player, at which point my Bang and Olufson turntable and 1,000+ records became useless. I never got into the online downloading/theft thing in the Napster and Oink era, since I never really felt like I owned a song unless I had a plastic or cardboard box that held the disc that held the music.
A year or so ago, though, Marcia asked for an iPod, and since I have all the CDs, it fell to me to load iTunes and copy songs and get things in order so that she could listen to the music she liked. Then we bought a living room stereo that doesn’t take CD’s or tapes: it only takes iPods. This meant that I had to load stuff that I liked into iTunes as well. At which point, chump that I am, I was hooked.
The most fascinating part of the iPod experience for me, list-maker that I am, is the feature that tracks the 25 most commonly played songs. Because this iPod and stereo are used by all three members of the household, the list ends up being this weirdo blend of the spaces where our tastes overlap. I never in a millions years would have created the mix that is included in the Top 25 Most Played Songs on our iPod, but I like it, as does Marcia, as does Katelin. It’s either the lowest common denominator of our musical tastes, or some sublime merger of our tastes, greater than the sum of our parts.
As of today, the list looks like this:
1. “Help Me Mary,” by Liz Phair
2. “Family Romance,” by Department of Eagles
3. “Crazy,” by Gnarls Barkley
4. “The Johnny Podell Song,” by Francis Dunnery
5. “Sexy Back,” by Justin Timberlake
6. “Hotel Figueroa,” by Max Eider
7. “My Little Brother,” by Art Brut
8. “Song 2,” by Blur
9. “The Cutter,” by Echo and the Bunnymen
10. “Not Enough Time,” by INXS
11. “Transdermal Celebration,” by Ween
12. “A Horse With No Name,” by America
13. “Emily Kane,” by Art Brut
14. “Indian Killer,” by Beef
15. “Third Eye,” by Black Eyed Peas
16. “Romo-Goth,” by Department of Eagles
17. “Sunflowers,” by Francis Dunnery
18. “We Are the Weeds of the World,” by Gay Tastee
19. “Harpsicode,” by The Mathematicians
20. “No One Else,” by Montag
21. “Scarred for Life,” by Slapp Happy
22. “Developing Active People” by Via Audio
23. “I Was In the House When the House Burned Down,” by Warren Zevon
24. “Apple Tree,” by Wolfmother
25. “Presents,” by Via Audio