Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Top Songs of 2006

Since I lost my collection multiple times from July - November, I can't say for certain which songs I listened to most in 2006, aside from the bands/labels with whom I worked.

My music preferences shifted a bit in 2006. I started listening to much more indie music and following some of the indie blogs more closely. My preferences over the past few years have been much more funk, soul, r&b, and hip-hop, but now I am reincorporating much more.

My current favorite song is the acoustic demo "Temple." I can hear it five times in a row and love it as much each time. I also can hear how excellent it sounds currently on the rough mix and imagine how it will sound live and on the next EP. It's an excellent song, and the guys should be really, really proud.

Here are what I think were my top non-client songs:

One Evening, Feist.

I heard it for the first time on the Hike and Bike and I could not get home fast enough to figure out who and what the hell this was. It was an iTunes free download and I was absolutely capitivated. To me, it has a lounge-y Montréal vibe that fit beautifully with my trips to Montréal. Plus, it got me listening to everything by Feist, and other songs that hit that same feel, including some chanson. Any song that can do that makes my list any year.

Naive, The Kooks/Lily Allen.

I first heard the Lily Allen Live Lounge cover and I loved it. Then I had to go find the Kooks. I have three versions of the song on iTunes and they get equal play -- the sign of a great pop song.

Munich, Editors/Corinne Bailey Rae.

The original and the cover are two very different songs. Each completely compelling, but with very different meanings.

Morris Brown, OutKast.

Because of the "soundtrack" tag, people slept on this album. Morris Brown is destined to be a classic, and I will keep forcing it on everyone I know.

Wamp Wamp (What it Do), Clipse.

Despite my entreaties to have D cover it, I think it will remain untouched. Still I have gotten it stuck in the minds of many of my compatriots, and that's almost good enough.

Is It Any Wonder, Keane.

This is a great song. The performance, lyrics, and that driving rhythm send me and I sing it at the top of my lungs every time it comes on. For that, I apologize to the neighbors.

Until Yesterday, JC Chasez.

Never in my life did I think I would love a song by this joker, especially after the suck he perpetrated on "Some Girls Dance with Women." Thanks to Idolator, I have a new addition to my 5 star list. It has an American 80s vibe, which feels retro and current simultaneously.

Standing On My Own Again, Graham Coxon.

Thanks to Stereogum. What can I say, it reminds me of my youth.

SexyBack, Justin Timberlake.

A distractingly great club song. Watching the family dance to this at our impromptu Christmas party was a blast and cemented the generational appeal. I am sure ours was not the only family dancing to this one over the holidays. But maybe we were.

White Daisy Passing, Rocky Votolato.

A free iTunes track. It's acoustic, but it has a soulful vibe.

Seems To Be On My Mind, Suburban Kids with Biblical Names.

One of the best band names I have heard in a while. It's a jaunty song I can imagine being sung by people getting progressively drunker. Plus, it has two changes in the middle, which automatically bumps it higher for me.

The rest of my top songs are a combination of OutKast, Lily Allen, the Kooks, Artic MOnkeys, Phoenix, TTC and all of the covers from Live Lounge. Oh, yeah, and Crazy. Perfect song for a wacky year.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


I have two preference lists in iTunes: favorites and all-time.

Favorites are songs I can hear over and over again and look forward to hearing. All-time are favorites to an nth degree.

Current favorites include:

Bounce That Girl Talk
Mad World (tears for fears cover) Gary Jules
Such Great Heights Iron & Wine
Love You Inside Out Feist
You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will. (Live) Snow Patrol
Let Me Love You (Mario cover) Charlotte Church
Wonderwall (Oasis cover live) Ryan Adams
Guns and Cigarettes Atmosphere
1976 RJD2
Acousticon Theme Youngblood Brass Band
Everyday Is A Holiday (With You) (Featuring Sean Lennon) Esthero
Kryptonite Big Boi Ft. Purple Ribbons Allstars
Morris Brown OutKast featuring Scar & Sleepy Brown
Is It Any Wonder Keane
Naive The Kooks

The Cool Factor

It is always tempting to decide to hate a band once they appear on MTV or leave their indie label for a major or any of the myriad slights for which a hipster or college student or music blogger can decide that a once loved band now sucks.

I get it. In my youth, I had certainly been guilty of abandoning a band for putting out an overly commercial album, etc. I have also been keenly aware of the cool factor when discussing music with an aficionado (like when I leaned in on an early date with J and mentioned that while I know it's not cool, I love Joshua Redman, he concurred and agreed that it was extremely not cool).

Still, the cool factor leads people to overpraise "cool" music and ignore significantly better though more popular music.

The cool factor seems to be genre specific and only comes into play when discussing music that is dependent upon hipster cred - Indie, jazz, etc. In all of my years working in hip-hop, I have never once heard someone say, "damn, once Flip left The Leprechaun behind and signed his Sony deal, I am just not down with him." (Of course, I have heard them say, "damn, once Flip got bitched by TI in the ATL or got his ass kicked in his own neighborhood, I am just not down with him," but hell, once someone is a bitch, it's pretty much over.)



Funky Soul
Brass Bands
Hot club tracks
Clever rhymes
Perfect pitch


Guitar-driven rock
Hair metal
Self-conscious bullshit

Rebuilding the Music Collection

After all of the problems I had with my lemony fresh MBP, I have had to rebuild the past 5 months of my music collection 4 or 5 times.

The first couple of times, I lost playlists, etc, so I got smart about using meta-data to embed the special tags in the files. When I got the brand new dual core MBP, I accidently overwrote my iPod and lost the collection again, 5 days before heading to NY.

Slowly, I have been rebuilding my 2006 lists and adding lots more music. I love having an extra 20 gb in the new hard drive, which I have filled with even more music.

At this point, I am just trying to tag everything properly, since I lost all of my ratings for about a thousand songs. I also grabbed A's iTunes, so I added a ton of jazz, also unrated.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Songs I Love: December 17, 2006

I am in my British Pop, BritPop, and British Indie period, so I have been playing the hell out of Graham Coxon, The Kooks, Editors, Keane, Snow Patrol, Oasis, etc.

Playing right now: RJD2, 1976. It's like electronic funk. I love the horns. The track is hot.

Now Playing: The Arcade Fire

I've had some tracks by the Arcade Fire since early 05, but I never really listened to them. They were 3 stars at best.

I am giving them another listen because I like their Talking Heads covers. They also get a bump because of they are from Montreal.

I wish I liked them more than I do. I have hope for the future after hearing their new tune Intervention, ripped from radio.

Music is an intensely personal thing you share with millions . . .

I was bumping around the kitchen this morning, a lazy Sunday, while A was sleeping.

Sunday Bloody Sunday, a live version, perhaps from Under a Blood Red Sky popped up.

I loved U2 with the passion of an adolescent: War, Boy, October, Under a Blood Red Sky. It's hard to believe they are the same band that still fills stadia worldwide. They felt like truthtellers passionately connecting us to the Troubles. We were a world at war.

(A remembers trying to make sense of "two groups of white people killing each other." He felt a kinship with the Irish as an oppressed people, until he read about the Draft Riots. Eh, you can't win them all.)

22 years. That's how old Under a Blood Red Sky is. I had it on LP. I was 14 and I had my own stereo. It was one of the first detachable speaker boomboxes (similar to the aiwa we have in the bedroom) and I had the pinnacle record player: digital tracking. A button on the outside enabled you to move the needle to skip tracks. It was way cool.

I played this album over and over and over and over.

I would listen to the songs on repeat, teasing meaning from repeated listenings. It was all very intense and it felt like my own secret.

When I stopped listening to lps in favor of the far superior cassette tape technology, I moved from U2, though they were my first unaccompanied concert -- Tampa Stadium with Kathleen and tens of thousands of our closest friends. They were the worst seats I've ever had for a show.

I haven't followed them on their journey to being arguably one of the best bands ever. I left them behind for altenative, hip-hop, soul, etc. after craptucular Rattle & Hum. Still, it's nice to hear some Under a Blood Red Sky and Unforgettable Fire and remember being a teenager.