on music and life and soundtracks

First off, this isn’t a post about writing. (Finally, I know, right?) Because this is about music and I can’t listen to music while I write. Well, instrumental, maybe…but after awhile even it gets annoying. And music with words? No way. If words need to come out of my brain, I can’t have words going in, apparently. Now, when I’m painting I always listen to music–ridiculous music. (I’m 49 years old and I have a Flo Rida station on Pandora…I’m just sayin’…)

When I was a teenager, music was an important part of my life. If I was in my room there was always a record playing. But now, unless I’m cooking or cleaning, it rarely occurs to me to listen to music. Even in the car, 9 times out of 10 NPR is on rather than music. What’s up with that? I still feel like I ought to be a person who listens to music…but somehow I’m not anymore. I find that a little sad.

I remember once, a few years ago, deciding that I would teach myself to enjoy classical music. I put my satellite radio on a classical music station and left it there. I lasted less than a week. Every day I’d get in the car and within ten minutes I was grinding my teeth and I had to turn it off. No doubt it’s wonderful music, but it just wasn’t me.

The funny thing is, I still buy music. I’ll hear a song, like it, look up the artist on itunes and listen to some of their songs. Sometimes I just buy that one song, but sometimes download the whole album (I am frighteningly old-school).  Then, I’ll listen to it and think, “boy, I like that.” But after I shut down itunes, there’s a good chance I’ll never never to listen to that artist again. It’s inexplicable. It’s like I’m searching for a soundtrack to go along with my life but not finding it.

Once when I had a computer-guru (who’s also a friend) at my house scraping viruses off my laptop (this was before I got a macbook), he opened my itunes and immediately started laughing. I was annoyed but not really surprised. My itunes library is silly. It has everything from…uhm…hang on a second.

Okay, this feels a little like over-sharing for some reason…but here we go. Minus the random artists whose songs tagged along on some soundtrack…here’s the list (most of it anyway…several times I thought, “what the hell is that?” and left it out).

AC/DC, Amiee Mann, Alex Skolnick Trio, AliFarka Toure, Amos Lee, Amy Winehouse, BTO, Bad Company, Badly Drawn Boy, Beck, Ben Harper, Benise, Bill Withers, Bowerbirds, Buffalo Springfield, Canned Heat, Coldplay, CCR, CSNY, The Cure, Dave Eggar, David Berkeley, David Bowie, David Holmes, Derek and the Dominoes, Dixie Chicks, The Eagles, Elton John, Elvis Costello, Eric Clapton, Everlast, Five for Fighting, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Sinatra, The Funky Lowlives, Garmarna, The Gentle Good, Grand Funk Railroad, Jack Johnson, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, The Kills, Levon Helm, Loreena McKennitt, Louis Armstrong, Meredith Brooks, Michael Andrews, Miles Davis, Moby, Nellie McKay, Nick Drake, Paolo Nitini, Pink Floyd, Radical Face, Rasa, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rufus Wainwright, Sally Nyolo, Sheryl Crow, The Shins, Simon & Garfunkel, Staind, The Stone Roses, Suzanna Choffel, Thomas Newman, Tom Waits, Uncle Kracker, Wendy Colonna, Ziggy Marley, The Zombies.

You’re laughing now too, right?

So, have you got a soundtrack in your life? What’s it like?

By the way, want to see my newest favorite? And I don’t even like Kentucky Fried Chicken…

5 thoughts on “on music and life and soundtracks

  1. I also can’t write when I’m listening to music–any music but certainly not music with words. I read all these posts from writers who post the playlists of songs they listen to when they’re writing, and I just cannot get it. How? How can they do that?

    That being said, I listen to music in the car almost exclusively, unless I’m going through a Howard Stern phase, at which time I’ll listen to him a lot.

    My musical tastes also go all over the place. I’m just starting to come out of an intense Owl City OCEAN EYES listening phase. For kicks, yesterday, I dug out my Indigo Girls RITES OF PASSAGE CD and listened to it in the car. I was like, “Damn, I forgot how good this album is.” It’s really, really good, and I haven’t listened to it in…at least six or seven years. This inspired me last night to get out their COME ON NOW SOCIAL album, which I remembered as my favorite of their. I’m listening to it right now and, “Damn, I forgot how good this album is.”

    (Since I’m reliving my Indigo Girls obsession, I even took one of their lyrics for my post title today. 🙂 )

    • enabling enabling…hahah…you know now I’ll listen to these artists and buy something from them and then not listen to it. ha!! I do like Owl City, in fact. As I recall I listened to some of their stuff when you posted about them in your blog. Now I’ll have to check out Indigo Girls…

  2. Your post brought back lots of memories for me. Listening to Herb Alpert and the Tiajuana Brass which was my mom’s fav when I was little, then graduating to my own music. I remember vividly the day I
    purchased my first album with my own money, Peter, Paul and Mary’s Ten Years Together which included Leavin’ on a Jet Plane, a song that my best friend, Leslie and I knew all the words to. I rode my bike to the record store, babysitting money in my pocket, and rode home in the rain, fearful that my first record album would be ruined by getting wet! I remember being on a family vacation in Florida and dreamily walking the beach with Davy Jones’ I Want to be Free playing in my mind. I was quite in love with Davy. Of course there was the day that I bought The Fifth Dimension’s Aquarius album and was overjoyed by learning that I shared a birthday with Marilyn McCoo. Talk about a brush with greatness! In high school my musical taste was influenced by my older brothers and I would come home on weekend nights after drinking Little Kings and kissing my boyfriend of the season and crank up CSNY’s Southern Man or something long by the Allman Brothers until my mom would knock on the door and tell me to turn it down. Frequently a song will remind me of a specific memory and I find that fun. I listen to most of my music while driving in the car now. Every morning I pick something from my iPod for my morning commute and settle into the mood of the artist, whether it is melancholy or zippy, it is my choice. Like Melissa, I listen to music at home when I am cooking or cleaning, but that’s about it. I can’t even read a book with music playing….maybe I have ADD, that is definitely a possibility. So anyway, thanks for the memories. That was fun!

  3. You have inspired me to go back to Pandora, which I have kind of forgotten about. That’s a great way to hear some new music. I really liked the Buckethead clip you posted!

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