Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Thing About Music

I know. It’s Tuesday. But you know, I was giving thanks with my family, then I was stranded in the Denver airport on Sunday night, and then I was so sleepy last night that I didn’t even eat. Today I wanted to write about the people that annoy me at the gym or the people that annoy me on the phone at work, but I got too annoyed thinking about it and didn’t want to annoy others by writing about it.

Recently, someone asked me, “Do you like music?” I replied, “Doesn’t everyone?” I was sure music held universal appeal, that only specific preferences varied.  Then I heard of someone’s uncle, who doesn’t “get” music.  Doesn’t care about it.  Doesn’t choose to play it for personal enjoyment.  This baffled me, and I wanted to write this long-winded opus on the importance music has in my life, on how even in my darkest days Concert Choir was always a sunny ray of hope, on the reasons why I was named after a hymnal and my dog was named after a country music star.  But I knew that I’d get carried away and start bragging on the number of songs in my iTunes, but forgetting to mention the percentage of them that I’ve never listened to.  Somehow I’d find myself arguing on the side of Pitchfork for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’s perfect score, but disagreeing with just about every other rating they’ve given and berating them for being such a pretentious gang of garrulous band geeks.  Before I knew it, I’d find myself making claims that I can in no way substantiate about the most underrated bands or the best lyricist of our generation.

And so, as I type this, I’m pulling up iTunes. In this Friday 500 exclusive, I shall bare my ears’ and my soul’s true preferences.

The first glance at the list of my Top 25 Most Played songs reveals to me that almost all of these songs wouldn’t be on the list in the first place if it weren’t for my weird penchant for putting songs on repeat.  Sometimes, no other song will fit my groove (see #19, “O Children” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds).  Sometimes, I’m trying to up my street cred by learning all the words (see #10, “All of the Lights” by Kanye West).  Sometimes it’s because I was studying for hours and didn’t realize the repeat button was on (see #21, “Dawn”—the first track on the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack).  Or sometimes it’s because I was studying and was very aware that the repeat button was on because I need to drown out the music in the Union and receive an uplifting message at the same time (see #2, “Don't Let Me Fall” by B.o.B.).  And sometimes it’s because I made a playlist of only four songs and played it every time I showered for six months (see #3-6).

But as far as I can remember, I’ve never put #1 (“I Feel It All” by Feist) on repeat.  It’s my happy song. The one I play when I’ve had a victorious day, or when I want to pretend my life has a soundtrack.  I must say—I’m pleased, and somewhat relieved, to discover that my happy song’s playcounts far surpass those of my weird-repeat-phase songs.

The complete list, per request.

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