Tuesday, October 20, 2009
October 2009 Play List . . .
It's been a while since I've shared a playlist but I've been loving all the new music this fall (and some old favorites as well) as I try to make the most of my car time, office listening and workout soundtracks as well as my reading time (yes, dear readers, I have started cracking books lately and spending less time with my "boob tube"). Here are my Top 20 songs for this month. Enjoy (or don't)!
1 - The Story, Brandi Carlile - This song (which I think I've included in a few playlists before) is just a great tune. It gets fast and slow, loud and quiet and reminds me of my wife. Still writing her story. Tough. Sensitive. Amazing.
2 - Fireflies, Owl City - I am not generally a fan of this "genre" of music but I saw this video one Saturday morning while chasing Ava around the house (it was in good fun, I promise) I saw her stop in her tracks, pause for a moment and then start dancing the greatest little dance I've seen out of her in a while. I was begged to and eventually started dancing with her. The rest is history. Best way to get on my playlists, musical world, go through Ava (like a man's heart by way of his stomach).
3 - The Tale of Tsar Saltan (The Flight of the Bumble-bee), Pierre Fournier - I've got a colleague, David. His girlfriend is an accomplished cellist. I was, like the rest of the unaware, a blind Yo-Yo Ma fan until David pointed out that he was "all technical skill, no heart." Fournier? He's got skillz (with the z) and heart! This song is better for reading than running but it does just fine on the treadmill.
4 - Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z - I'm a long time fan of men named Sean (Shawn, Shaun, Shon, etc.) that do the name proud. S-dot-Carter is a prime example. His latest CD is very, very good (especially from a 40-year-old who still maintains street cred by being credible in the larger context) but this is my favorite song on the CD. It makes me want to be 18 again and to skip college and just run off to NYC to pursue acting or something. Great song. Great city. From the first drop-in of the beat to the first time Alicia Keys sings to the last beat . . . it is GREAT!
5 - My Name is Prince, Prince - I had a conversation with Red-the-Useless-Intern yesterday. She's NEVER thought much about Prince and doesn't really think he's all that important in the world of music. Insert insult, hurt and tirade here! Prince, quite simply, is the MAN. He's 4'6". He weighs 85 pounds. He's kept a (pencil thin) mustache for 30 years. And he gets anything he wants at the same time. I have DOZENS of "favorite" Prince songs but this one makes my playlists more than any other . . . the man claims God spent the seventh day making him and then had his rest interrupted by Prince "co-gettin'-down" on the guitar. That's the sort of swagger that makes me look humble. A RARE accomplishment!
6 - Early to Bed, Morphine - One of my best friends from my DC days, Michael Thomas, introduced me to Morphine in the late 90s. They are like Ben Folds Five with the saxophone instead of the piano as the weird-throw-in-to-the-rock-mix. I don't own much Morphine but this is one of my favorite songs and it reminds me of 2:30 AM when we finally got home from the bar and Ben was playing Super Nintendo while the "lights went out" in my brain. Oy!
7 - Use Somebody, Kings of Leon - What's NOT to love?! Seriously!?!
8 - Wake Up, Arcade Fire - Go see Where the Wild Things Are. Trust me on this. It is moody and beautiful and deep and complicated and it points to all the crazy voices and insecurities that run around in our head but they are turned in to eight foot tall "wild things" that run around the woods (instead of our brains) and they love and hurt each other and compete for attention and . . . anywho . . . this song is featured in the trailer and it made me a fan of Arcade Fire (something I resisted for years). I've heard this is the last song they play at all their concerts and it always turns in to a sing-a-long. Listen to it once and you'll be singing along by the end. Promise. And then go see Where the Wild Things Are!
9 - Babylon, David Gray - This song (and CD) reminds me of fall. Specifically the first time I went to New York City after 9/11 (it was in mid-October of the same year). I took the train and remember thinking it odd to push through Northern New Jersey and NOT see the World Trade Center (despite hundreds of photos and video clips showing it was gone and where it went). I love David Gray. This song is BEST when going for a run either shortly after dawn or just before dusk (presuming you are outside - the sun's position in the sky does not much matter on your treadmill in the basement).
10 - I Don't Know My Own Strength, Whitney Houston - I love Whitney Houston. Stop laughing. I don't really care what you think (okay, I really, really do but I have to appear strong) and this song is, in my opinion, a KILLER comeback song for her. Joy prefers "I Look to You" (it makes her think of Ava and she will cry every time she hears it) but this song, for me, is just much more motivating. It makes me want to leave my R&B singing husband, stop using illicit drugs, start getting my voice back in shape and start doing whispery interviews on Oprah. Okay - it really just makes me want to feel like I can do whatever I want.
11 - Please Don't Leave Me, Pink - This song comes courtesy of Joy. She loves her some scorned-women. I am not totally sold on Pink in the larger context but this song . . . this song makes me "get her." It plays nicely to the insecurities in our head that make us unsure that we could or should ever take anything for granted . . . and makes us wonder if begging and pleading does us any good anyway!
12 - Hard to Explain, The Strokes - I won't justify this song. You get it or you don't.
13 - Break on Through (To the Other Side), The Doors - My brother Patrick loved The Doors. I was never entirely sold on them or any of the rest of that era's true "rock" acts. For some reason this song sticks with me though. It reminds me of fall during my high school days. My mother would make bacon cheeseburgers, french fries and milkshakes and we would just rotate our friends through the kitchen (my mother would feed 15 - 20 people some Fridays) before we went to the high school football games. I do miss being a kid in my house with my brothers . . . some days!
14 - La Belle et Le Bad Boy, MC Solaar - Another "confession" - I used to like watching Sex in the City. Towards the end of the show's run Carrie went to Paris and could not replace The Big Apple with The City of Lights. This song was part of one particularly memorable scene where she's bopping, sorta-happily, around Paris. It makes me want to pick up and move the family to Paris. But could we ever really replace The Sunflower State with The City of Lights? I doubt it.
15 - Back to Life, Soul II Soul - Just a happy and upbeat song that makes the treadmill more tolerable and is great while doing a yoga DVD too. The whole Soul II Soul CD is great for yoga, frankly.
16 - Black, Pearl Jam - I hated everything that came out of Seattle in the mid-90s (the flannel, the grunge, the men wearing eye-liner, the combat boots, Starbucks) but this one song from that one group stuck with me. This song reminds my first weekend at Quinnipiac. My floor decided to take our first group hike up Sleeping Giant. It exhausted me. And I loved that. I would like to someday climb Sleeping Giant with Joy and Ava. The top of the giant's chin was my "happy place" more times than I would care to admit during my Quinnipiac days. It was on that sitting spot that I made the decision to leave Quinnipiac to go to DC early 12 years ago (today, actually) and the rest, as they say, is history!
17 - Hush, Hush, Hush, Paula Cole & Peter Gabriel - Beautiful song. Period.
18 - As Is, Ani DiFranco - I picture Joy singing this song to me when I am having my down days and hating myself. We don't have the struggles that Ani and her protagonist did but the notion that you have to believe someone when they tell you they love you and will take you exactly as you are is something we distrust too often and we drive a wedge against that love when we do. And, for the record, I love my wife AS IS no matter how she is on any given day.
19 - Homesick, Kings of Convenience - It is like Simon and Garfunkel let bygones be bygones and went back to just playing their guitars, singing and hanging out in the now-cool neighborhoods of Manhattan. Love this song. LOVE these guys. Just really, really nice stuff. This is a good song for fall too. I used to go home at least one weekend every October and I've missed the last two. I'm okay with that - I really am - but I do miss it and I miss fall at "home." The trees here just don't do the season justice!
20 - Be OK, Ingrid Michaelson - Great song, Talented woman. Good for a cool down after a workout or reading those last few pages of a good book!
So - there you have it. I'm working on another playlist right now for a little trip I'm taking in a few weeks. Lots of airplane time. Alone. I won't know what to do with myself. Most of my alone time is spent in the bathroom and/or sweating. To just sit around alone . . .
Luckily I have a brand new book and 12,000+ songs in my iTunes library to keep me busy!