The Music Diary Project: Midterm Report (Tuesday Tangents on Thursday)

I’ve been taking part in the Music Diary Project this week, posting daily updates to it on Tumblr. At some point – once it’s over, probably, and in the mythical time when I have “more time” – I plan to go back through the entries and see what sort of thoughts they provoke. Most of the posts are just straightforward lists of whatever music I was listening to over a period of time, but a couple of them are pretty heavily annotated, and I’d like to to edit some of the others to add more of that.

via fotopedia; original on Flickr
used under a Creative Commons 2.0 License

I thought I’d share some samples here, with links to the Tumblr entries in case you’d like to see the full lists.

I don’t usually listen to very much music in the early morning – I’m usually catching up on the news and the traffic reports, except for the last 15-20 minutes of my commute. My Monday-morning list of songs from my iPod is pretty heavy on the commentary:

  • “I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock ‘n’ Roll),” Nick Lowe – Made me think about Amy and Rory’s wedding reception in the Series Five finale of Doctor Who, which we watched last night. You’d think the Doctor would have learned to dance in 900 years, but it didn’t look like it. I do love a man in a tuxedo, though.
  • “Day After Day,” The Pretenders – (Another) one I don’t think I’ve heard before. (If you wonder how that could happen, you need to know that my husband and I have combined music libraries; this must be from his, and was picked up in a Genius mix). I think of Chrissie Hynde as a tough, badass rock chick, but my favorite Pretenders songs tend to be the more melodic, pop-inflected ones. I’ll give this one another listen.
  • “No Cheap Thrill,” Suzanne Vega – I like her, but she does have a tendency toward overly earnest lyrics sometimes; not in this one, though. It’s one of her more playful tracks.  

I play my iPod (via iPhone) throughout my workday. I listened to a Quickmix station on Pandora (Pop Rock. Classic Punk/New Wave, Adult Alternative, 80s Alternative) for half the day on Monday (this isn’t the whole list):

  • “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” Guns ‘n’ Roses
  • “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Marvin Gaye and Tammy Tyrell
  • “Stuck in the Middle With You,” Stealers Wheel
  • “Here Comes the Sun (live version),” George Harrison (never heard this version before, but loving it – bookmarked the track. Sounds a LOT like the Beatles original, which says quite a bit about how they were working while recording Abbey Road)
  • “Footloose,” Kenny Loggins
  • “Primary,” The Cure (finally, something I’d expect to hear from this station mix!)
  • “Starlight,” Muse
  • “Down Under,” Men at Work
  • “Mr. Brightside,” The Killers
  • “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana (a band I don’t think I properly appreciated until about a decade after Kurt Cobain died)
  • “I’d Do Anything,” Simple Plan
  • “Paradise City,” G’n’R again (This “mix” needs a little more mixing. #justsayin)
  • “Save a Prayer,” Duran Duran
  • “Mad World,” Tears for Fears (the original version I never heard until years after Gary Jules’ reworked cover)
  • “Rebel Yell,” Billy Idol
  • “Holiday,” Green Day
  • “We Will Rock You,” Queen (“We will, we will…You know WHAT. Kick your BUTT. All the way to Pizza HUT!” My son and his friends, circa third grade)
  • “Take Me Out,” Franz Ferdinand
  • “Under the Bridge,” Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • “Once in a Lifetime,” Talking Heads
  • “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” CCR (I like to sing “Have you ever seen Lorraine…”) 

After lunch, I gave “Classic Indie” on Pandora a try (the link is to the full list):

  • “Daylight,” Matt & Kim
  • “New Song,” The Shins
  • “Soft Shock,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • “Home,” Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
  • “Keep the Car Running,” Arcade Fire
  • “Soul Meets Body,” Death Cab For Cutie
  • “Paint It Black,” The Rolling Stones (HUH? Granted, it’s a favorite, but how this is “classic indie” will need to be explained to me)
  • “Forever Young,” Youth Group (cover of Alphaville’s song of the same name, and a fairly faithful one at that)
  • “Time to Pretend,” MGMT
  • “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” The Verve
  • “Two Weeks,” Grizzly Bear
  • “Crazy,” Gnarls Barkley (“indie” is evidently not synonymous with “commercially unsuccessful”…)

I went back for more on Tuesday morning, but didn’t stay as long as I thought I would; the station was starting to repeat songs, and a lot of the songs it was playing were starting to sound a bit too much like each other. I’m glad I did get the opportunity to hear some acts that I’d only heard of up until then, though.


By Wednesday morning, I wanted to listen to my own music, so I cued up my main iPhone playlist and let it go all day:

  • “My Old School,” Steely Dan (If you know where they got their name, feel free to snicker – I only learned that bit of trivia within the last year or so myself)
  • “Born in the USA,” Bruce Springsteen (This is an acoustic demo from the outtakes/B-sides collection 18 Tracks, and I’ve come to like it much better than the album version. There’s no mistaking THIS take for a flag-waver.)
  • “68 Guns,” The Alarm
  • “Watching the Detectives,” Elvis Costello
  • “Getting Better,” The Beatles
  • “Can’t Buy Me Love,” The Beatles
  • “Defying Gravity,” Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth (WickedOriginal Broadway Cast Recording)
  • “Shattered,” The Rolling Stones
  • “Never Say Never,” Romeo Void
  • “Fire in the Canyon,” Fountains of Wayne
  • “Vertigo,” U2 (In which we count from one to fourteen in only four steps and in Spanish, but I can’t resist this song in spite of that…)
  • “She’s Not There,” The Zombies
  • “Dream Police,” Cheap Trick
  • “Crazy on You,” Heart
  • “Sometime Around Midnight,” The Airborne Toxic Event
  • “Not Fade Away,” The Rolling Stones
  • “Maureen,” Fountains of Wayne (sometimes I get irritated the Shuffle function on the iPod doesn’t seem to be mixing things up very much, but never when it serves up FoW twice within a ten-song span)
  • “If I Should Fall Behind,” Bruce Springsteen (finally, a track that has no connection to the Born in the USA album!)
  • “Handle With Care,” The Traveling Wilburys
  • “Voices Carry,” ‘Til Tuesday (but they stop on Wednesday? Sorry…)
  • “Love Is a Battlefield (demo),” Pat Benatar
  • “Don’t Take Me Alive,” Steely Dan
Aside: It’s official – the “music of my life” now spans across six – SIX! – decades, and I think just about all of them have been represented.

I started the Project week comparing and contrasting two versions of “Hallelujah” (Jeff Buckley’s won). This is the kind of thing I’d like to do once the Project’s over and I can review the playlists, since I don’t think I’ll have the chance to do much more of it while it’s still underway.

Other playlists posted so far:

Go on over and check out the full lists if you’d like to pass judgment on my musical tastes, and tell me if you’ve been listening to anything really good lately!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,358 other subscribers