THE SOUND OF 2015: SURVIVAL

Per tradition, I made a playlist for the past year. You can enjoy or scoff at it via the playlist below (or also on Spotify). Subsequent years can be found here: The Sound of 2014 and The Sound of 2013.

This is probably the most eclectic playlist I’ve ever put together. Hat tip to Spotify for that. It’s also the longest so far of my annual playlists. Narrowing down the list to these 32 tracks was difficult. Music got me through a lot of shit this year: an abusive relationship, anxiety and self-harm, survival (though, at times, it felt like barely as much), endings and beginnings, and a whole lot of slogging through the in between. Perhaps more on all of that later… In the meantime, I’ll let the music tell the story.

Cheers to brighter days in 2016, friends.

ODE TO ANTHROPOLOGIE, TO CHRIS ISAAK’S “WICKED GAME”

Wallet’s on fire and no one could save me but you.
It’s strange what desire will make flat broke people do.
I never dreamed that I’d meet somebody like you.
And I never dreamed that I’d lose so much money to you.

No, I don’t want to fall in love (This store is only gonna break the bank)
No, I don’t want to fall in love (This store is only gonna break the bank)
With you (This store is only gonna break the bank)

What a wicked game to play, to make me spend this way.
What a wicked thing to do, to let me dream of you.
What a wicked thing to say, this dress fits perfectly.
What a wicked thing to do, to make me look this good.

And I want to fall in love (This store is only gonna break the bank)
No, I want to fall in love (This store is only gonna break the bank)
With you.

Wallet’s on fire and no one could save me but you.
It’s strange what desire will make flat broke people do.
I never dreamed that I’d love somebody like you.
And I never dreamed that I’d give so much money to you.

No, I want to fall in love (This world is only gonna break your heart)
No, I want to fall in love (This world is only gonna break your heart)
With you (This world is only gonna break your heart)
No, I… (This world is only gonna break your heart)
(This world is only gonna break your heart)

Nobody saves money.

YOUR OWN DIGITAL CLICHÉ

I retooled Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” to poke fun at recent buzzwords swirling around the digital atmosphere. For your convenience, the original is linked below. Feel free to play while reading my new set of lyrics.



DIGITAL CLICHÉ
Reach out and touch base
Your own digital cliché
Someone to hear your voicemail
Someone to email
Your own digital cliché
Someone to drink your kool-aid
A mindset that’s made

Teamplayers shifting paradigms
All across the internet lines
Get the buy-in
You’ll be a sensation

Take second best
To physical-ness
The bleeding edge
You need to leverage
Networking your brand
You know I’m a friend
Reach out and touch base
Reach out and touch base

Your own digital cliché
Someone to hear your voicemail
Someone to email
Your own digital cliché
Someone to drink your kool-aid
A mindset that’s made

Teamplayers shifting paradigms
All across the internet lines
Get the buy-in
You’ll be a sensation
Networking your brand
You know I’m a friend

Reach out and touch base

Your own digital cliché
Reach out and touch base
Reach out and touch base
Reach out and touch base
(Reach out, reach out)
Reach out and touch base

Reach out and touch base

THE SOUND OF STEREOTYPES

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

One night while working a shift in the small-town gas station that supported me through my 20s, I was commiserating with a regular customer about the crappy oldies station mewling from the speakers.

“So what kind of music do you listen to anyway?” he asked.

Seeing an opportunity for an experiment, I replied, “Give it a guess.”

He eyed me and finally said, “I don’t know… You look like the kind of girl who listens to Britney Spears or something. So pop music, I guess?”

This happens to me often. And it’s always intrigued the hell out of me. (That was the wrong answer, by the way.)

Music is a huge part of identity. There’s ample research on stereotypes based on music preference (i.e. the “you are what you listen to” thought process), but what about perceived music preferences based on stereotypes? And what happens when these perceived music preferences don’t align with our stereotypes of others?

Music journalist and metal music enthusiast Laina Dawes poignantly illustrates this in her interview with NPR. As a fan of both metal and rap music, her words really hit home for me.

There’s still a lot of resistance in terms of who should be listening to what genre of music based on their gender and their ethnicity,” Dawes says, “which does not make any sense to me.

Dawes has been a discredited metalhead most of her life because she’s black and a woman. She has also been discredited as a black woman because she listens to metal, as if she is betraying her own (stereotyped) identity. Dawes likens this to having her “cultural legitimacy” questioned.

My own experiences are by no means on the same scale, but I have garnered my share of incredulous, amused looks when I profess my love of metal music. “You do that headbang stuff, dress in all black, and do the make-up?” they ask with a wry grin. And rap or hip-hop? Forget it. Those don’t even compute for many people.

The interesting thing is the locus of friction I’ve received regarding my preferences in music. It comes not from fellow metal or rap fans but from people who don’t even listen to those genres. I’ve been accused of trying to impress guys, going through “a phase,” and even straight up lying.

Yet 15 years later, my speakers are still bumping the same stuff. This has to be the longest “phase” ever!

Music is more accessible today than it’s ever been, meaning more people are finding new genres with which they identify. Genre mash-ups will become more prevalent (here’s an example of classical meets rap). As a result, perceived music stereotypes will start to become fuzzy and blurred, and we’ll eventually see less stories like Dawes’ or my own.

In the meantime, how about we focus less on what someone likes and more on the why behind it? Odds are conversations about music with that frame of mind will lead to the discovery of commonality rather than difference.

SWAN SONG: SOUNDTRACK FOR A FUNERAL

I’ve been keeping a playlist of funeral songs for years–probably ever since I had the idea that I wanted my funeral to be less about the loss of my life and more about the celebration of the lives around me, the life ahead of those lives. Music was a natural facet of this notion due its influential energy over mood and the way it can sum up a thought, emotion, lifetime in a single track.

And so the funeral soundtrack was born. The songs have changed over the years, but the idea remains the same: one final message to those near and dear to you.

It sounds morbid, but more folks do this than you might think. One for letting it all hang out there, I posted the question of “Do you have a list of tracks for your funeral?” to Facebook and Twitter. A common response was, “I thought I was the only one who did this!” Apparently, we’re all in good company.

What’s on my swan song set list?

1) Mastodon “The Sparrow”
2) Mastodon “Oblivion”
3) Megadeth “A Tout Le Monde” (Youthanasia version)
4) 10 Years “So Long, Good-bye”
5) Oasis “Stop Crying Your Heart Out”
6) Fiona Apple “Across the Universe”
7) The Cardigans “Feathers and Down”
8) The Wallflowers “6th Avenue Heartache”
9) Coldplay “The Scientist”
10) Our Lady Peace “4am”
11) Paramore “All I Wanted”
12) Evanescence “End of the Dream”
13) VAST “We Will Meet Again”
14) Neutral Milk Hotel “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea”
15) The Rolling Stones “Moonlight Mile”
16) The Smashing Pumpkins “Farewell and Goodnight”

Honorable mentions: “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones, “Before I’m Dead” by kidneythieves, “Sober” by Tool, “If Only For A Night” by Florence + The Machine, “Check Please” by Cold, “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime” by Beck, and “Dig” by Incubus

The responses I received on social media about what tracks others would play for their swan songs varied from humorous and ironic ditties to kick ass headbanging anthems to traditional, introspective tunes.

What songs would play at your funeral? With the Mayan Doomsday looming, it might be wise to get a jump on them if you haven’t already (yes, that’s typed as a “tongue in cheek” remark). You can bet your bippy I’ll be rocking this playlist on December 21, 2012 (not “tongue in cheek”).

“Cause I’m just about a moonlight mile on down the road…”