In the two weeks since I finished my iPod shuffle challenge, during which I listened to a complete shuffle of all the songs on my iPod without skipping any, I’ve been restless about music. New shuffles bore me, my music seems stale. It feels like I’ve “just” heard all of it. So I’ve been listening to albums in their entirety, mostly because it feels different and because I can. I found that Abbey Road is almost exactly the length of one way of my commute. Listening to that album was one of the first things I felt like doing. Hearing side two Abbey Road songs during the shuffle felt wrong, as I explained in week 1.
So what did I learn from the iPod shuffle challenge?
* I have more patience than I thought. I did it. I listened to 2,724 songs without skipping a single second of any song.
* Since I have now given every song a chance to wow me, it’s completely OK to delete songs I don’t like very much. I erred on the side of inclusion when I originally ripped my CDs, but I don’t have to store my entire CD collection on my iPod. Good lord, no.
* The key lesson is my desperate need for some new music. Both new to me, since I feel like I’ve totally lived my current collection of songs at the moment, as well as new as in not old. Most of the songs I highlighted during the challenge were released prior to the current decade. I’ve had trouble finding new bands I like for a long time now.
Suggestions are most welcome. Please, for the love of all that is holy, share any great new artists you love. I need a music freshening.
I was excited to get an invitation to try the free version of Spotify. It’s pretty cool, basically in exchange for putting up with the occasional ad, I can listen to almost any song I want whenever I want, without paying for it.
But there’s a catch…your own imagination. I don’t know about you, but being able to search for anything I might want to hear but don’t already own makes my mind go totally blank. I keep using Spotify to listen to the same two songs, because they are the only ones that come to mind. The first is Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” which is one of the very few new songs I’ve been exposed to and liked since starting the shuffle challenge. It’s fun to sing.
Then there’s Katie Costello’s “Stranger,” which I heard on “Switched at Birth,” and was pleased to find on Spotify. It’s one of those songs that you like, even though listening to it evokes feelings of melancholy that make you want to jump off a cliff. Wait, just me? Since I think about the issues I believe she’s covering in this song a lot anyway (how well can we ever really know another person?), I find it compelling. Go ahead and listen. It’s sort of a cathartic sad. Really.
* The last thing I learned during the shuffle challenge is that my iPod is missing stuff. Some songs I love never made it onto my iPod and I need to fix that. These songs include:
Steppenwolf “Born to Be Wild” This song, as well as “Magic Carpet Ride,” were part of the soundtrack to my post graduation trip to Niagara Falls with friends. I was not particularly wild, but I had the opportunity to be wild, so there you go.
Ace “How Long” There’s definitely a cheesy 70s lite rock vibe to this, but I love it anyway. I already expressed my love of Paul Carrack’s voice when Squeeze’s “Tempted” came up in the shuffle. I would listen to him sing the phone book (and I sort of feel like I have…Mike + the Mechanics).
Marshall Crenshaw “Someday, Someway” I don’t suppose anyone has ever before compared this to Buddy Holly? I love that I found a video of his performance on Letterman, so that’s what I embedded.
Elvis Costello “Veronica” For the longest time, this was the only Elvis Costello song I liked. More of his songs have since grown on me, but this one is still my favorite, especially now that I’ve known a Veronica (Dave’s Mom).
When I went to see Paul Simon in concert a couple of months ago, I was shocked to realize that although I have Simon & Garfunkel’s whole catalog, I didn’t have any of Paul Simon’s solo music. Not even my favorite song. Not sure how that happened. So I listened to “The Obvious Child” on You Tube 500 times before and after that show.
The Cranberries “Dreams” Maybe everyone can point to a song that perfectly explains what it feels like to fall in love, but my song is a particularly good one, no? This song was released the month I met Dave. Our favorite radio station played it incessantly while the lyrics were happening to me. Somehow this CD never made it onto my iPod.
Mazzy Star “Fade Into You” This song has been on my “to buy/download” list for 17 years. Oops. Need to get on that.
Wedding Present “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” I don’t think the Watusi album was very well received. It’s even out of print, even though earlier albums are not. I think it must have been a rare happy period for David Gedge, and perhaps that turned off his hard-core fans, who like him full of angst. But I thought the songs were goofy and charming. There is just something extra compelling about a bitter guy in love.
Of course, all of these songs are at least 17 years old.