Monday, February 20, 2006

As I mentioned in a previous post, I decided to create a 120-song playlist for my iPod Shuffle to celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday. I wanted to include favorite songs and artists from throughout my life. After doing some fun "research" to help trigger memories (rifling through my LPs, reviewing my database of all the bands I've covered for publication, studying the track listings on Rhino's 1970s and new wave series), I came up with about 130 artists, sometimes with specific albums and songs in mind, which I then winnowed down to 120. The hardest part was choosing a single song by some artists. I used the following criteria in making the picks:
  1. Only one song by any artist.
  2. I didn't bother to note the album if it didn't matter to me, especially if I knew I'd be copying it from a compilation.
  3. No songs that I'd included on previous mix tapes or CDs that I'd made for myself.
  4. When in doubt, choose a song that evokes memories of a particular person or event.
  5. Remember that there is no one, perfect answer. For example, I couldn't go wrong with either "London Calling" or "Police on My Back" in lieu of "The Magnificent Seven," my ultimate Clash selection.
While it may be outside the implied rule of blogging to engage in self-centered blathering, I'll skip the stories behind my choices because, in many cases, it would bore even the other people connected to the memories. But I did notice a few trends:
  • I picked songs that reminded me of the deaths of both my grandmothers but neither of my grandfathers.
  • I started to develop taste in music in about 1979 or 1980. Anything on the list from 1979 or earlier that's cool is probably something I discovered after the fact. Anything cheesy is probably what I loved at the time, and there's no point in being embarrassed about it now.
  • A bunch of musicians made the list twice:
    • Joe Strummer - Clash and solo
    • Mick Jones - Clash and Big Audio Dynamite
    • Pete Townshend - The Who and solo
    • Karl Wallinger - The Waterboys and World Party
    • David Gedge - The Wedding Present and Cinerama
    • Most of the members of the Undertones and That Petrol Emotion
  • Justin Harwood just missed on making the list twice; although a member of both the Chills and Luna, he wasn't in the frequently-shifting Chills line-up when they recorded "Pink Frost."
  • I don't even want to think about how much of my favorite music is now out of print, so I'm glad to own what I do.
It's been a fun process selecting and assembling the playlist. I highly recommend it.

The selections:
A, You're Adorable
An Emotional Fish – An Emotional Fish - Celebrate
Animotion - Obsession
Armstrong, Louis - What A Wonderful World
Babes in Toyland – Fontenelle - Bluebell
Badly Drawn Boy – About a Boy – A Peak You Reach
Bats – Silverbeet – Sighting the Sound
Beastie Boys – Hello Nasty - Intergalactic
Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister – Me and the Major
Big Audio Dynamite – Rush
Blondie – Rapture
Bowie, David – Ziggy Stardust – Suffragette City
Bragg, Billy – Workers Playtime – Valentine’s Day Is Over
Buzzcocks – Operators Manual – What Do I Get?
Cars – Cars – You’re All I’ve Got Tonight
Catherine Wheel – Ferment – I Want to Touch You
Cave, Nick & the Bad Seeds - Tender Prey – The Mercy Seat
Chameleons - Strange Times - Swamp Thing
Chicago – 25 or 6 to 4
Chills – Kaleidoscope World - Pink Frost
Church – Starfish - Reptile
Cinerama – Disco Volante - Wow
Clash – Sandanista! – The Magnificent Seven
Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head – The Scientist
Cope, Julian – 20 Mothers – Greedhead Detector
Costello, Elvis – (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
Culture Club - Karma Chameleon
Cure – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me – Why Can’t I Be You?
Cynics – Living Is the Best Revenge – Revenge
Dead Milkmen – Big Lizard in My Back Yard – Bitchin’ Camaro
Deee-Lite – World Clique - Groove Is in the Heart
Depeche Mode – Speak & Spell – Just Can’t Get Enough
Detroit Cobras – Hey Sailor
Echo and the Bunnymen - Ocean Rain – The Killing Moon
Ernie – A Sesame Street Celebration – Rubber Duckie
Fall - I Am Curious Orange - New Big Prinz
Fatboy Slim - Better Living Through Chemistry - Going Out of My Head
Fatima Mansions – Viva Dead Ponies – Blues for Ceauseseu
Fine Young Cannibals – Fine Young Cannibals – Johnny, Come Home
Folds, Ben, Five – Ben Folds Five - Underground
Fountains of Wayne - Welcome Interstate Managers - Little Red Light
Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Relax
Gang of Four – Damaged Goods
Godfathers - Birth, School, Work, Death – Birth, School, Work, Death
Grease – Summer Nights
Hitchcock, Robyn & the Egyptians – Respect – Wafflehead
Hives - Vene, Vidi, Vicious - Declare Guerre Nucleaire
Hoodoo Gurus – Stoneage Romeos – I Want You Back
Hunters & Collectors - Human Frailty – Throw Your Arms Around Me
Imperial Teen – What Is Not to Love – Yoo Hoo
Inspiral Carpets – Life – Commercial Rain
Interpol – Antics - Evil
INXS – Shabooh Shoobah – Don’t Change
Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy – Just Like Honey
Joel, Billy - Just the Way You Are
John, Elton – Philadelphia Freedom
King and I - Getting to Know You
Love & Rockets – Lift – R.I.P 20 C.
Luna – Bewitched – Friendly Advice
Lush – Lovelife - Ladykillers
Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs – Papa Was a Rodeo
McLean, Don – American Pie
Ministry – A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste – Burning Inside
Moby – Play – Honey
Mooney Suzuki - Electric Sweat - In a Young Man's Mind
Mudhoney – Mudhoney – You Got It
Muppet Movie – Rainbow Connection
Nena – 99 Luftballons
New Order – Temptation
Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral – I Do Not Want This
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Numan, Gary – Pleasure Principle - Cars
Ocean Blue – Ocean Blue – Drifting, Falling
O'Day, Alan - Undercover Angel
Partridge Family – Partridge Family Album – Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque
Pixies – Doolittle – Debaser
Police – Reggatta de Blanc – The Bed’s Too Big Without You
Pop Will Eat Itself – Cure for Sanity – Dance of the Mad Bastards
Pop, Iggy – Lust for Life
Pretenders – Brass in Pocket
Push Kings - Macy, Macy
R.E.M. – Document – It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
Radiohead – Kid A – Optimistic
Ramones – I Wanna Be Sedated
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Give It Away
Reed, Lou – Magic and Loss – No Change
Replacements – Tim – Kiss Me on the Bus
Reunion – Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)
Romantics – What I Like About You
Salt-n-Pepa - Push It
Screaming Blue Messiahs – Bikini Red – Big Brother Muscle
Siouxsie & the Banshees – Peepshow – Peek-AYBoo
Smiths – Meat Is Murder - How Soon Is Now
Sobule, Jill – Pink Pearl – One of These Days
Sonic Youth – Goo – Kool Thing
Soul Coughing - Ruby Vroom – Down To It
Springsteen, Bruce – The River - Cadillac Ranch
Stone Roses – Stone Roses – This Is the One
Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free - Fit But You Know It
Strokes – Is This It – Barely Legal
Strummer, Joe – Streetcore – All in a Day
Talking Heads – Fear of Music - Life During Wartime
Tears for Fears - Songs from the Big Chair - Shout
That Petrol Emotion – Babble – Swamp
The The - Infected
Therapy? – Troublegum - The Knives
Townshend, Pete – Slit Skirts
U2 – War – New Year’s Day
UB40 – Labour of Love – Red Red Wine
Undertones – Teenage Kicks
Vaughn, Ben – M- Motor Vehicle
Village People - YMCA
Violet Femmes – Violet Femmes – Add It Up
Waits, Tom - Bone Machine - I Don't Want to Grow Up
Waterboys – This Is the Sea - Whole of the Moon
Wedding Present – Bizarro - Brassneck
Who - Quadrophenia - Love Reign O'er Me
Wonder Stuff – Eight-Legged Groove Machine - Unbearable
Wonder, Stevie - Songs in the Key of Life - Sir Duke
World Party – Egyptology – Love Is Best

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