Sunday, February 22, 2009

Eavesdropping on your iPod

Whenever I see someone listening to their iPod or similar music device (my friend Lisa calls her MP3 player an "anti-Pod") I always wish that I could eavesdrop on their music. I love to discover new music, and I think that knowing the top songs on someones iPod is a great way to discover songs that I might overwise have missed. As a result, I thought I might share my current top five on my iPod in the hopes that some of you might do the same and we can all perhaps discover some tunes that we otherwise would never come across. Ready? According to my iPod, my current top 5 most played songs are:

1. The Slide - NLCS - Atlanta Braves The Team of the 90's Ultimate Soundtrack
This isn't even a song, but it's the most played bit of audio on my iPod. It's late Atlanta Braves broadcaster Skip Carey's call of lead footed Sid Bream's mad dash from second to home on Francisco Cabrerra's hit to win the final game of the 1992 National League Championship Series and send the Braves to the World Series. I remember running around the living room at my parent's house screaming like crazy when this happened, and it never fails to give me goosebumps every single time I listen to it. I love how Skip gets so excited that his words all rush together and the ecstatic ranting "Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves WIN!" is the best.
Click here to watch a clip of this event, one of the most memorable in Atlanta Braves history.

2. All Summer Long - Kid Rock
I know that Kid Rock is super skeevy and mega-trashy. For goodness sake, the man was arrested for assault after tussling at a Waffle House in the middle of the night. Still, there is something about this song that makes me want to hang out with him on a hot summer day. Maybe some of his appeal is because he's from Michigan, the first stop my family made after getting off the boat at Ellis Island, I don't know. That would also explain my love of equally skanky and unbalanced rapper Eminem, another Michiganian. (Eminem's profane "Kill You" is in the top 25 on my iPod, held back from the top of the list by the fact that I can only play it when my son's wee ears are not in the house.) "All Summer Long" is pure joy and nostalgia, and I loved it from the first time that I heard it.

3. Land Of Canaan -Indigo Girls
(Click on the song title to watch a live video.) The Indigo Girls were totally my fashion role models in the late 80's/early 90's. I was all about the torn blue jeans, vests, Guatemalan bracelets and sneakers. I first saw them in concert when I was 20 or 21 and I was blissfully unware that they were a lesbian group so at first I couldn't figure out why there weren't ANY males at the freaked me out a bit, but eventually I ended up seeing them in concert maybe a half dozen times. I even met Amy Ray on the street in St Pete after a show in 92 and she was really cool. This is my favorite Indigo Girls song, I love how in live shows it has speeded up to almost thrash metal speed over the years.

4. Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)- Billy Joel
I have two versions of this song in my top ten (an album version and a live version), if I combined them this would be the top song on my iPod. Billy Joel was the first concert I ever went to, and now I've seen him 7 times since. This song, along with "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" (with the lyrics, "cold beer/hot lights/my sweet romantic teenage nights") always reminds me of camping out on the sidewalk outside a mall newsstand for Billy Joel tickets in the winter of '86 with a great high school friend named Dianne. Sometime around 2AM, each of our painful unrequited crushes (Doug and Tim) came by to see us and we set up a basketball hoop on a stop sign and played basketball in the freezing weather with great friends in the middle of the night- I'll never forget it, and those two songs are a big part of that memory. (Click on the title to see a video of a live version of this song.)

5. Beautiful World (Alternate Mix) - Colin Hay
I was introduced to this song by my friend Marissa (thanks Riss!), and it's a really soothing song. I listen to it often, and I have tickets to see Colin Hay (former lead singer of 80's Aussie band Men at Work) in concert next month.

And (because I can scarcely be contained to a top five) two songs that are making their way into the top 5 with a bullet and will likely replace a couple of these songs in the next week:

Paper Planes -M.I.A.
This is one of many new songs that I found thanks to Sean Daly's Pop Life blog. It samples my favorite Clash song, "Straight to Hell" and uses both a cash register and gun shots as percussion. Good stuff, check it out if you haven't heard it before.

Longest Days - John Mellencamp
This is another one that I first heard on Sean Daly's blog that is now a big hit on my iPod. It's horribly morbid and depressing ("Nothing lasts forever/and your best efforts don't always pay/Sometimes you get sick/and just don't get better/that's when life is short/even in it's longest days") but the stark arrangement and, well, "Mellencampness" of it overcomes that and makes it compulsively listenable.

Alright, now it's your turn- let me know the top 5 songs on your iPod. Maybe you'd like to do it as a blog entry, if so please leave me a link to it in comments. As Public Enemy (another heavy player on my iPod) would say, "Bring the Noise!"


  1. Here are mine (not from the 'Pod, but from iTunes...

    "Dyslexic Heart" -- Paul Westerburg
    "Why Can't I" -- Liz Phair (the potty mouth version... shhh)
    "I Burn for You" -- The Police
    "Sex on Fire" -- Kings of Leon
    "American Boy" --- Estelle

    Weird, but it works for me.

  2. Woohoo! I got a shout out. Thanks Sherrie. I'm glad you enjoy Colin's "Beautiful World" as much as I do. It's no lie when I say it's my go-to happy tune.

    Lately I've been fixated with SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE soundtrack. It's amazing even though I don't understand most of the lyrics. There's a remix of PAPER PLANES, as well as, the original.

  3. Thanks for the comments, Jane and Riss! Thanks to you ladies, I just put the new Kings of Leon CD on hold at the library, I'm looking forward to giving it a listen. (Yes, I am so "thrifty" aka, cheap, that I download library CDs onto my iPod whenever possible.) As for the Slumdog soundtrack, the waiting list for that one is FOREVER at the library. Riss, is that one worth an album download on iTunes, or are there certain songs that stand out?

  4. Another approach to music discovery is 'social music recommendation' based on the psychological perception of music.

    Our new service Music Patterns provides customized playlists based on music that 'People Like You' actually listen to.

    Using a psychology-based approach to music preferences , this method combines your individual preferences with identifying those that are similar to your 'music personality.'

    This new form of social music recommendation was developed from years of research in this area by best selling author Dr. Dan Levitin and our team at Signal Patterns.