Friday, April 4, 2008

The sound (or not) of music

My lastfm playlist is a bit misleading about my musical tastes. I tried adding some more to it, but I think I need to go put in some new code. Once again, I am lazy (and wonder, at this point, if I should put the word lazy in my list of tags?)

My playlist was formed mostly on the days I was writing about Passage D'enfer perfume, which made me want to listen to religious choral music. I love Baroque and earlier music. But I also love other music. When I say my taste runs the gamut it is an understatement of huge proportions, and even though this sounds hyperbolic in the extreme, it is not.

In the last two days I have listened to: Marilyn Manson, Isis, Jesu, the White Stripes, Deva Premal, the Sex Pistols, the Melvins, Guns and Roses and the Dead Boys. All of this is on my iPod, along with quite a bit of what's called "sludgecore", mostly English rap/industrial music, and podcasts of "This American Life", "Will Shortz's Puzzler" and "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me". I also have a weakness for Bobby Short, a singer of mostly show tunes, who used to play at the Carlyle Hotel in New York. I like Count Basie from when Joe Williams sang with him. . .and I realize I forgot to say I am a hardcore Rolling Stones fan. Bob Dylan, too. There really isn't a genre that I don't like. This includes country music. I'm crazy about Dwight Yoakum (and not because he has a cute ass but because he can sing beautifully, yodel without sounding like a fool and writes perfect country songs). I adore the wild singing of Diamanda Galas and the simple beauty of Gillian Welch. And I still love NIN's "Closer", which I think is one of the sexiest songs ever (which might say something terrible about me). I seem to have a penchant for songs about drugs; Lou Reed's "Heroin", Alice in Chains' "Rooster", the Stones' "Sister Morphine", Marilyn Manson's "The Drug Show", the Dead Boy's "Ain't It Fun" (and Guns & Roses' perhaps even better cover version). . .

When I'm in my car I usually listen to NPR or BBC news, if it's on, or talk radio. When I need to stay awake, or I'm either in a very good mood or a very bad mood, I listen to music on my iPod. In a fair to middling mood, when NPR is airing jazz or classical music, or I can't take another second of the hate radio jocks, I listen to my Podcasts. It really is this simple, as far as my mood goes, and I've never thought about it before.

Yesterday, I discovered I really like the Melvins and was surprised that I hadn't really paid much attention to them before.

I am not supplying any links to these bands. If you're interested, it's for you to google, or perhaps you know what they sound like, and think either: a.) I can't believe this woman listens to this stuff or b.) Wow, this woman listens to this stuff. Wait. There's a third alternative: c.) Who cares?

C seems most likely, in fact.

I am very affected by music. Most of the time I don't listen to any. I like my silence. I like being able to hear the birds outside or even just the hum of the refrigerator, the sound of cars going by (but hardly ever the trucks). I like the sound of my cat running up or down the stairs. Occasionally I hear the sound of a mouse scratching inside the walls of my house. Right now I can hear the sound of wood burning in the woodstove. It's a subtle sound, and if I had music on, I would miss it. I hear the sound of my feet rubbing together and the tap tap tap of the keyboard as my fingers run across the keys.

I love these sounds. Music is wonderful. I can't imagine a life without it. But I hate music as background. I listen to music when I want to listen to music, not as a backdrop to life. I think some people would lose their minds if they turned off the music. When I had a business, people were uncomfortable if there wasn't music on, so I played it all day long. My iTunes playlist is HUGE and wildly diverse, but at present, it is a rare day when I DO listen to music. So, when I do, I really enjoy it.

Photo:Bob Gruen (Memories of my youth)

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