Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Citizen Playlist

Tonight is Tuesday night, the only really free night of my week. I've already finished Cinema Hype for tomorrow and taken some time with the book I'm reading, with all of the windows open and the ceiling fan on and the sun finally, finally sinking behind the house across the street. Later, I might watch a little 30 Rock and try to write some fiction. Tuesday night is a long, good night.

It's also the day where all good things come to iTunes. It's new release day. It's free-music day. (Why don't I ever take advantage of iTunes free singles? Only an absurd creature of habit turns down this kind of deal.) It's the day where they update the celebrity playlists. Do you know the iTunes Celebrity Playlist page? Go to the iTunes Store and choose Music from the menu on the left. Scroll down a little, and you'll see it, again on the left. There you go: pages and pages and pages of celebrities' favorite songs, complete with little summaries and comments. Just in the last week or two, they've added the Sex and the City cast(!) and Alton Brown (who listens to exactly the kind of music you'd think. Heh). How great is this? Hours and hours of entertainment (and possibly some new music), I'm telling you.

There are really two kinds of celebrity playlist: the ultra-pretentious kind where the celebrity in question writes a whole paragraph on each song you don't know by each band you've never heard of, and the disappointingly/awesomely vapid kind where each song gets three words and an exclamation point [see Garner, Jennifer]. Okay, so maybe there are a few in the middle, people who listen to the same songs everybody else listens to, but I never remember much about those. Unless they're by America Ferrara, who is kind of my music twin.

In response to the celebrity playlist phenomenon, my friend Avery came up with the Citizen Playlist: the celebrity playlist for the rest of us. This is a playlist for today and not for forever, simply because "forever" playlists are far too much pressure. I would be here for days. Weeks. Months. And then new music would come out, and I'd have to revise the whole thing, wouldn't I?

So here is my citizen playlist for June 10, 2008.

"More Adventurous" - Rilo Kiley
Picking a favorite Rilo Kiley song is kind of Sophie's Choice, so I had to include two. This song is lovely, singable, and packed with mostly good advice about risk and love and accidental pregnancy. So, all the things I like in a good pop song.

"Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel" - Barenaked Ladies
I have spent basically a decade trying to decide on a favorite BNL song, and I think I've finally settled on this one. (Because it totally matters in the long run.) It's about exactly what you'd think it's about. I always get this one phrase in my head, "in all the confusion, there's something serene--I'm just a posthumous part of the scene," and then there's this little instrumental thing, maybe an oboe?, that goes boop! boop!--I can't really explain it, but once that starts looping around in there, it's all over.

"This Modern Love" - Bloc Party
This song is super-rhythmic and super-catchy, with super-jangly guitars, and I like singing, "This modern looove....BREAKS ME!" just like the guys in the band.

"Somewhere North" - Caedmon's Call
This is from the only album of the only Christian band I have left over from my early days of DC Talk and the like. It is wonderful and sounds like driving at night with the windows rolled down.

"The One I Love" - David Gray
I don't really think I understand the details of this song--she's telling the repo man she's the one he loves? And yet. I always play it twice in a row.

"I Will Always Love You" - Dolly Parton
And don't even think about substituting Whitney or anybody else. It's got to be Dolly, or it wouldn't be the saddest song in the entire world. Complete with monologue of acceptance in the middle.

"You Are What You Love" - Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins
The Jenny Lewis album Rabbit Fur Coat is probably my most favorite album this year so far; I listen to it FAR more than is really normal, and am not even a little embarrassed about it, because it is catchy and lyrical and wonderful every single time. And this song speaks the truth: you are what you love, not what loves you back. I feel that this is a Life Lesson. (Fun fact: Jenny Lewis is the frontwoman for Rilo Kiley, so this is almost like choosing a third RK song. Scandal!)

"The Bleeding Heart Show" - The New Pornographers
This is, by far, not the New Pornographers song I listen to the most--it's not even on my favorite album of theirs--but it has the infamous "hey la hey la" segment at the end, which I can never get enough of. I love the NPs for sounding like they're in a high school rock musical 100% of the time.

"Feeling Good" - Nina Simone
My brother got me into this song, and let's just say that I'm saving it up for a particular day that I hope will arrive any day now. (No, not THAT day. You'll know, trust me.) It is exactly, exactly right.

"Sunday Smile" - Beirut
I've just discovered these guys and know practically nothing about them, but they use a lot of accordion and a lot of harmony, and I am fully convinced that they have handlebar mustaches. Listen and you'll see what I mean.

"Walkin' After Midnight" - Patsy Cline
I went on a major Patsy Cline thing earlier this year, and this is my favorite, favorite song from her Greatest Hits (except maybe "If You've Got Leaving On Your Mind," but whatever). Imagine living in a place where you can walk around after midnight (in search of your lost love, which kind of makes the whole thing less fun)! I think I'd be afraid of being mugged, but that's just me.

"Heart of Mine" - Peter Salett
This is a perfectly ordinary pop song that I love more than it could ever deserve. It plays in the movie Keeping the Faith, and that is basically all that is special about it, except that it SPEAKS TO MY SOUL. I don't know why. This is another back-to-back song.

"The Angels Hung Around" - Rilo Kiley
Rilo Kiley's most recent album is kind of a concept album about the sex trade in L.A.--just a little light listening, right? But it's actually fantastic and only minimally depressing, and I love the things Jenny Lewis sings here about her (long) life in L.A. She has a relationship with that city. Plus, I like singing along with the bridge.

"Walk Away Renee" - Vonda Shepherd
Yes, I could also go for the original by the Four Tops--it's a great song either way--but this is the version I have. It's Vonda Shepherd, and it's from the Ally McBeal soundtrack, and I do not appreciate all that snickering over in the corner, you.

"Hotel Yorba" - The White Stripes
I once saw this song on a sample playlist of songs about monogamy, which made me smile, even though it's accurate. Mostly I just like singing/shouting along.

"Pressed in a Book" - The Shins
Choosing just one Shins song is another hopeless cause, so I picked this one because I love it. I know it so well, I don't even really hear it, but then I sometimes play it twice in a row. And it melts into the song that follows it, "The Past and Pending," which is incredibly comforting. But, you know, that could be any Shins song. They're just that much a part of the woodwork of me.

So that's the soundtrack of me, circa now. Go forth and sample music!

No comments: