Monday, May 21, 2007

Shuffle Me

Yes, I hopped on the bandwagon a little over a year ago and got an iPod, actually as a gift, but mainly because I loved the idea of being able to carry around my whole music collection with me and to tune into one of my favorite songs whenever my heart so desires. I've realized, though, that I don't even end up using it as much as I thought I would, because my daily commute only lasts about 30 minutes -- and I don't always think to pull it out and turn it on! Or I find myself reading -- ever the quandary: to read or to melt into my music and forget the (jolting, noisy, angry Parisian) world around me? Usually I do a little of both, reading my latest favorite novel on the train and then pulling out the iPod as my stop approaches, the beat accompanying my walk down the avenue to the office.

And yes, I'm a fan of the Shuffle mode -- I always thought that EVERYONE liked listening to music that way, until my boy made it clear to me that it drove him crazy when I hit the Shuffle button on the stereo at home. (He literally thought it was bad for the stereo's system, like it wasn't set up to tolerate songs being played in random order...!) It appears that he likes his music preprogrammed -- he prefers knowing in advance what song is going to follow, whereas I love the unexpectedness, the randomness of the Shuffle button. It may have something to do with our natures, I don't know, although I can't exactly say he's a planner when it comes to everyday life. Much the opposite: he makes most decisions at the last minute and often changes his mind, which can be incredibly frustrating when you're trying to plan a holiday or even a weekend trip away. I love spontaneity as much as the next gal, but at least give me a chance to pack my bags!

So this leads me to the companionship of my music this morning... Lately I've found that my iPod is misreading me and my desires, pumping out any ol' song from my collection and disappointing me at every turn. But for once it was like the jukebox of my soul, reading my mind and tuning into my emotional wavelength. The ten songs that kept me company this morning were as follows (and these really randomly popped up!):

1. Baker Baker ~ Tori Amos (Any past readers will recognize my predilection for fab female voices, as well as a great piano sound -- and my love of Tori; countdown to the upcoming concert: T-minus 12 days!)

2. Be Yourself ~ Audioslave (Picked this up from my younger brother when back home in the States last summer; they sound similar to Red Hot Chili Peppers to me...)

3. Tigers ~ Rickie Lee Jones (Now this album brings back memories... An overnight train ride to Nice back in my student days, mid-'90s, sharing a cabin with some Frenchmen celebrating an enterrement de vie de garçon... Don't ask! Turns out the French like this gal quite a lot, though...)

4. Intermission ~ Scissor Sisters (This group has been exploding lately, and it doesn't take much to warm up to them -- a good energizer for me!)

5. More Than This ~ Peter Gabriel (Another walk down memory lane: I saw him in concert when I was 19, and it was AMAZING. He's an incredible performer, and I've always loved his voice, no matter what anyone says. He will forever be my favorite former Genesis member...)

6. This is My Song ~ Carbon Leaf (This group is a gift from my brother; I didn't know a thing about them until he shared them with me... And I just love the feel of their music. Plus, now they always remind me of my big brother and listening to tunes together back home!)

7. Desecration Smile ~ Red Hot Chili Peppers (Now, admittedly, I'm more of an old-school fan of RHCP; most of their recent albums haven't hit home with me. But once again my little brother convinced me to take a listen to Stadium Arcadium, and there are definitely some good ones on there...)

8. XXL ~ Mylène Farmer (I'm not a steady fan of this gal either, but her first few albums were genius, and I like to pull them out from time to time.)

9. Good People ~ Jack Johnson (I think I have my brothers to thank for a lot of recent musical discoveries, including Jack Johnson -- although I guess his latest album was hard to miss last year, playing in shops all over Paris. But my favorite album of his is definitely In Between Dreams. Last summer I listened to it over and over again when driving from my parents' to my brother's place and back again...)

10. Penitent ~ Suzanne Vega (As you can see, I probably have more gals on my playlists than guys, there's no denying that. And some of them come and go, like Suzanne Vega, Cowboy Junkies, Indigo Girls, Edie Brickell, Rickie Lee jones, Heather Nova -- ah, the list goes on. Others are constant companions, and this list is pretty much limited to Tori, Sarah McLachlan, and Annie Lennox. I've also made some more recent discoveries that I can't get enough of, and those include Regina Spektor -- that voice! that piano!-- Kate Havnevik, and Feist.)

And this playlist is, most definitely, a reflection of my "eclectic" if jumbled taste; I like a little bit of everything, although I find that certain tunes and styles of music suit certain times of day, as well as certain moods. Case in point: on a Saturday morning, when I'm having a hard time waking up and motivating myself to do some housecleaning, "energetic" is my mot d'ordre, and the only way to get me going is to pop in a CD that wakes me up and puts me in a positive mood. There are a few albums of late that will do this for me, but this can also change from one week to the next (can anyone say MIKA?). Again, I never said I was consistent! I've found that a rare few artists have stayed with me over the years, and some come back to me as echos in new music that I've discovered. But bluesy jazz is not gonna do the trick on a Saturday morning, at least not in my case, and on that my boy and I have a hard time agreeing. Every once in a while we find an artist that we both like, but we do actually have very different musical tastes, and he's often surprised when I admit that I don't recognize certain French artists that he grew up with, or that one of his favorites is far from my kind of thing. At the same time, though, he'll be stunned when I know a particular obscure song, and I can't even explain why it is that it's stored in my mental library.

But oh well, that's what makes us tick, I guess. And opposites attract, n'est-ce pas ? At least, I like to think so... And if our varied musical taste is any reflection of that, then we're definitely on the right track!

So OK, who would like to join in and share their latest Shuffle List? What have you been tuning into on YOUR MP3 player? Or on your computer, for that matter, or in the car... Do tell!


Poppy Fields said...

At the request of my oldest daughter, we just bought the album of the latest winner of the Star Academy or Nouvelle Star or some show like that, anyway, his name his Christophe Willem(I'm not sure about the last name) his nickname is "La Tortue" supposedly because he looks like a turtle. His voice is sweet and I like the music, which is a good thing because we have been listening to it over and over...

Gabrielle said...

I'm a fan of shuffling, too--I set iTunes to hit random tracks and it's always a thrillbecause I forget half of what I have loaded. I've been listening to a lot of summery, fun stuff--Scissor Sisters, disco, etc. At work, I tune in to Sirius and play the Elvis channel until someone yells at me to change it. And then I just ignore them ;-)

Wendz said...

I don't have an iPod or an MP3 - how uncool is that!

But I am either in my car, where I can listen to a CD, or at my PC where again I can listen to CD' I don't need one.

But at the moment, my car list is as follows:

Jack Johnson (adore adore adore)
Leonard Cohen
Katie Melua
Nora Jones

Ms Mac said...

I'm afraid I've been very boring of late and it's been Chris Isaak, Chris Isaak and more Chris Isaak. It doesn't seem to be abating either....

Before that it was Scissor Sisters, Paolo Nutini and a mixture of everything else. I'm not a fan of the shuffle button either. I like to know what's coming...

Ms Mac said...

Oh Wendy made me remember, Jack Johnson as well!

Katia said...

I like pretty much everything, and my ipod holds all sorts of things, from Queen to Nirvana to Linkin Park to Henri Salvador to John Mayer.

At the moment I am enamoured with an Australian artist called Missy Higgins. She has a similar feel to Fiona Apple and just released her second album. I'm also enjoying jumping around singing to a guy called Brother Love. He is an amazing artist and his music is SO catchy!

Other than that, I listen to podcasts on my way to and from work ;)

ColourMeCrazy said...

I love being able to tune out of "real life" and tune into whatever music fits my mood for the day while I'm out and about doing mundane daily chores eg. grocery shopping or waiting in queues at La Poste!

I'm currently addicted to the Gotan Project's "Lunatico" that was introduced to me by a waiter in Carcassonne. It's perfect music for days when I need to step back, take deep breaths and just watch the world around me go by.
I've also been listening to The Killers' "Sam's Town" - it puts me in a good mood for the day!

The Late Bloomer said...

Wow, all of these comments have given me new ideas and have made me curious to discover some of these other artists you've all mentioned -- that's another thing that's so great about blogs: sharing the love!

I stopped into Virgin Megastore on my way home last night, and man, what a mistake -- really! Luckily, I restrained myself from buying anythin, AGAIN, but I was so overwhelmed by how many new CDs I'd LOVE to have as well as all the books... Sometimes going into huge places like that just makes me feel like I'll never be able to keep up with all the great things to read and listen to!

I went specifically to listen to Rufus Wainwright's new album, but I couldn't find a stand where it was available for listening, and for some reason they also hadn't put it into their digital listening system either...

So I ended up listening to it at home on iTunes -- sounds like a good one as well.

Ms. Mac, I've listened to Paolo Nutini and I have a feeling I could fall for him pretty hard. And CMC, I gave my brother the latest Killers album for Christmas, and he loved it -- I copied it, of course, but still haven't taken the time to really listen... I need to give it a chance too!

jchevais said...

Have to admit that I'm not a fan of Rufus. Saw him by accident in concert when he was opening for... um... Keane? Or was that Travis? Can't remember exactly. Could be that he wasn't yet in his niche but whatever.

I am a McLachlan fan from WAY back but your list has got me thinking. I should shuffle meself around a bit and listen to more music. My difficulty seems to be the noise factor. If I'm in the train/metro listening, I have to turn up my mp3 and that just seems to add more noise to my already jangled nerves. Ah well...

Julia said...

That is so interesting about the shuffle vs preprogrammed - I'm very spontaneous and yet I do as your boy does, ha!

At the moment listening to:
The Rakes
Bloc Party
Noir Desir
Rolling Stones Wild Horses (I can listen to the same song over and over again).