[please forgive the hideous font issues you'll experience while reading this post. i just couldn't find the energy to fight any longer with The Code with an Evil Mind of Its Own.]
Is it normal that I got sad because Shazam didn’t recognize an old song that I love? It was “Losing You” by The Ugly Americans. I really used to love them. LOVE. I guess I still do, specifically their album Stereophonic Spanish Fly. It’s one of those albums that you can listen to from start to finish all.the.time. No need to select your “favorite” from the tracks, because they’re all kinda your favorites, and they all just go together as if written as an opera. And if you hear one track randomly, say on the radio, you automatically FEEL the next song on the album coming, and have a heart dropping moment when you realize it’s not coming. Other albums like that for me are….hmmmm….
Glass Houses, Billy Joel
Rumours, Fleetwood Mac (which could be a “greatest hits” album all on its own)
45s & Under, Squeeze
Tapestry, Carole King
Passion, Peter Gabriel
Synchronicity, The Police
Most Led Zeppelin albums
Moondance, Van Morrison (a masterpiece of an album)
Look Sharp!, Joe Jackson
Songs in the Key of Life, Stevie Wonder
I realized just now that a lot of the albums for which that to me is true are greatest hits albums. I guess that makes sense—ya listen to those albums start to finish much more than other albums from that artist, I imagine. (Does that statement fall under the category “needless to say….”? Yes. Yes, it does.) Anyway, some of the greatest Greatest Hits:
Simon & Garfunkle
Steve Miller Band
I could go on for days, I’m sure.
Come to think of it, I rarely EVER listen to albums anymore. I really prefer putting on my itunes and shuffling ALL songs. I know lots of people like Pandora, but I wanna hear MY music collection. There’s a reason I have these albums, and have uploaded them to my library, so I only do shuffle when I’m listening on my own. I feel like I’d never hear songs like Lenny Kravitz’ “Black Velveteen” if I didn’t shuffle. Or G.O.D. from Fastball. Or Beck’s “hotwax”? Or Sharon Jones? Or Cake. And Duke Ellington, Sheryl Crow, U2, Count Basie, etc. Or “Pallin with Al,” Squirrel Nut Zippers. I mean, come on! Great song—Pandora would never have played that, but I hear it because, regardless of how random, I once loved that song and would want to hear it again.
So, wondering, are there fewer albums that are start-to-finish great these days? Or do I just not listen to albums start-to-finish at all ever anymore? It’s kind of a single-driven industry now, isn’t it? All the albums I listed above are from the times before CDs and shuffle. What about some newer albums?
Back in Black, Amy Winehouse
Alright, Still, Lily Allen
New Magnetic Wonder, The Apples in Stereo
Necktie Second, Pete Droge (very early years of CDs, but still was shuffle-able)
The Reality Bites soundtrack—indeed.
Why sometimes is shuffle not very random at all? Ever notice that? I’m not talking about the times that songs come on that are TOO perfect for what you’re feeling/going through/what-have-you at the moment. That’s just creepy… and maybe it’ll be a discussion some other time. Remind me if I forget. Anyway, random isn’t so random. I really don’t give my songs ratings, so I’m not sure why the iTunes gravitates toward some artists or albums. Like it’ll be a totally different day/session on the computer, and I’ll hit “shuffle all songs” or whatever on my iTunes, and he’ll (yes, iTunes is a guy, or perhaps a bunch of guys) will play certain songs much more often than others. Or will keep going back to the soundtrack from Great Expectations (excellent album). Riddle me that. Then again, my shuffle just went from “Mercy” by Duffy to “Four Seasons” by Vivaldi. So what do I know?
Back to The Ugly Americans. I discovered them in 1996 when I went to a Big Head Todd & the Monsters concert at a small Georgetown University chapel-venue with Robin & Ross (and possibly this guy I was dating. Wonder what ever happened to him? Too tall for me, anyway). The Ugly Americans opened for BHT and, actually, kicked their asses in my opinion. The lead singer, Bob Schneider…..oh my. Grrrrrr. Check him out – maybe I’ll find a picture and post it here (brilliant). The band was out of Austin, Texas (coolest town ever). Side note: Bob dated Sandy Bullock right after she ended romantic things with Matthew McCougna-yumm, which was after I was already obsessed with Bob, so them there’s my degrees of separation. Mmmhmm. Well, now we know she never shoulda let that go. Anyway, The Ugly Americans broke up a while ago, but Bob has a career as a solo artist, and even had a song in the Maryland Lottery commercial last summer. Check it out, I love it.
Oh, Shazam didn’t recognize “Northern Bound Train” by Pete Droge. Really? REALLY? That makes me sad. SoundHound didn’t, either. What does it all mean???? Tell me, HBW—what does it all mean???