Wednesday, June 4

Music (a Meme)

If gardening is my biggest passion, music is a close second. My brothers and I are infamous for being able to sing along to almost anything that plays on the radio, regardless of the station. My former husband and I filled several 1000-CD storage shelves in our new house, attended numerous concerts, and still trade music to this day.

I met one of my very best friends, the person who probably knows me better than anyone else, because I always heard such good music coming out of her dorm room that I stuck my head inside and introduced myself one day. Jess took me to my first concert (The Violent Femmes, at Bogart's in Cincy) and we ended up DJ'ing together at our college radio station for several years. And a hot topic of late-night conversation amongst my freshman-year friends was which songs (and in which order--very important) would make up your personal "Songs to Make Love To" soundtrack.

So when I got tagged by a friend for a music meme, I was immediately excited. Here's the deal: List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.

So in no particular order, here's my spring music list: (Note that the remainder of the links on this page, which appear in red, are all links to YouTube and other sites that make the song play as soon as you visit... not something you want to do if you're reading this at work!)

The inimitable genius Leonard Cohen wrote it... some kid with adorable dreadlocks did a perfectly serviceable rendition of it on American Idol this past season and (happily) introduced it to millions of people... but IMHO Jeff Buckley OWNS this song. I bought a Buckley CD almost 10 years ago after discovering a live version of "Lover You Should Have Come Over" on Napster, and felt like someone had socked me in the gut the first time I got to "Hallelujah" on that CD. Amazing.

Forget Kurt Cobain. If anyone from Nirvana is a god, it's Dave Grohl. (In full disclosure, I must also admit that he regularly makes my "Top 10 celebrity males you would like to date" list.) This song is one of those epic sing-alongs that sneaks up on you: You find yourself humming a strange melody and you wonder, "Hey, what is this song that's all stuck in my head?" It takes you a few minutes to ID it, but after that you're completely hooked.

By the way, the Fighters of Foo do some amazing live covers, too. Sax or no, they rock "Baker Street" like Gerry Rafferty never could.

3. Over the Rhine - "Hush Now (Stella's Tarantella)"

OTR is this great little band out of Cincinnati... a husband/wife duo, really, who live in the depressed neighborhood for which the band is named. A college roommate from Cincy introduced me to their CD "Eve," and I was smitten by Linford's arrangements and Karin's angelic vocals. "Ohio," "Drunkard's Prayer" and "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander" are some of my other favorite OTR songs, and their "Darkest Night of the Year" is my favorite Christmas CD of all genres, hands down.

Unfortunately, there's no good free online recording of this particular OTR song, and it's hard to explain how lyrics like "Spin me 'round this kitchen floor/Like a carnaval/Troubadour/I know we're only two-bit clowns/In a one-ring circus" get so embedded in your brain without hearing the music to go along with them. So instead of a link to "Hush Now" I'm sharing OTR's version of Hallelujah. Yeah, Jeff Buckley still owns the song, but Over the Rhine can borrow it for a few minutes with this kind of treatment:

4. Tool - "Aenema"

Want commentary on the sorry state of human affairs alongside music that could easily fuel a kickboxing session? That's Tool. I would've linked to the "Aenema" video on the heading, but this song includes liberal use of "the f bomb"... if you want to hear it anyway, now that you've been warned, go here.

5. Robert Plant & Allison Kraus - "Gone Gone Gone"

My spring songlist would have included their rendition of "Black Dog" or "When the Levee Breaks," but neither of those songs are on "Raising Sand." I don't feel too cheated with this fun Everly Brothers tune, though. It's good, and it also kind of reminds me of driving around in my parents' black Olds Cutlass, listening to the real Everly Brothers on 8 track, when I was a kid.

6. Metallica - "Creeping Death"

Erm... well, sometimes Tool isn't quite hard enough. This song also reminds me of when I was younger, by the way, but more in the time of cassette tapes than 8 tracks. My uncle Bruce used to listen to old Metallica (and Deep Purple, and the like) in his truck, and we would rock out to it on the way up to the river where the whole family still goes to swim, ski, and hang out.

7. Radiohead - "Street Spirit (Fade Out)"

Radiohead's "The Bends" is one of my regular go-to CDs, and I've been on a real Bends kick lately... so much so that I could have put "Just," "Fake Plastic Trees," "My Iron Lung," or "High and Dry" on this list... but "Street Spirit" is the last song on the CD, and very haunting... and since I'm thinking about college radio shows, I'm putting this here in tribute to another old friend of mine, Lourene. I lost touch with her over the years, but she always used to close her own radio show with this gem.

The garden pictures that go along with this post were shots from the last week that look like they could go with music... swaying grasses, a mosh pit of golden-edged thyme and pink dianthus, and an allium (schubertii) with a pretty punk-rock look about it.

And with that, I am off to overanalyze my song choices, as I tend to do with things like plant names... but first, I'll tag the requisite 7 people to play along:

Annie in Austin, The County Clerk, Benjamin (if you can spare a minute from thesis writing, and living), Dig This Chick, Meresy_G, Lisa at Millertime, and Craig at Ellis Hollow. If you guys don't want to make a list, that's fine, too... but if you all (or anyone, really) wants to play along, I'd love the chance to see what's in you iPods or CD players this spring!


dig this chick said...

I like your new look! And I get to play! yay.

chuck b. said...

I'm glad you didn't tag me. I have absolutely no music in my life right now. Sad, really. I would like to hear to the new Radiohead album.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What an interesting post Kim. You have introduced me to music I have never heard about. I have heard Allison Krause & Robert Plant but the rest of your picks I've not heard before. I have an ecclectic sense of music but I don't pursue music as I did in my younger days. Hearing that Hallelujah makes me want to hear all you have mentioned. Maybe you have opened a door for me to hear some interesting new music. Thanks.

Unknown said...

dig this chick, thanks! I'm playing around with a new layout, trying to get things a little cleaner and easier to read. Still working. :)

chuck b., that is sad! Especially since you could have paid whatever you wanted (literally!) to download "In Rainbows" from Radiohead when the album was first coming out. If you lived near me, I'd be dropping you off a musical care package right now. lol.

Greenbow Lisa, isn't "Hallelujah" a killer song? I really do think of it as "belonging" to Jeff Buckley, but Leonard Cohen writes some amazing stuff. I first learned about him when Concrete Blonde covered "Everybody Knows" for the "Pump Up the Volume" soundtrack... another great one, there. :)

agentXXX said...

I love the Jeff Buckey "Hallelujah" myself. It would have been a part of my Meme if we had done this in the winter. I am listening right now. Something about the song is rather cathartic. It makes me want to weep, and then by the final crescendo it makes me euphoric. I must admit the first time I looked up the song, it was after they used it on "Scrubs", when J.D.'s first patient died.

Karin Berquist can sing any song she wants to me...I think if I'd marry my current beau, I'd have "I Want You To Be My Love" as our song.

p.s. Has your "Songs to Make Love To" changed over the years? I am thinking the Joshua Tree still plays a significant role. We so need to google Lourene.

p.p.s. The song that kept rolling through my head all of yesterday was the orchestral part at the start of Viva la Vida, by Coldplay. *swoon*

Unknown said...

agentXXX, that's a good description of Hallelujah. Speaking of Songs to Make Love To, it's kind of like really intense lovemaking in a way, no? The desperate, life-reaffirming kind.

I definitely think that my mix tape of Songs to Make Love To has changed over the years... and of course, we all made up certain mixes for certain kinds of lovemaking anyway. But in regards to Joshua Tree, most definitely! I could still just put that album on repeat... *grin*

ps. Lourene changed her name when she married that Paul guy several years ago, so I haven't been able to find her via google at all. And I think "IWYTBML" would be the perfect song for you and SP! Very cute. :)

lisa said...

What fun! I'll give this some thought and come up with a list! I like yours, especially the metal tunes. "Lovemaking mix"? Hmmm...I'd have to put "Letting Go" by McCartney and Wings on that list, along with "Take Me to the Top" by Loverboy. (And there's always Teddy Pendergrass too ;-)

Anonymous said...

I hadn't heard Jeff Buckley sing "Hallelujah," but it's great. That song got a lot of play back when "Shrek" came out, with Rufus Wainwright singing his version. It's a beautiful song.

I'm not loving the Krauss-Plant duo, but I'll check out your other faves when I have time. I'm listening to the new album by The Raconteurs right now, "Consolers of the Lonely."

Annie in Austin said...

Kim, I don't have an IPod so don't choose individual songs. And when I buy a CD I play it over and over, but then go in and out of the room and in and out to the yard so often that I still hear the album in a fragmented way.

Right now I'm stuck on Leonard Cohen too, the soundtrack to the "I'm Your Man" concert movie with people like Nick Cave, the McGarrigle Sisters, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Jarvis Cocker and Beth Orton covering Cohen songs. I played it earlier today and thought of you when Beth Orton sang "The Sisters of Mercy".

Last week I was playing DeVochKa's new album, "A Mad and Faithful Telling" over and over.

A month ago it was the soundtrack to the movie "Wonder Boys", with Bob Dylan's "Things Have Changed", one of my most favorite songs ever and John Lennon's "Watching the Wheels", which is practically my theme song.

Sometimes I let KUT blast from several radios in different rooms so John Aielli and Jay Trachtenberg can play music for me. John Aielli does wonderful stuff like play every single version of a song that he can find, one after the other. You would have loved it the day he did "Hallelujah"! I'm crazy about Rufus but the late, great Jeff Buckley made the single most perfect recording of that song.

And I'm also spoiled by Philo playing interesting stuff on Pandora and my sons giving us CD's as gifts. And now I'm going to let you spoil me by following your links to listen to the stuff you like!

Sorry about not doing the meme right.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Anonymous said...

Hey Kim: Just discovered I've been tagged this morning. Will get to it this weekend. I'm honored.

joey said...

I stopped after the first 2, Kim, thinking I'm NOT 'an old fart' after all! I love and remember Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (and love K.D. Lang's version).

Foo Fighters opened at the Bob Dylan concert and I burned their CD on my iPod.

My kids keep me 'tuned in'. My daughter is in advertising (Spin Magazine, etc.) Aren't I cool! I do have life besides flowers and food! Hugs ...

Benjamin Vogt said...

Out of blogging for three weeks and people get delusions of grandeur, or, change their blogs. How about if I do a mini meme right here? I've been traveling a lot lately, and the ipod has been going back to Annie Lennox, Faithless, and Phil Collins, with copious amounts of various 80s music. Then I'll listen to some trance or house for a bit, and end up at something classical--or the pilot / tower communications aboard the 737 (I like to know in advance when we're turning, when we've been cleared to land, and what the wind sheer is like--I hate flying). Back to the dissertations.

Anonymous said...

OK. After some technical difficulties, I finally got this magnum opus up:

Anonymous said...

I love the Krauss/Plant CD and it's actually in my car stereo right now. My younger step-son just brought us Fleet Foxes' debut album which we are all loving for different reasons. I haven't heard a Rogue Wave song that I don't like. We brought that step-son to his first concert a few years ago -- Foo Fighters and they absolutely kick ass. The Black Kids and Justice have a few songs on a mix CD that he gave me and I'm enjoying them too (not to mention a Foo cover of an Arcade Fire song, the name of which completely escapes me). I don't know how I'm going to hear any new music when he goes away to college in the fall!

Unknown said...

Lisa... you had me until you said "Loverboy!" *grin*

Pam, I didn't think that I'd like the Krauss-Plant duo, either, but it really worked for me as I listened to the whole concert. (Tivo'd from CMT by my former husband.) Why didn't you like that one?

The Raconteurs (and the White Stripes--I love Jack White) are great, but somehow that's a cooler-weather music for me. I guess because of the industrial sound?

Annie, thanks for playing along! I don't have an iPod, either. I keep thinking that I should have one, but...

I have never heard of DeVochKa, but I might have to check them out. I love the idea of someone playing every version of a song that he can find, so I need to bookmark KUT at work. (I have better speakers there.)

I'm honored that you thought of me when you heard Beth Orton--I do love her music! And isn't Pandora great? The only channel I've started that I don't particularly care for is my Radiohead channel. They tend to go too light-and-airy-trance on that one for me.

Craig, I admit, I specifically tagged you, Annie and Hank because I figured that would turn me on to some good new stuff! :)

Joey, can I say I told you so?! lol. I grin every time I read your description of yourself as a "Ho-Hum Housewife" on your blog. Yeah, right! I don't think I've heard k.d. lang's version of 'Hallelujah,' btw. Will have to go check that out.

Benjamin, you can call it delusions of grandeur if you want, so long as you feed my jones to find out what you're listening to! *grin* I don't know Faithless, but I'm down the Annie Lennox and the 80s for sure. (One of my radio shows included an hour of 80s music.) Glad to hear that you mix it up and keep it eclectic... and good luck with the dissertations.

Craig, it took me a while to get everything pasted in and such, too. Thanks for playing along--I look forward to checking out this music!

Heather, I just took out "Rising Sun" in favor of the Over the Rhine, so we're almost on the same page there!

I think that the Foos covered "Keep the Car Running," and I'm completely jealous that you got to see them in concert! From every live clip I've seen/heard, they seem to have so much fun on stage together...

By the way, I don't know anything about the Fleet Foxes, either. At this rate I'll have to do a music meme, oh, say every 9 months or so. I'm getting introduced to so much new stuff this way. :)

Anonymous said...

Kim, to answer your question, I haven't heard the whole album (or concert), just the two songs that play on KGSR here in Austin. Krauss's and Plant's high voices are interesting together, but at the same time they kind of grate on me. The problem may be that I'm just not an Allison Krauss fan, even though I like the kind of roots rock and Americana that she sings. Her voice just doesn't do it for me.

I'll have to think about whether the Raconteurs might seem better suited to cold weather. They're working for me right now!

lisa said...

Hey Kim, I finally got my post up here. I didn't link to you tube or anything, so you can't "hear" the songs, but I got my list up, anyhow. Fun!

Anonymous said...

This is one of the best blog, I ever seen. Your light writing style and the images collection have maid all the the post very interesting and the images of the plants and the garden are so attractive.

Please write some post about the herbs becuase your blog is little bit related with these.

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