Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

  • Music:

My turn with the Baton

The music bloggame, passed to me from cristovau

1. Total amount of music files on your computer?

So far, I have 1187 songs in iTunes. That's really just a start, though -- I've only ripped a modest fraction of our CD collection so far. (We have around a thousand CDs; I plan on ripping all the stuff I really like from all of them, to have a super-shuffle on the iPod. Indeed, while writing this I realized that I haven't ripped Aqualung yet, so I'm doing that as I write, bringing me to 1198.)

That's most of it, aside from maybe a dozen Caroso dance tunes that I've transcribed into Django. (And need to figure out how to produce a good MP3 from.)

2. The last cd you bought was...

It appears to be The Spine, from TMBG. I actually bought this a while ago, but got distracted onto other things and hadn't gotten around to listening to it until last night.

3. What was the last song you listened to before reading this message?

"Prevenge", from the aforementioned album, and which has had me horribly earwormed since last night.

4. Write down five songs you often listen to or mean a lot to you and why.

Hmm. I think I'll have to take cristovau's comment to me as a challenge to do them all from different genres. I'm going to have to stretch beyond "song", though -- I am, at heast, tune-focused (I often don't even know the lyrics to favorite songs of mine), and a lot of my favorite music is instrumental.

Rock: "Cross-Eyed Mary", from Aqualung, by Jethro Tull. The choice of album is easy -- this was the album that marked a major transition in my musical tastes, from my Beatles-centric youth to the harder sound I grew to prefer after about age 15. While it isn't Tull's greatest album musically (I would say that Songs From the Wood is much more elegant), the angry edge has always spoken to me. It's probably my favorite album of all time.

The choice of song *on* this album is pretty hard -- I could just easily have gone for the title track, or "Locomotive Breath", or "My God", or "Hymn 43", all of which I consider to be masterpieces of anger against the hypocrisies that surround us. But for today I'll go for "Cross-Eyed Mary", one of those songs whose catchy tune belies just how warped the topic is.

Classical: Pictures at an Exhibition, by Moussorgsky. Can't rightly say why -- there's just something about the opening strains of this particular symphony that have always spoken to me. I have several recordings, including the typically peculiar interpretation from Tomita. (Whose version of The Planets is also an old favorite of mine.)

Humor: I'll set aside Weird Al, and go for "A Chat with Your Mother", by Lou and Peter Berryman, because it's one I'm particularly fond of singing under my breath. (Y'all may know this as "the F-word song".) The Berrymans are possibly the best songwriters to write for other people -- their own singing voices aren't much to write home about, but they have written an amazing array of silly favorites.

(Although, in retrospect, it occurs to me that I really *should* pick "The Vatican Rag" by Tom Lehrer, or something else from TW3. I had the entire album memorized by age 8 -- a good seven years before I figured out what all of the songs were talking about. It was possibly the first album I truly loved, and I can still sing most of it by heart.)

Show: Very tough choice (and it feels just plain wrong not to pick a Broadway song in this case), but I'm going to say the Babylon 5 season 5 theme, because it suits my mood right now. This is perhaps the finest single minute of TV music ever: a tune that deserves to be the anthem of a newly-built empire. There's something about this piece that encapsulates the series for me: it hits me on a remarkably deep emotional level, evoking a sense of *pride* that I can't quite explain.

Folk: I was a folkie originally, and while Steeleye Span may be my favorite group, the most *meaningful* song to me has to be "The Mary Ellen Carter", by Stan Rogers. The song is all about doing the right thing just because you personally think it *is* the right thing -- damn the odds, damn the difficulty and damn the naysayers. It practically defines my spirit, and while there may be many other songs I like to listen to more, I don't think there are any that have as strong a gut reaction for me.

The above list isn't really proportional -- in fact, about 75% of my favorite tracks are rock of one flavor or another. I had to omit several major genres simply by the nature of the exercise: I decided that most Filk really qualifies as either Folk or Humor, and there just isn't anything from my substantial New Age collection that I care about quite this much. (And while I'm fond of much period dance music, none of it is quite special enough to make this cut.) Choosing 5 is very difficult -- to be honest, the first and last are in a category by themselves, and the rest are selected out of hundreds of candidates. But it's an interesting exercise. Maybe I'll try my top 100 sometime and see where that leads me.

5. What new music are you really excited for in the coming year so far?

To be honest, I rarely know what's coming up. My musical tastes are very opportunistic: I come across Stuff I Like, and incorporate it into the collection. That may be filk I find at a con one day, folk from a concert that my friends drag me to the next, rock off the TV the day after that.

6. What 5 people are you going to pass this baton to and why?

Let's see. I'll say:

1) msmemory, because despite living with her and her musical collection (overlapping with but not identical to mine) for 20+ years, I honestly don't know what she'll choose.
2) dglenn, because he's very musically focused and knows a bunch of groups I don't.
3) ladysprite, who hasn't led me wrong yet on a musical recommendation.
4) mikekn, who turned me on to CDBaby, so he's clearly got taste.
5) keshwyn, because I'm curious about my apprentice's tastes in music. (I actually have a bit more handle on mindways's than hers.)

Okay, done with that, save to note that it's really nice finally having a laptop with speakers that don't *totally* suck -- this has got me in a musical mood...

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