God Shuffled His iPod

From a friend:

“Okay no cheating.  You have iTunes?  Great — here’s what I want you to do.  Access the entire music library you have saved, select “SHUFFLE” and press play.  Write down your thoughts on the song while it plays, but don’t write past the point it ends.  And please, no cheating — that N’Sync song pops up in the mix, write it down and say why you have it.”

Ordinarily I’d ignore the request, but as I just returned after a vacation, I really need to jump-start my brain, and this is as good a distraction as any.

Oh, I don’t have any N’Sync, so I’m safe there, but let’s see what happens.

1. Shaking Through – R.E.M.

Why I have it?  Well, because it’s R.E.M. – one of my favorite bands. Shaking Through is off their first album, Murmur, and it’s appropriate that it’s the first to pop up, given that Murmur always makes me think of summer.  Actually, R.E.M. always makes me think of summer – they’re a great summer band. Memories associated with R.E.M., particularly I.R.S. Records era R.E.M., always bring me back to Summer.  There’s even video a friend recorded of us driving around my hometown in my Toyota Camry, just recording the sights in the summer of ’91. Of course, R.E.M. are on the deck.

2. Country House – Blur

What was the greatest “Britpop” song? It’s a question one character in a nifty suspense thriller I recently wrote (and am currently shopping) asks of another. The choices are “Country House” by Blur and “Roll With It” by Oasis. It’s a trick question, really, as everyone knows the greatest Britpop song is “Common People” by Pulp.  I think If I was born two, three years later than I actually was, I’d be a bigger Britpop fan than I am, though The Great Escape, of which this song belongs to, is probably my favorite Britpop album, along with the first Elastica and the first Oasis.

3. Fast Cars – U2

Fast Cars was a bonus track on the Japanese version of U2’s 2004 ‘How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb’ album, but this version is from ‘Medium, Rare and Remastered’, a fan-club CD of b-sides, rare tracks and previously unreleased music spanning the band’s 30 years together.  When I was U2 in 2005 in Toronto they played this song during the encore and it was the only song they did perform i had never heard. It’s got this weird, almost flamenco feel to it.  Oh, U2 is a winter band for me — unlike R.E.M.  Don’t know why, they just are.

4. Beloved Freak – Garbage

The newest addition to the library as the album came out a month or so ago, and I only got it in the last couple weeks.  I like it — granted I’ve liked all of Garbage’s albums (even Beautiful Garbage and Bleed Like Me — the albums nobody else bought).  For most, Garbage is your quintessential mid-late 90s band, in look and in sound.  It’s weird to think they’ve been around nearly 20 years now, but they have, and I think it’s great they’re still together. Oh, and the album’s a definite grower — not as “single heavy” as their debut album (the one with “Stupid Girl”, “Vow” and “Queer”) — but as catchy as anything they’ve done.

5. Same Boy You’ve Always Known (Live From Manaus, Brazil) – The White Stripes

Another rarity, this from a B-Sides collection only available in Europe.  I think to really appreciate The White Stripes, you have to listen to them performing live. A pity I never got to, but their live album “Under Great White Northern Lights” (or the film itself) is as good as any place to start.  I’m really enjoying Jack White’s solo debut ‘Blunderbuss’ right now, and wonder how Meg is doing in her life out of the spotlight.

6. Staring at the Sun (Monster Truck Remix) – U2

And it’s U2 again, this remix from the ‘Artificial Horizon’ fanclub remix album my sister-in-law gifted me with.  The original is off their much maligned 1997 Pop album, where they rode the Achtung-Zooropa train into a wall.  Revisionists are coming around on it somewhat, but the album still feels half-baked.  FIrst side is pretty solid, but it gets less interesting as it goes forward. That said, some of the tracks I initially hated (“Please”, “Wake Up Dead Man” and this track in its original format) are now some of my favorites on the album. Figure that out.

7.B & I Ferry – Shane MacGowan and the Popes

Anyone else as surprised as me that Shane MacGowan is still alive?  Well, he is.  That’s nbot to say he’s in tip-top shape; when I saw the Pogues at the Roseland Ballroom in 2006 he performed from the seat of his wheelchair (having broken his knee a couple days previous), and his between-song banter was an unintelligible slur.  It was good to see him back with the band where he belongs, but his 90s solo albums, “The Snake” and “Crock of Gold” (of which this song is from) were some of my favourites from the era.  Actually much of the late 90s were a wasteland for me; working a shitty job, making shitty money doing it and wondering if my career would ever get off the ground.  But somehow, listing to Shane belt ’em out made life a little more bearable.

8. Amsterdam – Coldplay

Coldplay get a lot of grief from the hipper-than-thou, but I like ’em and piss on anyone who feels different. I thought once I got out of High School people would stop judging others based on what they like, but if anything it’s gotten worse. Thanks to the Internet, it’s like High School never ended; everyone is ready and willing to share their unwanted opinions with each other, only they’ve removed the usual socual graces of having the stones to utter their opinions to your face. Now they scream it safely from their side of their computer monitor.  Anyway, even Coldplay haters will acknowledge that “A Rush of Blood to the Head” is their best album, and “Amsterdam” one of their best songs.  I know it’s one of my favorite.

9. Making Time – Creation

Off the soundtrack to the Wes Anderson film ‘Rushmore’. Ironically I just had the epiphany that Anderson’s latest “Moonrise Kingdom’ is currently my favorite film of 2012.  It also made me realize how burnt out I am on comic book movies and superhero cinema in general. I’m tired of the CGI overkill, the origin stories, the inevitable set-up for the sequel.  I long for those quiet summer days of childhood where you could just explore your town, your cottage, that island getaway, and find something truly magical.

10. Drunken Butterfly – Sonic Youth

Ah, Sonic Youth.  I think they were my favorite band through 1992, and I couldn’t wait for ‘Dirty’ to come put already.  I saw them at the Concert Hall in Toronto that November, and my ears rang for days afterward.  It was my soundtrack through that summer and autumn when I trekked off to university to begin the next phase of my life; a phase of life that feels like it’s ending only now.  Maybe not ending, but heading in a new direction. FUnny thing is at least to my ears, this song feels as fresh now as it did when I first heard it 20 years ago.  And then I realize it’s been 20 years, and I wonder where the time went.  It’s all gone by so fast I worry the next 20 will accelerate even more.  At least I’ll still have the music.

And that’s that. If you chose to do the same as I did, hit shuffle, and write about what comes up, I’d be curious to read what you say, either here or on Facebook.

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About Brad

I'm the author of MAGICIANS IMPOSSIBLE, writer and creator of MIXTAPE, the screenwriter of STONEHENGE APOCALYPSE, ROBOCOP PRIME DIRECTIVES, and FRESH MEAT. My television work includes THE CANADA CREW, NOW YOU KNOW, and I LOVE MUMMY.

2 thoughts on “God Shuffled His iPod

  1. 1) R U Mine?- Arctic Monkeys
    A new single from the british band, the song makes me think about two really good friends of mine, they played the song for me when it came out and I instantly loved it. It makes me think about the music video for the song which is also really cool, I love the vibe the song has, very cool rock song.

    2) Hey You- Pink Floyd
    A great song that I now realize I don’t listen to a lot, I took the album from my older sister, the guitar solo reminds me of how much Gilmour is a great guitar player. The song makes me think about how I should listen to more Pink Floyd.

    3) Oh Darling – The Beatles
    Makes me think about my dad who is a big beatles fan, another song i don’t listen to very often.

    4) Flow – Cage the Elephant
    One of my favorites from a disappointing album i really looked forward to, I they tried hard to sound like an Indie band and cool, it felt like they try to jump on a trend instead of writing with their own style. The album is called “Thank You Happy Birthday”, the album came out on my then ex girlfriend’s birthday, 11/1/1, we dated for a few months and broke up, while we were apart the album came out and 10 days later we got back together and were together until February, it was a great relationship for both of us and even though it ended, I’m really happy it happened.
    what I really like about the song is that it has a hidden track on it, an acoustic version of “Right Before My Eyes” witch is probably the best song on this album.

    5) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Useless I.D
    A cool song from the Israeli punk rock band, it’s off their new album Symptoms which i actually listened to a lot after me and my girlfriend broke up and i was still a bit mad and sad about the whole situation, a great break up album.

    6) Orion by Metallica
    The instrumental from Master of Puppets, my favorite Metallica album, the song is really special because it was written by their late bass player cliff burton who died in a horrible bus accident while they were on tour in Europe.
    He was an amazing musician, I also read somewhere it was played in his funeral which sounds metal as fuck. My favorite part is the bass interlude that starts around minute 4:00, followed by a really moving guitar solo. The second bass solo around the 6:30 mintues mark is also really cool and melodic.

    7) Sleeping Under the Stars – Pain of Salvation
    A really weird song by the swedish progressive band of their Road Salt part 1, a concept album that came out in 2010. reminds me of the summer of 2010 when it came out. I really like song because of it’s weird folky, messy, polka vibe with wierd parts. The song makes you feel a bit like you are in a carnival or a wicked circus and the lyrics are really cool.

    8) Her Majesty – The Beatles
    A 38 second song… not much to say…

    9) Your Saviour – Temple of the Dog
    An awesome rock song from Temple of the Dog, an album by members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, the melodic “hey hey hey” part that Chris Cornell sings is really awesome. I think the entire album is really special because they wrote it in honor of their friend Andrew Wood who died because of drug abuse. Great guitar solo by Mike McCready in the end!

    10) Not All Who Wander Are Lost – Devildriver
    A great metal song, I listen to only one album by this band (The Last Kind Words) but this song is a killer, really amazing drumming performance, I recently saw them live in Rock Im Park festival in germany, the song reminds me of the festival which was one of the best experiences of my life, it also reminds me of my friend who I used to be in a band with who introduce me to the band and shared a tent with me in the festival, a great friend and a great drummer.
    The guitar solos are really cool on this song, melodic and tastefully technical, the guitar players for this band didn’t mindlessly shred this one.

  2. Nice list, Dror. Am a big Temple of the Dog fan also — my “Pearl Jam” itunes 35-track mix kicks off with HUNGER STRIKE. I was actually surprised no Beatles showed up in the shuffle as I have every pretty much album they recorded loaded up.

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