Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hey, Music Fiends! Who Exactly Is iPodable?

This afternoon I am facing a horrific dilemma that is literally tearing at the very fabric of my being:

Is Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down iPodable?


First, I must explain a few things.

1. I think the 10,000 years of human civilization--all the wars and plagues, rapine and repression--were suffered all in the name of giving us the iPod. In fact, if technology and civilization just stopped right here, I would be more than happy. Any device that can put tens of thousands of songs on a little, portable device is well worth it. And I thank all my forebears for the sacrifices they've made in order to make the iPod possible.

2. As you may or may not know, I used to be a music critic--and before that, I was most definitely a music fiend. I had more music than you could shake a stick at before my wife solidified our marriage by buying me an iPod for Christmas a few years back. And it has only gotten worse since.

There were already some painful decisions I had to make with what would be included and excluded from my little godsend. But now, I get migraines just thinking about it. Yes, someone may or may not have discovered Bit Torrent. Also, I work with four fledgling hip-hop producers, and, whenever I ask, "What are you listening to?" they have their thumb drives at the ready--plopping gigs of music at a time at my adoring feet. My little brother's also a fledgling music fiend and is ready to provide the tunes. And one of my biggest music f(r)iends finally gave into the Digital Revolution, got his iPod, and appears with his own thumb drive.

It's gotten to the point where I might need folks to slow down a bit. I need time to digest all this musical loving. I need time to digest. Time for it all to mean something. But before I do that and take the time out to judge what I like and what I don't, it all has to go onto iTunes and then the iPod itself.

(Digression!!! I know this confession may stretch the bounds of "fair use." However, before all you songwriters get all in a twist about it, I want you to know that I do sympathize and do try to buy the CDs--yes, I still buy those--of stuff I do like and discard the rest. And, to be honest, if it weren't for these music swaps, I wouldn't have heard of most of your stuff and would never have gone out of my way to buy it. When was the last time you were at a CD store? Face it, this is one of the only ways people are getting exposed to music anymore. After all, commercial radio's a friggin' joke. Sorry. You've just got to pray that people have the decency to buy the stuff they like.)

3. While I used to be a music critic, I gotta tell ya, I was never much of a rock fan until recently. (Oh yeah, I went over that in my 15 Albums That Changed My Life.) I'm still a hip-hop fan but much less so than before. I still think there's a lot of good rap out there--you've gotta search way too hard, but it's there. However, with Poohbutt starting to repeat way too many words, I've been cutting down on my "bitches" and "hos", of late. Rock has done an admirable job in (not quite) filling the gap, but I'm finding I like a lot of it.

This is where Thao comes in. I've been listening to We Brave Bee Stings and All since it became last spring's sensation. And I've been liking it. Ever since Kate Bush, I've had a soft spot in my heart for the quirky, female singer. She fits nicely into that mode. However, she does not quite fit into what I like in my iPod.

See, I pretty much only listen to God's Gift to Humanity when I'm traveling. It basically saved my life during the My Booty Novel tour. But it also makes the commute a whole heck of a lot less painful. And I love it when I can just pop in those ear buds and gracefully ignore the person next to me on the train or airplane who has made it their mission to ruin my life by endlessly prattling about their lives to me. Remember when a book used to do the trick?

And, as my traveling companion, I usually like to listen to "up" music that I can bop, dance, or sing to. Sure, Luther will always have a few hundred megabytes reserved for him, but I usually just like to act a fool, stay awake, and/or sing my heart out (in private, of course) when listening to my iPod.

So, you'll find a lot of hip-hop and funk on my Pod. There has been a bit of rock added. I used to like house, but you can't really sing along to a lot of that. There are a lot of funk/world hybrid acts on it. And, when I come across some rock that I like, it'll go on--with a strictly-enforced ban on hair bands.

Thao is cool. I really like her. Her voice is weird enough to keep me interested, but I can't quite figure out if she's too mellow or not. Maybe I just need another iPod. Or better yet, one for every occasion. A Chill iPod. A Lose-Your-Fucking-Mind iPod when I need to do a therapeutic, Munchian scream. A Poohbutt-Friendly iPod. Then a Poohbutt-Only iPod.

Yeah, I like that.

But, in the meantime, any help from any other music fiends would be greatly appreciated.




1 comment:

RonStrelecki said...

Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down are definitely a definitive band of the last few years. I will always be able to pin down the tail of the Bush era in time by listening to Bag of Hammers. Thao does something that is very rare for me... she sings in a current style that I hate (the little girl, intentional lisping whisper-sing, slurred word ends, ugh! Die and go to HELL, Regina Spektor and Scout Niblett, for starting this trend!) but I love it when she does it. Have you heard Bowerbirds? Just throwing that at you from left field. Your music posts are the best, I always chase down whatever you recommend.