Music, Moods, Discovery, and More

music-moodsLadies, let’s have a rare discussion:  which music is your favorite? How important is music in your life — how do you find new music, and when is the primary time you listen to music? Do you like to listen to music while you work, or is it reserved for other times in your day? 

A while ago on a plane I found myself writing a long draft post for Corporette about music — specifically, my favorite songs over the years. It’s a pretty navel-gazing post, so I figured, hey, I’ll save it for my birthday, unless I really get desperate for a post idea.  Today IS January 28 — so you’ll find that list below.

To answer my own questions above, though — music has always been important in my life, particularly for my moods, either to lift me out of them or give me that “you’re not alone” feeling.  For example, I vividly remember being about 15 and having a huge fight with my parents, retreating to my room, and blasting Talking Head’s “Road to Nowhere” on repeat — because it just felt so good to hear David Byrne wail “baby it’s alllll riiiiiight.” For some reason Leonard Cohen’s song “Everybody Knows” was the soundtrack to my first semester of law school — on repeat, full volume in headphones. (Not dark at all, right?) I’ve also mentioned before on this blog about how during some unpleasant times at my law firm where I had to work with unpleasant personalities (yay for screamers!), I had Whitney Houston’s “It’s Not Right (But It’s Ok)” as my wake-up song — every day, for months.

In terms of new music, finding new music for me is challenging. I use the Shazam app a lot when we’re watching television, or else my brother passes along a lot of his music.  If I’m doing dinner prep I’ll use the Amazon Echo to put Pandora or one of my iTunes playlists on.  I’ve had to winnow down some of my playlists to stuff I feel comfortable with the kids hearing (I don’t exactly want to explain PJ Harvey’s “30” or Marianne Faithfull’s “Love in the Afternoon” to my eldest). That said, though, I’ve started listening to podcasts instead of music during walks or workouts with weights. So I kind of miss music, and would love to hear your ideas about how you incorporate it into your lives!  Anyway, some of my favorite songs (links either go to YouTube or Amazon):

  • Songs for energy: Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco, “Suffragette City” by (David Bowie) (RIP). “Rock Me Amadeus” is like my good luck penny or something — it’s silly but I just can’t help myself. Every time it comes on my playlist I smile. “Suffragette City” is up there too — if I’m out on a run and the song comes on, the part where he gets wound up in the middle (“…wham bam thank you ma’am!”) gets me every time. (Incidentally, if you were as big a fan as I was of Bowie in Labyrinth, you must check out this Honest Trailer.) I’ll add Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us.”
  • Songs for love:Girl Like You” by Edwyn Collins, My Moon My Man” by Feist. First: “Girl Like You” (from the Empire Records soundtrack, which I think I discovered through Napster). I remember listening to this song so, so much while I was in serious Must-Date-Now mode and hoping so hard that I would find someone who felt this way about me. Second: “My Moon My Man,” which I first heard around the time I started dating my husband. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed by the relationship — he was so sure, which was reassuring but also a bit… overwhelming — and I really connected with her words “take it slow, take it easy on me… shed some light, shed some light on me, please.” OK, two more: Ani Difranco’s “Circle of Light” and Laurie Anderson’s “Beautiful Red Dress” — love the lyric “I’ve got a beautiful red dress… and you’d look really good standing beside it.” (When I was dating I had what I called a “toots” playlist too — as in, “tell yourself whatever you need to to get over it, toots,” with songs like Elvis Costello’s “I’m Not Angry,” or Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.”)
  • Songs for kiddos: Girl with One Eye” by Florence + the Machine. You probably were not expecting that one, at least not for this category, considering it’s kind of a song about murder and mayhem. But: when I was pregnant with Jack I heard that I was supposed to sing to my baby. I figured I had years ahead of me for “Wheels on the Bus” type stuff, so I found a bunch of stuff in my iPod that was in my key that I could/wanted to sing. “Girl with One Eye” is not exactly in my wheelhouse, at least not in its entirety (her range is amazing!) but I had such fun singing along that I sang along ALL. THE. TIME with Jack in my belly. (I also would recite e.e. cumming’s “anyone lived in a pretty how town” at random intervals, because I didn’t know how to “talk” to my baby, and had memorized the poem in college for a class.) Other songs: For some reason I don’t remember singing that much to Jack that much once he was out, but I sang a ton to Harry when he was first born — loudly and off key. Our songs: “We Three Kings” (which is one of the longest songs I know all the lyrics to — all five verses, baby!), I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, and Skeletons In My Closet,” a super random song from a video game I played sometime in the ’90s (The 7th Guest). The first time Harry heard “We Three Kings” on the radio he looked at me with wonder. (I guess he was around 6 or 7 months old then.)
  • Songs for adventure: Rhythm of the Heat” by Peter Gabriel. This is an ollllld favorite, and there are lots of better Gabriel songs I could list here (and I know most of his canon, including his Genesis stuff). Still: this song came to me from a beloved teacher when I was 13 and really in need of something… broader than my existence. At the time I was listening to a lot of Guns N’ Roses and other lite metal, and feeling trapped and angry in my suburban life… It was the oddest song I’d ever heard, and opened the door in my mind to explore other types of music. I went down the art rock path — Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson — and loved it all, and that in turn opened wider artistic doors. I feel like I owe a lot of my life to the Rhythm of the Heat. (And the movie Joe Versus the Volcano, but hey, that’s a different list.)
  • Songs that speak to my loyalty/traditionalism: the album We Wish You a Merry Christmas” by Ray Conniff and The Ray Conniff Singers (huh, available for Prime streaming!). It isn’t Christmas unless this CD is on. Not as in, “on the playlist,” but as in, it IS the playlist.
  • The prettiest songs I’ve ever heard: This is a mixed bag — “Shame” by PJ Harvey, “Small Song” by Lhasa De Sela, and “Flyg Vilda Fågel” by Lisa Ekdahl. OK, FINE, and if I’m letting my dork flag fly I’ll include Enya’s “Caribbean Blue.” “Shame” I associate with law school — a relationship didn’t work out and I took solace that PJ Harvey, who obviously was/is awesome, had at some point been in similar shoes. “Small Song”… so, so beautiful, and such a wonderful thing to remember as we go through life. (RIP Lhasa.) “Flyg Vilda Fågel” is, I think, is what happiness sounds like. (I have no idea what the lyrics actually say, and don’t really want to know.) And, hey, Enya. I’d also add The Civil Wars’s “If I Didn’t Know Better” to the list (I actually do prefer the Nashville cast version, which I think is what you hear in the YouTube link.)
  • Songs for girl power: Invincible” by Pat Benatar. Another oldie on my list. I was probably 11 or 12 when, one night, my mother and I happened on the very silly movie this song was written for, The Legend of Billie Jean, and I stayed up late watching it so we could see who sang that song they kept playing.  (Funnily enough this is one of my son’s favorite songs at the moment — let’s set aside the wisdom of teaching lyrics like “we’re gonna scream until we’re satisfied” to an unruly 4.5 year old.) Newer and trendier, but I would add Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” to this list. Also, I always feel empowered when I listen to these songs, although I suppose it’s debatable whether the songs themselves are empowering: “Crucify” by Tori Amos… “Like a Prayer” by Madonna… and “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. Ok, I’ll add “Hope You’re Happy Now” by The Sounds.  (Along these lines, Marie Forleo shared a similar empowering song for her in a recent post that I’m also enjoying…)
  • Songs for the introvert: Time” by Pink Floyd. Whenever I throw a party and make a playlist, I try my best to have the music create an energy in the room. In my youth, “Time” would usually close a 7- or 8-hour party playlist. Alarm clocks, wake up! Dark thoughts of your own mortality and how little you’ve accomplished! The party’s over! You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. I remember one party I threw with a friend and, at 3 or 4 in the morning, we sat slumped on the floor talking with one of her friends, whose name, I think, was George. (This happened to be a Beaujolais tasting party, and I’d probably had a zillion glasses.) The song came on the playlist and I just remember thinking, “DUDE, who are you and why are you still here?”
  • Cheesy songs I’ve listened to far too long: Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65, “Around the World by Daft Punk, “Be My Lover” by La Bouche, and “Land Down Under” by Men at Work. I suppose “Rock Me Amadeus” fits in here also. I don’t know why — these are all mainstays on my running/workout lists.
  • Songs to Wake Up To: I love having a good wake up song, and will get into a rut where my iPhone makes me up to the same one every morning for months.  For a while it was Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman,” then I switched to the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll,” and these days it’s “Blind” by Hercules and Love Affair.  I have a whole “Get Up” playlist in iTunes for mornings or times that aren’t so rushed; before kids my husband and I would listen to stuff like this before we went to parties.
  • (mentioned above): Songs to play on repeat: Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen,”Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads, “It’s Not Right (But It’s OK)” by Whitney Houston. (I particularly like one of the dancier mixes, but the original song is good too!) Sometimes in my life (I guess “Girl with One Eye” fits in this category too), for whatever reason, I just need to listen to a song on repeat… like, a lot. “Everybody Knows” was my law school song, particularly first year, first semester. I would take study breaks and blare it through headphones, laying flat on the floor of my dorm room. “Road to Nowhere” was from earlier, in high school — as I was finishing high school I just loved the line, “they can tell you what to do but they’ll make a fool of you, and it’s all right, baby, it’s all riiiiight!” And finally: “It’s Not Right (But It’s OK)”, which I’ve mentioned on this blog before. I think of this as my BigLaw song — I went through a period of about 4 months or so where it was my alarm clock song when I went through a rough patch at work with an un-fun case staffed with un-fun people.
  • Entire Albums I Love Listening To: PJ Harvey’s To Bring You My Love.  Talking Heads’ Speaking in Tongues. Peter Gabriel’s Security.

I could go all day with different little categories, but I’ll stop there.

In other random music news — I subscribe to iTunes Match so I don’t have to worry about storage space on my phone and iPad.  Almost everything is organized by self-made genres which I use to create Smart playlists, usually for mood.  The “genre” listing on iTunes will often look like “get up / workout / introspective / angry,” meaning the song will end up on those four playlists.

Ladies, what are some of your favorite songs and musicians?  (I think I started this list as a “top 10 songs” and then wound up grouping from there.) How do you discover new music; which old music still has meaning to you? 

 

Comments

  1. I love music! I mainly listen to country and classic rock, and I have it on pretty much all day at work (except when I’m on the phone or meeting with someone, obviously). I probably go to about 6-8 concerts per year.

    Energy: Anything Bon Jovi!
    Love: I’d Love You All Over Again by Alan Jackson, The Dance by Garth Brooks, Like a Wrecking Ball by Eric Church
    Girl Power: Carrie Underwood or Miranda Lambert
    Cheesy: Def Leppard, Journey, or Foreigner
    Wake Up To: My alarm is currently on Toby Keith’s Get Drunk and Be Somebody
    Entire Albums: Usually I shuffle.

    • Energy: 80s rock/pop (like Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, Cyndi Lauper, early Madonna), or whatever’s on Z100
      Love: Dave Matthews Band
      Girl Power: I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor and Respect by Aretha
      Cheesy/Guilty Pleasure: Backstreet Boys, NSYNC!, Creed, Nickelback
      For When I need to Concentrate / Listen to an Album:
      Oasis “What’s the Story Morning Glory?”
      Beck “Morning Phase” (SO GOOD, Kanye!) and “Sea Change”
      Coldplay “X&Y”
      Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon”
      All of the Beatles albums
      U2 “Joshua Tree”
      Anything grunge, like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, STP, Collective Soul or modern alternative: Incubus, Interpol, Jimmy Eat World, Green Day

  2. Amelia Earhart :

    I love music and it has gotten me through my dad dying, being homesick in Europe, and bad days at work. I listen to a little bit of everything but mostly alt rock and country I would say. My running playlist is a lot of Editors, Biffy Clyro, Example and… Taylor Swift’s 1989. I love going to concerts and it’s not uncommon to travel to NYC, PA, and Toronto to see a gig.

  3. Anonymous :

    Spotify is the best. Their Viral Top 50 is the best way to find new songs, and honestly, I was spending so much money on iTunes to buy songs that I love for a week, and then I’m over them, so Spotify is perfect for me.

    My music tastes are a little eclectic, I like indie electronica/lounge, and current pop music.

    • Yay Kat! What a coincidence! I also love my favorite as an attorney the song, “I WILL SURVIVE” by Gloria Gaynor, and “SHAKE IT OFF” by Taylor Swift! [Kat, Rosa look’s like Taylor (cute), but that is another story for another day.] We have SO much in common, including taste in clotheing, we could be twin’s! With all of the stuff I have been thru, in my PERSONAL life as well as my WORK life, I realy do sing the song I will survive. Dad says it should be my MANTRA, b/c I do survive in this male dominated workeing world where we are subjugated to men who control the law and the court’s. FOOEY on men like that! DOUBEL FOOEY!

      I think it is WONDERFUL that we have a new FEMALE chief judge of the Court of Appeal’s–Janet DeFiori. She was a DA and a family court judge, so she know’s what is goeing on. I am hopeing that when I am in my 50’s, I will ALSO be a judge, hopefuly an Appeal’s court judge, b/c I love to give my opinion if the judge is right or not. YAY!!!!

  4. “It’s Not Right (But It’s OK)” by Whitney Houston

    No one I know has every mentioned this song before, but I think it’s awesome. It was one of the first songs I saw on VH1 when I got my own place (and back when music TV stations still played videos).

    I have the CD single of it still.

    • Anonymous :

      Of all the songs mentioned above, that song by Whitney is the only one I recognize. I still remember buying the album, I think it’s the one where she is seated, wearing a navy blue sweater dress. I can hear a song and it will take me back to a certain time and place. I still buy CDs and recently I started listening to Spotify. The only genre of music I dislike is heavy metal, most other stuff I will listen to. Recently I spent an evening listening to country (which is rare for me) and the lyrics to some of the songs have so much meaning, so different to some of the pop music out today.

      • The Higher the Hair, the Closer to God :

        I may be older than most people here, but I just adore heavy metal. I grew up in NJ and was a teen in the 1980s and it just takes me back to what was a wonderful time.

        I didn’t think I’d ever love country, but I played violin enough to get into it from that angle. I had a heartbreak once where Loretta Lynn and Hayseed Dixie were playing in my current city on the same night.

        • Anonymous :

          Fellow metalhead here! I grew up on hair metal, fell in love with grunge, rocked through the 90s with alt metal, and I’m growing old on nu metal.

        • Love your handle! (When we were first dating, my now-DH made me a mix CD entitled “Hair Metal Ballads.”)

      • Contemporary country has more than its share of bros-and-beers-and-trucks bangers, but I swear to God, there is nothing better in the world than a really good country song. I grew up listening to Dolly Parton, Reba McIntire, Tim McGraw, and the Dixie Chicks, then went off it for a pretty long time because it was “uncool” (although in that time frame I did get into a text message fight with a friend who sent our group a link to Miley Cyrus’s version of Jolene, raving that it was “the best song ever” and she couldn’t stand that old twangy version, vomit). I’ve rediscovered my love for country in the last few years, though: I can listen to Kacey Musgraves or Chris Stapleton or the mainstream artists’ more thoughtful offerings all. day. long. and never get sick of them.

        • Anonymous :

          YES — I grew up watching Dolly on TV. I didn’t see 9-to-5 until I was a grownup and OMG I love her. And Loretta.

        • Amelia Earhart :

          Love love love Kacey!

        • Love Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgrave’s! Check out Sturgill Simpson, esp. if you can hear him live. (I like his recordings but love his live shows). Also — older Drive-By Truckers albums!

  5. anonforthis :

    TJ/VENT: Brand-new big law associate. Turned in a drafting assignment with lots of questions, and the partner said to me, “I don’t know what you’re going through because writing contracts came naturally to me, but you need to get better and you need to get better fast. Maybe you should consider another career.” Then proceeded to hand me the draft, which answered none of my questions, and became angry when I tried to ask him why he wrote certain notations. This was my first real legal assignment.

    • What a schmoe! FOOEY on male partner’s like this. This is exactley what I am talkeing about. Men can be such pig’s. Do NOT let this schmoe get you down. I knew a guy who once had a teacher who said he could NOT write. But that same guy wound up writeing 2 book’s! Can you believe how dumm that teacher was? Do NOT let him subjugate you. You have the power of the HIVE behind you. YAY!!!!

    • Sorry. That partner is a troll. Don’t be dissuaded. Keep going, you don’t suck, and he had to learn to draft too. And whatever his contracting skills may be, his people skills need to get better.

    • Anonymous :

      Not in BigLaw, but an extremely senior executive in my government agency said recently that long term there is no point in being great at your job if people don’t want to work with you. You should be the person people want on their team.

    • CorporateInCarhartt :

      Do you have a senior associate you can go to for advice and/or vetting? Or some resources to read on drafting? It’s nearly impossible to draft in a vacuum when you’re a first year associate, and it sounds like this jerk won’t be any help. Sometimes talking to the senior associate who works with a partner can be helpful, or just any senior associate who is willing to take some time to help you learn. I’m in the position now where I am mentoring and teaching junior associates; it’s time consuming, but ultimately I want them to be good so that I can rely on them. Good luck, and if nothing else, hopefully you’ll find some better partners to work for!

      • The only other associate in my group is up for partner this year (so I’m not super comfortable wasting his time) but he is the nicest person in the world, so I asked him for advise and he said something to the effect of, “Ya, I’ve never received a good review from any of them the entire time I’ve been here, I’m sorry you’re in the worst group ever and you should leave ASAP.” Seriously. His MO has been avoiding work at all costs from 3 out of the 4 partners in the group for the past however many years and getting work from other offices.

        • Hi, I used to work for a guy like that in a midsized firm in NYC. 3 years and it never got better. Landing a biglaw gig in a practice group with great partners and coworkers.

        • CorporateInCarhartt :

          That’s incredibly toxic. Sounds like things probably won’t improve. If you’re driven for success, like you said above, you’ll find your place, wherever it is. Good luck and try not to let it get under your skin until you can find a better place.

        • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

          Just noticed you replied. You may need to tough it out for a bit, and then lateral to somewhere with a better culture. Figuring that out is hard, but will be easier in a few years once you become more familiar with other firms.

        • Anonymous :

          Do you have access to similarly drafted documents that you could use as a template? If they have been filed with the court, or signed, you have some comparable style information without the blow-back.

    • Story time!

      I did an assignment for a litigation partner at my old firm maybe 3 weeks after I started working there. I had always known I didn’t intend to litigate and so in law school and during my summer associateship (which was at a different firm in a different city), I’d focused entirely on transactional work. Well, my firm required first-years to take any assignment that they were given from an assignment pool, so I ended up with a litigation project that I (apparently) did a poor job on. He explained it terribly (I learned later that he was notorious for this) and I didn’t know enough about litigation to know what was missing from the explanation, and then when I turned it in, he basically asked where the h*ll the firm got me because this wasn’t the caliber of work they expected from associates and maybe I wasn’t a good fit.

      I never spoke to him again, and I remember him with an enormous amount of dislike to this day – to the point that I absolutely would never refer a matter to him or recommend him to anyone. Why? Because you give feedback to a new associate to help them improve, not to break them down. The latter is bullying, and I have no patience for it. I think about that douchecanoe every time I have to give bad feedback to an associate, to make sure that my head is in the right place and the feedback that I give is positively directed.

      (Btw, flash forward eight years, and I’m a partner – in a Biglaw transactional practice – at a much larger, more highly regarded national law firm. Every time I see him as a “someone you might know” on LinkedIn, I think to myself…see who’s not up to your caliber now, sucker. )

    • Story time!

      I did an assignment for a litigation partner at my old firm maybe 3 weeks after I started working there. I had always known I didn’t intend to litigate and so in law school and during my summer associateship (which was at a different firm in a different city), I’d focused entirely on transactional work. Well, my firm required first-years to take any assignment that they were given from an assignment pool, so I ended up with a litigation project that I (apparently) did a poor job on. He explained it terribly (I learned later that he was notorious for this) and I didn’t know enough about litigation to know what was missing from the explanation, and then when I turned it in, he basically asked where the h*ll the firm got me because this wasn’t the caliber of work they expected from associates and maybe I wasn’t a good fit.

      I never spoke to him again, and I remember him with an enormous amount of dislike to this day – to the point that I absolutely would never refer a matter to him or recommend him to anyone. Why? Because you give feedback to a new associate to help them improve, not to break them down. The latter is bullying, and I have no patience for it. I think about that jerk every time I have to give bad feedback to an associate, to make sure that my head is in the right place and the feedback that I give is positively directed.

      (Btw, flash forward eight years, and I’m a partner – in a Biglaw transactional practice – at a much larger, more highly regarded national law firm. Every time I see him as a “someone you might know” on LinkedIn, I think to myself…see who’s not up to your caliber now, sucker. )

      • Ha! I love your “btw.” I’ll add that I had a very similar experience and it caused mew to have a crisis of confidence as to whether I should even be an attorney. I now report directly to the GC of our large company, and I’m in charge of our outside relationships, and I will never refer matters to that partner.

        • Thank you for this. Definitely having a crisis of confidence on the same front so I appreciate BOTH these stories so, so much.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      What a jerkface, and what a terrible way to treat a junior associate who is actually trying. Can you work with other partners instead?

  6. Meg March :

    I always say I don’t like music. Which isn’t to say I dislike music, but honestly, all music sounds pretty much the same to me. I don’t see the purpose of going to concerts– you already can listen to the songs. I never understand when people describe a song/album using words like revelatory or inspirational, but it fascinates me, since it hints at a whole world/way of listening to music that I can’t tap into. I have no beat/rhythm, which may play a role.

    To me, music is background noise, and I’d pretty much be okay if it didn’t exist– I only ever turn it on myself to drown something else out. The only request I ever make of my SO (who loves music) is “play something I can sing along to,” which is pretty broad. I use Pandora for this– I have what has essentially become a “Top 40 pop songs of 2008-2011” station (which I describe as “songs I’ve taken shots to”) for working out, and a “new Women of Country” station (lots of Miranda, Taylor, Carrie, and Kacey Musgraves) for non-elevated heartrate times.

    • Anonymous :

      Wow, what a different view point. For me going to a concert means getting to hear an artist live, for those with really great voices it’s better than a CD. Also some concerts are more than just singing, it’s an entire production. Music that I consider inspirational really depends on the words (and beat/rhythm) and the kind of mood they evoke. Interestingly enough when I watch movies I rarely notice the soundtrack, it’s just background noise to me. But I know someone who actually makes note of movie soundtracks and will seek out the albums of those he likes. This reminds me that there is a book called “Musicophilia” by Oliver Sacks on music and the human brain.

    • Anonymous :

      I love music, especially country, but I’ll listen to pretty much anything. I listen to music while working, love dancing to music at parties, and listen to sad/emotional songs when I’m upset. But I don’t generally see the purpose of concerts either. I’m tone deaf too and can’t really tell any difference between live music and CD so maybe that’s why.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve always gone to Episcopal churches with great music programs. I like old music (some of the songs in the hymnal are so old that they are originally Catholic), reading sheet music (which is still like a second language to me), playing music, and listening to music. I don’t think of myself as that musical, but as someone who can find it intellectually engaging and emotionally moving (or good for workouts — I have a bunch of things just based on high-enough beats-per-minute).

      Some music is annoying (overly-produced pop songs), but it’s such a plus in my life.

      • Ha, I (and my mother before me) have always chosen my churches based on their music programs. To the point that I overlooked denomination because the local Baptist church had an awesome choir and an orchestra, and apparently there weren’t enough United Methodists in the part of Georgia where I lived to have more than an organist and occasional soloists. I adore sacred music and hymns.

    • This is interesting to me, too! I have no musical talent (dad and sister are way talented), but I looooooooooooove music. It moves me so much and I form powerful emotional associations with songs/bands. Sometimes I’ll hear a new song that hits me just right, and I can’t get enough of it, and it will be added to my mental library forever. Going to concerts is awesome because it feels like you’re totally immersed and enveloped in songs that you love.

      Trying to think about what things don’t move me at all….. Sports. :D

    • I kind of agree about concerts — I’ve been disappointed more than I’ve been delighted to see an artist in concert because the studio version is so important to me. For our wedding I definitely did NOT want a live band because I didn’t want to hear lousy covers of my favorite songs — and I didn’t trust a DJ to play my stuff. (I had just been to a wedding where the DJ played “Golddigger” and I was SOOOOO offended by that on behalf of my friend the bride.) So we happily iPod’ed the wedding.

      • Music is *extremely* important to my now-husbnd and to me (I’m a classical choral singer), so we prioritized wedding spending on a fantastic jazz trio (for cocktails), pianist (during dinner) and 11-piece big band that played amazing versions of every piece we asked for and nothing we didn’t. Music is so intimately threaded through every fiber of my life that reading some of these responses is surreal….

        • I feel the same way about music Amy. I remarried last year after 5 years of widowhood and my new hubby has got me listening to jazz. I’ve been to a few concerts and jazz clubs and I am enjoying more than I ever thought I would. I’ve always loved classical music (Bach and Mozart especially) and pop/rock that I grew up with.

    • Same! People look at me like I have two heads when I tell them I’m mostly indifferent to music. I find it very distracting to have music on if I am trying to focus on something.

    • I’m the same way. I don’t dislike music, and I’ll listen to it when I’m driving or running, but otherwise it never occurs to me to turn it on and even then I’ll often switch over to a podcast. When I say “I love this song!” 99% of the time it means I appreciate the message of the lyrics, because the music part doesn’t really do anything for me. I can’t stand concerts (I get so bored), clubs/dancing, or events/venues that insist on playing music a bit too loudly in the background to let people talk at a comfortable volume.

    • Anonymous :

      I love concerts. I hit about 15 each of the last 2 years. For me its about connecting with the artist, hearing stories behind the songs at certain shows, hearing my favorite artists cover my favorite songs by other bands that they love too, watching artists get choked up singing their own songs, releasing energy with the music, watching the whole crowd lose their minds and sing along, watching the artist feed off the crowd. Its an entire experience. It also depends on what kind of shows you go to. I’m all rock/metal so it’s a certain atmosphere.

  7. Great post! Thanks, Kat

  8. Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but if not, happy birthday, Kat! Thanks for creating this space we love!

  9. This is interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered someone who didn’t like music. I have no musical talent, but several members of my family do and I definitely appreciate music. One takeaway I have from this post is that I’ll have to start thinking about kid appropriate music as my 14 month old begins to talk. I love Pandora. My husband and I have tons of stations. This year, we’ve begun to listen to more classical music in the evenings. I always made fun of my parents when I was a kid for listening to classical music but it is kind of nice. I have to have upbeat music in the car though or I’ll go nuts.

    • Anonymous :

      I love country, and my 7YO asked some very pointed questions about it once. Enunciation = bad. Most of my “explicit” rap CDs I still can’t tell where the bad parts are — it’s either slang I’m not getting or I just can’t understand it.

      • Anonymous :

        Country music is surprisingly sketch! I once went to a Toby Keith concert with a very Christian, very conservative boss (he had tickets to a concert series and asked me which one I wanted to see, and I picked Toby). Initially he was super on board because he’d heard about the Dixie Ch!cks thing and so I think he thought it would all be Patriotic, wholesome music, and he was absolutely HORRIFIED when he heard all the explicit stuff in the songs. I didn’t realize until that night how many Toby songs are about $ex or dr*gs, especially at his live shows.

        • Anonymous :

          IDK about sketch (but I am not up on my Toby Keith), but it is more real life than a lot of music. You know, for when Daddy has a girlfriend that Momma don’t like? I’m glad someone sings about that.

          And country music song titles are the best: My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend (and I Miss Him)

  10. Anonymous :

    My favorite artist by a mile is Joan Baez. Not many people in my generation (early 30s) have heard of her, but I grew up listening to her records (yes, actual records) with my grandfather (my grandparents were big pacifists and big fans of her music). Obviously there is sentimental attachment because her music makes me think of my long-deceased grandfather, but her music just really speaks to me. I love both the melodies and lyrics.
    Other than that, I listen to a lot of country (esp. like Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, George Strait, Josh Thompson), Taylor Swift and Adele.

    As far as concerts, I saw Joan Baez in concert about 8 years ago and it was absolutely incredible. She’s older and doesn’t tour the US much and I’ve listened to her music since I was probably five years old, so it was a dream come true to see her live and I basically cried tears of happiness through the whole concert. I don’t really feel much desire to go to concerts otherwise and certainly would never pay $300 for T. Swift or Adele tickets.

    • Oh, Joanie. LOVE her. “Farewell, Angelina,” her cover of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” basically all of “David’s Album”…all SO good. Although “Sweet Sir Galahad” is my all-time favorite. IMO, that song is literally perfect.

      (I went to school with the kids David Harris had with his post-JB wife, and he came to talk to us about draft resistance in the Vietnam War and it about KILLED me not to be like TELL ME EVERYTHING ABOUT JOAN BAEZ.)

      • Anonymous :

        Ahh so happy there are other younger fans :) I love Sweet Sir Galahad! One of my favorites. I never would have been able to resist asking David Harris about her!

  11. I also love the Nashville recording of If I Didn’t Know Better. The female vocals (I can’t remember the singer’s name) are incredible.

  12. I’m generally an indie rock person. My favorite album of this year by far was Sufjan Stevens’ “Carrie and Lowell.” I have probably listened to that album at leas 15 times beginning to end since it came out, and I saw him in concert where he played the whole thing – it was so incredible and emotional that it made me cry!

    I have a playlist I constantly add stuff to for working out that skews pop-ier. My latest additions to that list have been from Sia’s album 1000 Forms of Fear. I’ve also gotten into searching for mashups of songs on soundcloud – my favorite is a mix of Biggie’s “Mo Money Mo Problems” and “Midnight City” by M83.

  13. I listen to current music while driving and I use Spotify on my phone pretty much all day at work. I have various playlists – 80’s, 90’s, classic rock, current pop, current alternative, classical, movie soundtracks.

  14. My parents listened to everything around me – never censored – and I can’t even imagine not listening to a song in front of my kid now. FWIW, I never questioned the song lyrics but if I did, it would have just been an opportunity for a conversation, which is pretty much what happened with movies and books, which also didn’t get censored.

  15. KateMiddletown :

    I love this post! Thanks for something bright and happy, and happy birthday!

  16. Anonymous :

    Lose Yourself by Eminem was my studying for the bar anthem. I blared every morning to get me out of bed and to the library.

    • Any day that I go to trial, I have Lose Yourself on repeat, very loud in the car. I also like to throw what I think are gang signs with my hands.

  17. Anonymous Poser :

    +tons for that Edwyn Collins single! Trying not to go all Ellen caps and everything on you but that’s a song that’s stuck with me, too.
    Though, funnily enough, I never really….I never really related to it in the same way you did. Good song, though!

  18. Classical, hands down. I enjoy other genres, especially for working out or long road trips, but just don’t appreciate them the way I do classical music. I get excited about symphony concerts the way “normal” people my age (early 30s) get excited about seeing popular artists. However, I find dubstep surprisingly great for focusing and powering through work sometimes.

    • +1 re classical (not so much dubstep — ha). I will turn off the TV and put on SiriusXM Symphony Hall or one of my 100s of CDs (still have them) 9 times out of 10. Otherwise — blues, rock, southern rock, metal, country — love it. My favorite non-classical bands to see live in concert are Warren Haynes/Gov’t Mule, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Black Crowds (before they disbanded), the North Mississippi Allstars, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Robert Randolph, and the Word. Bands I most wish I’d seen — Allman Bros. and ZZ Top. Best big concerts — Dixie Chicks and Garth Brooks, hands down!

  19. Delta Dawn :

    I recently had my first baby, and I know I’m “supposed” to sing to him, but I didn’t know what to sing. I got sucked into an episode of The Voice where a contestant sang Delta Dawn, and I started singing that to the baby during diaper changes– and he loves it!

    I’m a daily reader but an almost-never commenter here, partly because I always felt like I needed a fun handle like the regulars. So, Delta Dawn it is.

    • Anonymous :

      Also have a new baby & have trouble singing songs… I just don’t remember the kids songs! We went to a library sing a long and it really helped me remember some of them. I also just sing whatever I would say sometimes- she seems to love that!

    • Another anonymous judge :

      This comment made my day already (7:12 am)

    • Another anonymous judge :

      See also Canadian singer Raffi for songs to sing to your baby. Love.

    • When my LO was a littler baby, my husband and I would sing The Ants Go Marching and just made up the lyrics to rhyme, which was kind of fun. It made us laugh at each other which you so need during those difficult first months.

    • Anonymous :

      My kids are a little older, and if you want to get into just singing songs that are easy to sing along to, I found Rise Up Singing as a book of songs grouped by themes that are quite singable, AND I found them because some guy put videos of all the songs as he sang them and provided guitar commentary – which is immensely helpful for me who has no musical background. This is a big project that has continued, and they have singalongs. The new songbook is Rise Again, and came out in 2015, and they are touring with some really fun people. We saw them with the kids in Philadelphia and will likely go see them in NOVA in March. I’ve been on a real kick to surround my kids with positive music, and found Melanie Demore and Betsy Rose for myself.

      I downloaded “No Matter Where You Are” from The Book of Life as a great song for family love.

  20. I love music! I’ve actually scheduled vacations around concerts in different cities. I lean towards alternative/rock and progressive/synth/industrial. My go to is always Depeche Mode. For new music I tend to listen to Radio X FM in the UK via the tunein app.

  21. This is interesting to think about! I come from a very musical family. My mom was a musical theater major, so I was seeing shows from a young age. I grew up in the 80’s so lots of Andrew Lloyd Webber, plus local theater productions. She also played the piano for Sunday School and would practice throughout the week. My dad is a huge rock music fan, was in garage bands as a teenager so he listened to lots of classic rock, plus (even still) keeps up with some of the newer artists. So between show tunes, classic rock, church music… the soundtrack to my childhood is quite varied! I also played the violin, so I got very familiar with classical music.

    I always listen to music as I work. My favorite is to stream a local radio station (a mix of local artists, folk, classic rock), but sometimes I’ll also put on Pandora if there is a particular genre I am in the mood for. My coworker and I were just talking about this the other day. He and I both love listening to music and can’t imagine working in total silence. (Thankfully, neither of us keeps the volume up too loud!) Maybe it’s like white noise to me? When I’m driving, I listen to our classic hip hop radio station. :)

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