Friday, June 10, 2005

CD Tag

Given the response to Book Tag, fecundmellow had the typically bright idea of doing a musical follow-up. Y'all know that at this rate, I'll be coming soon with Movie Tag, and then Garden Tool Tag, and then Small Particle Tag. But before we get to those...

Oh, and I should say: I am a completely boring person to talk to about music, because I am basically wedded to the same handful of artists over and over, even though they're spread around several genres. Very few new ideas, nothing outside the mainstream. Just beating you to the punch is all. So, OK:

1. Total Number of CDs/Albums I Own: With CDs and tapes together, almost exactly 500. Not counting mixes and stuff. Though it's awful of me to admit, I regret to this day having donated so many of my old tapes to the Salvation Army in high school, but I still have some pretty hilarious relics from my checkered musical past. Like, did y'all know that Jasmine Guy cut an album? There she is, right next to Appetite for Destruction. (Y'all know I alphabetize.)

2. Last Album I Bought: The Emancipation of Mimi, which might be the only CD I've bought all year. My DVD habit has pretty much slaked the CD and book purchases. I'm into Mimi; Mariah finally gets it that she's a Solid Gold girl, even though her voice is admittedly sounding a little thin. Still, "Say Something" and "Fly Like a Bird" totally work for me. (Speaking of G'n'R, though, my last iTunes purchase was "Don't Cry." A bit of unexplained nostalgia.)

3. Last Album I Listened To: Not counting the dissertation mix CD, I had Lisa Stansfield's Affection spinning recently. I've also been giving Lauryn's Unplugged double-header its fair shake, in anticipation of the forthcoming opus. Let it rip, Lauryn.

4. Currently Listening To: Totally c/o fecundmellow, Janet Jackson's Control has been in heavy rotation all day, giving dissertation chapter #2 that "Pleasure Principle" flavor. This album hasn't lost anything, though after a while, I had to substitute Design of a Decade 'cuz I needed to hear "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" and "Alright." And yes, I Cab Calloway'd around the apartment there for a minute.

5. Lyrics or Beats?: I'm going to have to say beats. At least, I tend to catch on to the music, and if that grabs me, I do like to settle into some lyrical awareness. And music that's just a beat, i.e., techno, tends to pluck my last nerve. But I'm still more likely to go for Kylie Minogue than Tom Waits, etc.

6. First Album You Fell in Love With: When all is said and done, probably Madonna's Like a Virgin. It was my third tape: my first, a gift from my mom, was Cyndi Lauper's She's So Unusual, and then the first one I bought for myself was Dionne Warwick's Friends. (I know, I know...) I was totally into those, but Like a Virgin just didn't stop. Side A, Side B, Side A, Side B, Side A, Side B... Dang, y'all, remember "Side B"?

7. Biggest Impact (tie): Stevie Nicks' Bella Donna sent me all through 9th grade. I think it was the first album I really glommed onto that wasn't contemporary to the moment I heard it. I wrote Stevie a letter, I loved her stuff so much. I got a nice, long response from her assistant, Ginny Kamano, with a brief P.S. from Stevie. Butterflies. These days, I probably prefer The Wild Heart, though, and Rock a Little is also great.

PJ Harvey's To Bring You My Love was the first album I ever bought on the strength of reviews alone, something I still don't do more than once every coupla years. I would come home from my all-day janitor job in August '96 and listen to it for hours. I was doing a whole PJ Harvey, Jeanette Winterson, Jane Campion, Sylvia Plath "Bring on the Fierce Women" thing that summer. Actually, I still am, though not so much with Winterson or Plath. Sub in Emily Dickinson, Gayl Jones, and Louise Gluck.

8. Favorite Album: Even though TBYML is unimprovable, my tippy-top favorite is probably 4-Track Demos. An artist who will show you her rough drafts, and who is putting 105% into those rough drafts, is my kinda gal. When the drafts are blowing the top off most of what actually circulates as finished material by the other riff-raff... shoot. PJ is demonstrably greater than the Beatles and at least the equal of Dylan. Done. Said. Don't even bother me.

9. Most Listened To: Probably the Eurythmics' Greatest Hits, which used to be the compulsory soundtrack whenever my Mom and I would drive anywhere, or else Salt 'n' Pepa's Very Necessary. "How many rules am I to break before you understand/ That your double standards don't mean shit to me?// I know exactly what you say/ When I turn and walk away/ But that's okay/ Cuz I don't let it get to me."

10. Sexiest Album: Toss it up: Al Green's Greatest Hits or The Very Best of Aretha Franklin: The 60's. If someone is going to call foul on hits compilations, then either Baduizm or, if we're feeling a little more lively, Neneh Cherry's Raw Like Sushi. (The remix of "Inna City Mamma" shoulda been the album version.)

11. Biggest Disappointment: I have kind of blind love for my favorite artists, so it's rare that I balk at any of their albums. Though Björk's last two, Vespertine and Medulla, haven't done anything for me. (My fave: Homogenic.) I get more disappointed when someone who seems classic-bound just slips into the ether. Like, where did Lisa Fischer go? So Intense was hot. Remember "How Can I Ease the Pain"? "The Last Goodbye"? That was a voice, but then she won a Grammy, wore amazing couture, got a hug from Patti LaBelle, sang the theme for the Whoopi movie, and [[poof]]. No Lisa. Please tell me she is not somewhere married to someone who prefers her not to work. (I'm gonna feel bad if it turns out Lisa Fischer died.)

Also disappointing: people who seem promising but then just trifle. Like Blu Cantrell and Macy Gray. They got me excited at first, and isolated tracks still rotate in the apartment (Blu: "Breathe," Macy: "Caligula"). But their albums are just, blehhh. And what was Blu thinking on that bonus DVD, with the Wendy Williams interview, asking about her pubic hair. Ab. Solutely. Not.

12. Five Albums That Mean the Most to You: In the interest of variety, I'm gonna ditch "the most," (PJPJPJPJPJ), and submit: 1) Da Real World, where Missy Elliott won me completely, esp. on "Dangerous Mouths," "Busa Rhymes," and "Stickin' Chickens"; 2) The Piano Soundtrack, and if you read this blog, you probably know why; 3) Live Through This, Hole's incredible '94 album, where almost every song is about dolls or milk, and they all work; 4) Mahalia Jackson Sings America's Favorite Hymns, since she is like this unstoppable force of nature; and 5) The Astrée recording of Monteverdi's Madrigali Guerrieri et Amorosi, with Montserrat Figueras, since even Nick's Flick Picks hits the classics now and then.

13. Tag! As Missy says, "Y'all know who y'all are," except in this case, I am asking you to bite the beat.


Blogger Dr. S said...

OK, I don't have the patience to work through another blogmeme number by number. But I will of course give it up for the Beastie Boys, whose '04 album was actually *not* a disappointment, though my hopes were up so high that they should probably, rightfully, have been dashed. For a certain kind of shit-talking, they're pretty fantastic; To the Five Boroughs is a good job market album. This spring I've alternated between dancey stuff that I'm picking up single by single from iTunes (the remix of Beck's "Ghettochip Malfunction"; the Gorillaz' iPod commercial song, aka "Feel Good Inc."; the Killers "Somebody Told Me"; a song or two from Sleater-Kinney's new album; some of the Bloc Party songs, though they as a whole turned out to disappoint me because my hopes were high; VHS or Beta's Night on Fire) and slower, more lovely stuff by tried and true women (occasionally groups): Joni Mitchell ("Sire of Sorrow" is amazing), Kate Bush ("This Woman's Work," ditto), Hem (a Brooklyn band including Steve the music PhD candidate from Cornell), Kathleen Edwards (check out "In State" and "Hockey Skates"). Martha Wainwright rocks my house sometimes, when I feel pissed off (check "BMFA"). But for really getting down and feeling smart about it, I turn to the Talking Heads, always. "Once in a Lifetime" was the first video I ever saw, back in 1981 or 1982, courtesy of Jenny Hjalmquist the babysitter, and I've been in love ever since, though I didn't realize how much until I got the two-disc set Sand in the Vaseline back in 1999. Bonus: a certain Cornell professor once told me that he and his wife rocked out to Remain in Light at grad school parties when it first came out. It's that transcendent.

8:18 AM, June 10, 2005  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Summer, everyone falls in love with Nick -- *everyone*. He's even greater in person.

10:43 AM, June 10, 2005  
Blogger Dr. S said...

OK, so this is funny (or sad; I don't speak bird, so I'm not sure):

As a result of muzik tag, I dug out the 2003 Mix that you made for me at Christmas in 2002, Nick, and I'm playing it on the stereo in my living room. Thing is, I'm taking care of my landlord's bird while he's in Puerto Rico for the month, and the bird is going nuts over the mix. I'm not sure whether the bass is bad for his ears or whether he's into it or what. The mix has just clicked over from Salt-N-Pepa to Nat King Cole, and now Kri Kri (the parakeet) is chirping and clicking merrily (he had been making more aggressive sounds). I'm going to do an experiment:

To Ella Fitzgerald's rendition of "Cheek to Cheek," the bird chirps and clicks (clicks more than to Nat King Cole, actually).

To Nelly, more squawks than to either Ella or Nat.

And on and on: the more melodious it is, the more the bird chirps and sings; the more rhythmic or bass-heavy or drumtrack-laden (I'm listening to "Causing a Commotion" now), the more clicking sounds or squawks the bird makes. I think he's singing along! Awesome! I wonder if he thinks that the mix is actually another bird in the room?

11:56 AM, June 10, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I avoided the book one, but here's my CD response.

dr. s, I love seeing the scientific method at work. I think there's grant money in this.

2:31 PM, June 10, 2005  
Blogger summer of sam said...

@dr. s: it make sense. he's super cute--and that's just on the internet!

8:22 AM, June 11, 2005  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

Aw shucks, you guys. Am officially embarrassed. But in a good way.

2:26 PM, June 11, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home