Not long ago I asked for new music from folks and, surprisingly, got a lot of suggestions! I only asked for three requirements — 1) No more than three 2) new (2011 and 2012) 3) songs (as opposed to albums or bands) — and a lot of folks took me up on it. As promised, I listened to the suggestions — twice, in fact — and am now back to report on the results.
First, though, I want to sincerely thank everyone who gave me suggestions! Whether or not I liked the songs I had fun listening to stuff I don’t normally listen to.
To accomplish this task I signed up for Spotify which is a service that streams music either from your collection or from a source online, and they have tons of stuff. I don’t know how it works, and I don’t care, but most of the songs I was given were on there. I made a playlist (which I think you can listen to here if you’re on Spotify) and ordered it randomly. I didn’t note who suggested what because I didn’t want to introduce any possible biases.
If you can see that playlist, you’ll note that there are twelve Shriekback songs on it. Those are pretty good tunes, but they’re on there to represent the twelve songs that weren’t on Spotify. So when a Shriekback song started, I’d fire up the next link in line for these:
Speaking of Spotify, the thing is ad-supported, so you get ads between songs from time to time. One of them was for a song called “Cowboys and Angels” which sounds exactly as you imagine. So I’m listening to a playlist made up of stuff other people picked out for me and one song ends and it goes “Cowboys and angels…” and I’m all “WHICH ONE OF YOU ASSHOLES DID THIS” but then I realized it was an ad.
Enough of my blabbering, what about the music?
“Stuck on the Puzzle” (Alex Turner) — Not a bad start to the project, but just kind of…there.
“Cement Slippers” (Dengue Fever) — I didn’t care for this right away, but it grew on me.
“Cold Feet” (Liam Finn) — I like the work of Liam’s dad, and the apple hasn’t fallen from the tree here. The chorus is especially catchy.
“Sheriff of Morlock County” (Minutes) — This odd song starts out slow, then suddenly it jumps in, does a bit, and leaves. I actually listened to it several times because it was so short and odd. But ultimately, I dug it. It’s not often I say this, but I wish it was longer.
“Gold on the Ceiling” (The Black Keys) — I was prepared to not like this, honestly. The kind of thing the Black Keys traffic in really isn’t my thing. But I actually dug this, so that’s a nice find.
“Worship” (A Place to Bury Strangers) — Okay, this song is cheesy as hell, sorry folks. BUT! It reminds me of late-80s Nettwerk records, mixed with a little JAMC b-side, and that scored some points for me.
“No End in Sight” (Outerhope) — This was a good call, whoever made it. Lately this kind of dreamy, wavy pop has been the most appealing to me. Liked it a bunch.
“In the Backseat” (Matt Haimovitz & Christopher O’Riley) — This is a piano/cello(?) cover of an Arcade Fire song and while I like The Arcade Fire, I don’t really need piano/cello(?) covers of them.
“Gee Whiz” (Buck 65 feat. Nick Thorburn) — The suggestions that were the most hip-hop were the ones that intrigued me the most. I’ve never gotten into rap that much, so I don’t have an extensive back catalog I’m comparing it to, and it’s more novel and interesting to me. I liked this one, but it’s still kind of a novelty to me and not something I’d want to listen to regularly.
“Motion Sickness” (Hot Chip) — I’ve heard Hot Chip before and really like “Playboy” by him, but nothing else I’ve heard has ever really done it for me. This one, though I liked a bunch.
“I’m Over Dubstep” (Th’ Mole) — Since I haven’t kept up much with music at all, I have missed out on the whole dubstep thing. I know it’s a kind of music, and I know I’m supposed to hate it, but truth is, I’ve never actually heard any of it. Honestly, none. So an anti-dubstep track is going to fall flat for me, and this one in particular especially. I’m sorry, person who suggested this, but man, I hated this.
“Comeback Kid” (Sleigh Bells) — I had heard of Sleigh Bells, and even heard a track by them, but didn’t like what I had heard (no idea what it was) so I had kind of written them off. This, though, I like! Did they change their sound, or am I just crazy? This sounds like a slightly harder edged Lush, and that is a good thing.
“Glitters Like Gold” (The Cribs) — The Cribs made it on to Meeple Deployment somehow, and I found this song as unmemorable as I do that song.
“Well, You Can Do It Without Me” (Father John Misty) — This was okay, I guess, but it didn’t grab me.
“O” (The Phantom Band) — This song starts out like “See You” by Depeche Mode and ultimately just makes me want to listen to “See You” by Depeche Mode.
“Labrador” (Aimee Mann) — Oh sure, I know Aimee Mann. Who doesn’t? And I like this song by her well enough. But her songs and voice just fall off of my ears. I’m sorry, Aimee.
“A Near Death Experience Experience” (Andrew Bird) — Mr. Bird and I go back a ways, and I have a couple of his albums. I lost track of him a few years ago. I love a bunch of his songs, but a lot of them are just kind of dull. Sadly, this one falls in the latter camp for me.
“Death as a Fetish” (Starfucker feat. Mattress) — The title and performers here made me wary, but this is actually a bouncy little synthpop jam, and I liked it.
“Romance” (Wild Flag) — It’s hard being the only kid on the block who never dug Sleater-Kinney. I tried, Lord knows I tried, but I just found them grating and irritating. But I love Carrie Brownstein on Portlandia and Rebecca Cole (from The Minders) is in this band so man, I want to like them. I do like this song, but I’m not sure how much more Wild Flag I’d like.
“At the Lake” (Standard Fare) — This is pretty cute and catchy, but something about it just doesn’t keep my interest.
“Learn Me Right” (Birdy) — I kind of have a very low tolerance for Irish/Scottish stuff, which will shock and disgust my friends of those tribes but there, I said it, and I feel better having said it.
“The Lion’s Roar” (First Aid Kit) — Nothing wrong here, perfectly fine song, just didn’t do much of anything for me.
“Where I’m Going” (Cut Copy) — Confession! Between the first and second listens, we visited with Beth and Mark, who played me more from this album, which I liked. So that might have pushed this particular track up for me, since I was listening for it the second time.
“Winner” (Noisettes) — A lot of my pals dig this band, but this was too dancy for me, sorry.
“We Don’t Want Your Body” (Stars) — The song “Reunion” made it on to Meeple Deployment (see above) and I like that tune a lot, but nothing else I’ve heard by them has done much for me, including this one.
“Say Goodbye” (Norah Jones) — Nothing. Just washes right over me.
“That Wasn’t Me” (Brandi Carlile) — Same here.
“The Way It Goes” (Gillian Welch) — This, though. Holy cow. Haunting and spare, the way I tend to like this sort of thing. I liked this one a lot.
“For My Upstairs Neighbor (Mums the Word)” (El-P) — And then this. Holy shit. I’ve heard people on the Twitter talking up El-P and now I know why. This is incredible. I was looking for songs, not albums, but this is an album I want to hear.
“Pop-up Holy” (Kanno Youko) — Well, this is a song from some anime and it sounds like a song from some anime to me.
“Spellcasting Summat” (Moon Wiring Club) — Interesting, but not quite interesting enough.
“Harper Lee” (Tigercats) — As much as I want to like a song called “Harper Lee”, this one didn’t do much for me.
“Cats and Dogs” (The Head and the Heart) — The first of two songs by this band, for some reason, and I didn’t really care for either.
“Both of Us” (B.o.B. feat Taylor Swift) — This may have been included as a joke (it being “both country and rap”) but sue me, I kind of liked it.
“The Reflection of You” (Bear in Heaven) — Didn’t grab me at all.
“The Gravedigger’s Song” (Mark Lanegan Band) — Hmm. No, thank you.
“The Happiest Lamb” (Audra Mae) — Oh man, this is a lot of fun.
“Tightrope” (Janelle Monáe feat. Big Boi) — A while back I read something about Monáe’s album, The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III) and at the time I found the video for this song and really liked it. Then, for some reason, I forgot about it. Not long ago, I noticed that the album was on sale at Amazon, and meant to grab it, but got distracted. You might think that if it can’t stay in my head long enough to remember I like it, how good can it be, but the truth is, I love this song and yes, I want to hear more from her. So thanks for suggesting it and kicking my ass into gear on it.
“Kerr’s Negro Jig” (Carolina Chocolate Drops) — This is a pleasant recording. I love the crickets in the background.
“David’s Theme” (The Scarlet Furies) — A song from a video game, which doesn’t wreck its chances for me in and of itself, except that I’ve never played the game, so it just sounds like generic piano music to me.
“Evil’s Sway” (Japandroids) — This is another one that I didn’t really care for at first but then grew on me. I will probably give it more listens.
“Down in the Valley” (The Head and the Heart) — The second song by this band. It’s not for me.
“Wandering Sailor” (Kingship) — Yeah, didn’t like this much at all.
“Bangarang” (Doomtree) — Another rap track that I really liked. Am I…am I losing my whiteness? Or am I becoming more white?
“Tonight” (Saint Etienne) — They’ve been around forever, haven’t they? Seems like it, yet I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a track all the way through. I liked this a bunch and clearly need to hear more from them.
“Watch the Corners” (Dinosaur Jr.) — This muddy, droney, 90s sound is one I just don’t need to hear more of. Even they sound tired of this.
“Sail” (AWOLNATION) — This is an odd song. It’s got a weird sound to it, and somewhat dated. It’s got a lot of things about it that I don’t really go for. But I can’t deny that it stuck in my head long after it was over.
“Deathless Gods” (Tarsius) — Seemed at first like something I might like, but ultimately, not really.
“Get Lucky” (The Twilight Singers) — No, didn’t do anything for me.
“Getaway Car” (Enter the Haggis) — I was wary of this one. Just the band’s name sends up a Fourth of July Parade’s worth of flags for me. But it’s actually a nice bit of jangle-pop.
“Balada” (Gustavo Lima) — Oh, my, no.
“Being Sober is Such a Drag” (The Strangeness) — No, sorry, this song is so not me.
“Not Your Fault” (AWOLNATION) — Not sure why I have a second song from them. This one’s more straightforward and not particularly interesting to me.
“Class Clown Spots a UFO” (Guided By Voices) — This is a band that it seems I should know backwards and forwards — everyone else does — but I really haven’t listened to them much. There’s a lot here that pushes my buttons, but it falls a little short. I’d like to hear more, though.
“Brick by Brick” (Arctic Monkeys) — I’m sorry, but I haven’t liked anything I’ve heard from this band, including this.
“End of the Line” (Sleigh Bells) — Again, I have no idea why I thought this band was something different, because I hell of dig this as well.
“Slow Down” (Poolside) — This is a pretty mellow, breezy little track, but you kind of don’t want to listen to it with headphones because the vocals have something I can’t put my finger on that’s kind of irritating.
“Through the Trees pt. 2″ (Mount Eerie) — I’m not much of a fan of the “mopey dude with a guitar sings from his moleskine journal in a trembly voice” genre of music. This didn’t change that.
“Primitive Girl” (M. Ward) — I’ve never really gotten into M. Ward for some reason, but I had heard this song before and liked it then, and I still like it now.
So there you have it. 59 tracks! I’d have to say the biggest winners were “No End in Sight”, “Motion Sickness”, “Comeback Kid”, “For My Upstairs Neighbor (Mums the Word)”, “Tightrope”, and “Tonight”. That’s not a bad ratio, all things considered, and it’s not like I hated everything else.
I’d say the experiment was something of a success, and I’ll probably be repeating it before too long. Thank you again to everyone who participated!