Meme: The Musical Baton

All day I was watching this meme spread — I first saw it on Clagnut, thence to Hicksdesign and from there, well, pretty much everyone in my blogroll. I waited, hoping for a baton of my own. I languished in obscurity and unpopularity, mentally composing my lists and checking feeds obsessively. Then lo, patience paid off, and the gracious, talented, and hopefully very very forgiving Brad Smith extended the baton in my direction. Rock on.

Oh crap, now I gotta write something.

Total volume of music files on my computer:

About 12GB between two machines. I’m not really an avid collector, I like what I like and stick pretty closely within that range. This makes me feel old because most of the music I enjoy today is the same stuff I was listening to 10 years ago. Soon I’ll be griping about how “music today just isn’t as good as it was when I was a kid… in my day music used to mean something.”

The last CD I bought was:

I think it was “f#a#∞”, by Godspeed You Black Emperor and “1000 Smiling Knuckles” by Skin Yard, ordered simultaneously so I’m counting it as a single purchase.

Song playing right now:

“Love/Hate”, by Betty Blowtorch

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:

“Hey You”, by Pink Floyd. Sure it’s a tad pretentious to say this, but Pink Floyd changed my life. At a time when I was wallowing in teen angst, certain that nobody would ever understand me, hearing the bleak lyrics and sombre tones of Floyd made me feel slightly less alone. I admit I consider “Dark Side of the Moon” an overrated album, so I oscillate between “Wish You Were Here”, “Animals” and “The Wall” as being my favorite. Forced to choose for the sake of this list, I’m calling out “Hey You” as perhaps the most quintessential Floyd track. It epitomizes the conceptual scope and emotional depth they’re famous for. And it’s positively dripping with angst.

“Burn”, by The Cure. This song from The Crow soundtrack finally made me pay attention to The Cure, who have since become one of my favorites. Prior to this I only knew of The Cure from seeing the cavey video for “Lovesong” some years earlier and thinking it was “too girly” for my tastes. But one day in 1994 on my way to a show at the Outhouse, this song came up in the playlist on KJHK. I was already a fan of the Crow comic (this was weeks before the film opened) and was stricken by how perfectly the song meshed with the story and tone. Not surprising since The Cure’s music heavily influenced the tone of James O’Barr’s comic. A few days later I acquired the Crow soundtrack and over the coming years I’ve steadily expanded my Cure collection.

“She’s My Ex”, by All. All is a refactoring of punk-pop legends The Descendents, and have a similar sound, but still distinct and “nicer” somehow. I discovered them through my brother and quite quickly became hooked. Again, it’s hard to pick a single song to represent the entire catalog of a favorite band. But “Ex” was the first All song I heard, and to this day I still consider “Allroy’s Revenge” to be their stand-out album, with “Ex” being the best stand-out single from it.

“Waiting Room”, by Fugazi. Another example of my older brother’s influence on my musical tastes, this was the first Fugazi song I ever heard, the first track on the first album. Fugazi was completely unlike anything I’d heard before in 1990, so this was a bit of a musical awakening for me.

“Battle Without Honor or Humanity”, by Tomoyasu Hotei. AKA “The Kill Bill Song.” So ok, this one isn’t especially meaningful, marks no chapter in my life, and frankly it’s been way overexposed since it started showing up in car commercials. But damn this tune just rocks so hard, I can’t get tired of hearing it.

Five people to whom I’m passing the baton:

Hmm… who in my blogroll hasn’t been nailed yet…


  1. CRAP! That’s what I get for skipping past your glorious headshot, all you Noobsters blend together. Post ammended.

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