It’s only August, but just the other night I got a hint of a scent in the air that was unmistakable to me as Autumn. I don’t know how to describe it other than wet and earthy. It’s a smell that reminds me of October and all of the Americana that goes along with it: changing leaves, costumes, Halloween in a Normal Rockwell kind of way, and the best parts of my adolescence.
There are certain smells that just go with things. Football players talk about the smell of the field before a game. I remember that smell, there really is nothing else like it. It almost smells as if the field is sweating before the game begins. The other day at a rehearsal for “Rope” I caught the scent of a very specific hairspray in the dressing room, a hairspray that I’ve smelled in dressing rooms for decades and with that one contact I was suddenly reminded of all of those shows. The Autumn smell works the exact same way and triggers some of the strongest nostalgia I feel during any given year.
Every year, usually later than now, when the air starts to change and the nostalgia comes on I find myself searching though my music to make a playlist appropriate to the season. I started doing this back when I was a teenager, making mix tapes on my dual cassette/CD stereo system. There was more of an art to it back then. People had tape lengths that they liked to work in (I was a Memorex 90 minute man, myself) and you’d have to plan out your songs and hope that they would fit each side perfectly. I became very good with the Play/Pause button and mastered the length of the tape lead before it started recording. I could do it by feel, no counting required. Somewhere, deep in boxes that probably haven’t seen the light of day in at least a decade, there are dozens of mix tapes made from my music library circa 1990-1996. These tapes were with me during car rides with my friends when we first felt the “freedom” of being teenagers with cars. They were there for early relationships and the break-ups that went along with them. They were there for my first cigarette and for my first sips of Boones Farm Strawberry Hill. They were the soundtrack to my coming of age and represent all the songs that meant something to me at the time. They were also a pretty good representation of alternative hits and underground bands of the time.
My friends did it too, across the board. We’d listen to what each other made, finding new songs that we liked and new bands. My friend Jeff introduced to me to Oingo Boingo, Voice of the Beehive and October Project this way. I discovered that my friend Dan and I had a mutual love of The Cars and The Police this way. And my friend Scott exposed me to the power of Bad Religion and Pennywise this way. Entire backyard parties were powered by these tapes. They were teenage sorcery that could help bend the mood of entire rooms full of hormone fueled basket cases.
Technology changed and iTunes and iPods made it very easy to generate playlists based on whatever mood you were in at that second. Gone was the finesse of tape creation; instead you could just slam together song after song on a whim. I remember sitting at the computer for hours at a time, days in a row plugging songs into the playlists where I felt they belonged. I had the perfect list for whatever mood I was in. It was pretty awesome… until the crash of 2007 when iTunes and all of my playlists crashed and burned. That killed a lot of the fire I had for digital playlists. So much time was spent creating things that were wiped away in, literally, a moment. After that it took until I discovered Spotify before I felt that a digital playlist would be worth creating again. I haven’t created as many playlists as I did before 2007, but I do find that the ones I curate now get a lot more play.
I started a new playlist for autumn 2015 on Spotify. It’s the start of something that will probably get bigger as the days get shorter and the air gets crisper. I’m sharing this because I selfishly want you to share your playlists with me. Back in the day we would swap tapes and CD’s, but now we can toss entire playlists around digitally. This playlist is full of songs that take me back to being sixteen-and-angry, ready to rage against the world… as soon as I finish my journal entry about no one understanding me. It’s what I would want to listen to on a rainy day, hence the name. Check it out and let me know what you think, but more importantly share your playlists with me. Drop them in the comments and show me something new. I want to try and capture that feeling of sharing music again from back in the day. Whether it’s a favorite album from your favorite band or a playlist of your own creation, pop it in the comments and let’s hear something new.
Filed under creativity, Curtis Andersen, general, happiness, high school, iTunes, music, musings, rambling, songs, Uncategorized
A friend once said, “You know a good song when you can play it on an acoustic guitar around a bon fire and it still sounds good.” I subscribe to that idea and would expand it to say that a good song can survive new arrangements in new styles as well. The folks over at Post Modern Jukebox are regularly doing this with popular songs. I’m not the first to find PMJ (as the kids call them), they’ve been posting great versions of pop tunes for years and they appear regularly in pop culture and geek blogs. In fact they are going on tour! I’m not getting paid to bring that up, I just like in supporting cool creative things.
Back to the song…
Permission to Land was my favorite album of 2003… and 2004… and most of 2005 and ’06. It’s a solid, fun, driven rock album and was the perfect anthem for my late 20’s. “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” is a song I still love to listen too even though I’ve heard it thousands of times. The New Orleans version below gives it a different kind of energy that still fits the spirit of the song and it never hurts to have a strong female voice driving a song.
And here’s the original:
What are some of your favorite tunes? Pop some links in the comments.
See you next time!
It is the bane of the modern entertainment industry.
It has completely changed the paradigm of the music industry and altered the business of television and film distribution in ways that have yet to be realized.
For many consumers, media piracy is thought of as a new thing. Something that the industry has to cope with in a world full of modern marvels that allow for quick duplication and distribution. But that isn’t actually true. Piracy is something that is as old as the entertainment industry and CineFix has done a great job explaining it in their latest Film School’D video.
Another lesson from this video? Edison really was a prick. An industrious prick, but a prick.
How do you feel about piracy? what do you think the industry can do to combat it? Let me know in the comments.
See you next time.
So Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” feat. Charlie XCX is arguably the song of the summer for 2014 but I would argue that Weird Al should actually take the title. Here is his parody as well as the original, for comparison.
Have a great weekend!
See you next time!
I was worried that I wouldn’t find a video to post today. This week I didn’t see a whole lot that I thought was worth sharing…
…until this morning!
Presenting 5 year old Jordan who has got skilz!
You can see more of his stuff HERE.
See you next time!
I am a big music lover and when I was doing my morning scan of the internet the Facebook post from NPR music caught my attention. They linked to a video that is a video/audio mash-up of 68 of the top hits from 2013. It’s quite catchy!
The creator has been doing this since 2010 and those are pretty cool too. Check out his other videos HERE.
I hope you all have a wonderful, safe night tonight! We’ll see you in 2014!
So I talk about music today and then Kickstarter.com posts a story on Facebook.com about a story on Wired.com all about a couple of guys who bring a dance party to cities around Canada and the U.S. Kickstarter called it “…the best thing you’ll read on the Internet today” I’m not sure about that, but it’s a good article about a fun thing.
Decentralized Dance Party
See you next time!
Filed under music, re-post
I don’t much believe in regrets, but if there’s one thing that I wish I had spent more time on in my youth it would be music, specifically playing an instrument. Any instrument. I made a go at drumming, can wail on a kazoo and can even play a kids toy piano decently, but when it comes to actual could-be-part-of-a-rock-band instruments I have zero skill. I made up for my lack of playing ability by listening music as often as possible.
I got a good start. When I was a kid my parents listened to regular radio. Rock, pop, oldies, their music tastes were given to me unfiltered and I have always been grateful for that. I never quite understood the reasoning behind “kid’s music.” I don’t get it, especially when it’s pop music re-recorded by kids. And when I look back on my childhood now, growing up in the 80’s, when Michael Jackson, Prince and Bruce Springsteen were all coming up and making some of the best music of their careers! If I had been listening to “the wheels on the bus” instead of “1999”… I don’t even want to think of it.
I’ve been consuming a lot more music lately. Technology has made it so that you can. Between Spotify and Pandora having streaming apps for mobile phones and the amount of time Rene and I spend in the car it’s been easy to do. I realize that I’m behind the curve on this. I can already hear some of you saying, “I’ve been using those for months/years!” but I’m a slow adopter. I had a Blackberry Bold for almost 3 years before I upgraded so when I finally cashed in all my credits on an iPhone I was shocked at what I could do with it.
Technology has also changed my storage habits. I haven’t opened iTunes for… a while. And because I haven’t bought any albums or iTunes music since I discovered Spotify it’s not like the newer songs I want to listen to are in there anyway. iTunes and my old iPod were reduced to only playing podcasts which, while good, aren’t always to the wife’s taste (I listen to some pretty geeky and/or “inside baseball” industry podcasts. That’s a different blog post.).
So what am I listening to now? Well, if I’m at the gym it’s all dance-pop. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again, I’ve got a great Pandora station seeded with Kylie Minogue that keeps the cardio burning! But at home I’ve been regressing to college indie-rock stuff. Going back to R.E.M. and The Smiths and Nick Heyward. There are some newer songs out that have been triggering my nostalgia but I’ll be damned if I can think of any of them specifically right now.
What about you? How does music factor into your life? what are you listening to? do you have a raging cardio playlist or suggestion to try out? Let me know in the comments!
See you next time!
Filed under music, rambling