Friday, April 20, 2007

The Music Issue

In order to get a free music download, I was forced* to sign up for a Napster free trial a week ago**, and I am so excited that I have been able to hunt down all these songs that I’ve craved for ages – songs that old friends once put on mixed tapes that are rotting away in boxes somewhere, songs I grew up with, obscure songs I’ve heard once or twice and thought I’d never find again – that I am actually going to keep the membership for a while. It’s so wonderful to be able to download songs freely and without guilt for the price of just one CD a month.

Okay, now I’m starting to sound like an advertisement and I’m not that devoted yet.

But I did have a wonderful time yesterday, when, infected with a certain glee, I went on a mad search for songs with the word “radio” in them. I’ve collected songs like that for a while, but this time I was inspired by a set of radio-themed songs I heard on WXPN (the greatest radio station ever) on the way back from Philadelphia, particularly one called “Radio Girl.” How could I not hunt that one down? And instead of just one, I found eight songs called “Radio Girl.” Fabulous. And dozens more with the word “radio.” That doesn’t even begin to include songs that are about the radio but don’t have the word in the title.

So I assembled a playlist with all of the new radio songs and the ones I already had, and I’ve been listening to it for two days now. Here are my favorites so far:

“Radio Girl” by John Hiatt (the song I heard on XPN)
“On the Radio” by Regina Spektor
“You Turn Me On I’m a Radio” by Joni Mitchell
“On the Radio” by Donna Summer
“Radio Girl” by the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash
“Radio Ga Ga” by Queen

And now I’ve just done a search for “Alison,” which feels quite vain, but is so much fun. There are so many, and not all of them are remakes of Elvis Costello’s (which I certainly like but which so many people feel compelled to sing to me). There’s even a version of “Happy Birthday to You” in French (“Joyeux Anniversaire Alison”) . There’s a song by Chris Porro called “Pink Floyd and Alison,” although it doesn’t seem Alison is a source of joy in that one. There’s a punk song by the Huntingtons -- “Alison’s the Bomb” -- which I’ll definitely play when I need a self-esteem boost. There’s even a song called “Alison Waits (A Ghost Story),” the lyrics for which are deliciously spine-tingling. This is what it says on the band’s (Advent) web site:

An Edgar Allan Poe-inspired lyric ("Annabel Lee," according to Arthur Hoffman) served as the springboard for this tale of lovers separated by death and the obsession (or hauntings?) that follow. An atmospheric sea chantey, "Alison Waits" takes on the dimensions of a tone poem, with a lengthy instrumental development section that seems to have made the song an early favorite among those already familiar with Advent's repertoire.

Mmmmm. Fun. Good listening for the rest of the day.

It’s a strange sort of self-indulgence, but it makes me happy and keeps my ears warm.
And lest you think I am totally self-obsessed, I am happy to point out that I also downloaded vast amounts of music by Correo Aereo, whose “La Mariquita” is one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I know; albums’ worth of songs by Linda Ronstadt (did you know her grandfather invented the flexible ice cube tray, an early toaster and the electric stove, according to Wikipedia?); and multiple versions of “Iko Iko” (I’m a fan of the Cyndi Lauper version but I like the Dixie Cups’ version nearly as much). And I’m slowly hunting down all those songs on my mixed tapes.

Which song would you download first?

* Okay, yeah, so no one was twisting my arm, I know.

** And now that reminds me that after all the hoops I had to jump through to get signed up, I never did go back and download that free song.


Tinker said...

Of those listed? Well, I'm a big Ronstadt fan, so probably one of hers, though I have my PinkFloyd moments, too...hard decision. Glad you found so many for your own collection!

tongue in cheek said...

What a clever idea to download music with the word radio.
My daughter is the download music queen.
If I where to download music I would download music from faraway places that I have never heard of before.

Crashdummie said...

I would like to say that I'd try to find my favorite sngs, but I definatly be like you and look up songs that includes my name!

Egosurfings fun!

paintandink said...

Egosurfing? There's already a name for it, Crashy? Wow, I had no idea. Yes, it was definitely fun.

Corey, I love music from faraway places.

Terri, I mean any song... that song you've always wanted to have but just never got around to finding.

I forgot to mention that the actual very FIRST song I downloaded when I signed up was "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve. That's THE song I've wanted for ages. That and "Fool in the Rain" by Led Zeppelin, but I got the album for my birthday.

Crashdummie said...

Yeah I heard it the other way and giggled. Usually it's when you google on your own name :)

Oooh love the verve's "Bittersweet symphony"