If I am in an elevator, if I am in a train or a plane, anyway stationary position, and I see somebody listening to their Ipod I will ask them what they are listening to. This is not an act of social intercourse, I really wanna know, I wanna know what I’ve missed and also, for me, with the answer of one small question I will gain insight on both the man or woman who are listing to music and the artist they are listening to.
If I am dating a girl and she has bad taste in music (or worse no taste in music: “I like everything” is the equivalent of saying “I am a boring bastard who doesn’t have a thought in my head”) the relationship is doomed from the start. If I have to explain why Cinderella were not as good as Crazy Horse we are never gonna work out.
I still find it endlesly fascinating what people listen to: often it is age related but sometimes it simply makes no sense at all to me and only reveals the reason when you dwelve a little deeper. An Irish girl I know told me she loved Jerry Rivera but it took a couple of more questions for me to discover she had been dating a Puerto Rican guy for the past three years.
Here is a list of some of my friends and the music they like:
Robert Nevin: Classical, especially Mozart
Todd Leibowitz: Hair metal
Larry S.: 60s classic rock
Mike Dee: Reggae
Matt Drummond: East Coast hip hop
Lisa Fay: Modern Country
Rachel Tuckerman: Latin American
Louba Lababedi: Judy Garland
Steve Diamond: the closest to my taste, wide and deep but no Latin
Liam Murphy: Hip Hop
Chris Maglioni: George Harrison
Marie Lynn: Modern Alternative
Bob Klein: Classical
Christine Babiak: 90s grunge
Samer Diab: 70s metal
Jeff McColl: Hip Hop
Aletia Small: Gospel
Bobby Sciortino: Dance
Nicki Angelica: 90s dance mixes
Than there is my former assistant Alix. In an effort to share the music in our office I made her a mix and added to it by her request. Here is the highlights of the Alix Wartell mix.
Romeo And Juliet – Taylor Swift – Undisputably Swift’s best song (“Thug Story” is her hip hop T. Pain rethinking) and the introduction to her smash hit album “Fearless” it is a pop stroke of mammoth proportion and would’ve broken her pop if “Tears On My Guitar” hadn’t already done so. A girly girl triumph which (and this is why Swift crosses over) has a larger appeal because it is catchy pop with only a trace of country on the acoustic guitar flavor and a smart electric backing. In this sense she is like the Beatles who also appealed to young girls and paedophiles before gaining a larger audience. Best line: “This love is hard but it is re-e-al” -a terrific line cheat.
When The Stars Go Blue – Tyler Hilton and Bethany Joy Lenz – A Ryan Adam’s cover from “One Tree Hill” and it should really suck and it doesn’t. Despite a full rock band back up that is a bit obtrusive and Hilton’s (smart) decision not to try for the high blue note, it is a clever pop rework of a gone Adam’s song.
If I Were A Boy – Beyonce – This pop hit is better than it has any right to be and the direction of the lyric is orginal. The album was pretty lousy.
Somebody’s Baby – Jackson Browne – Get the feeling Alix is a bit of a wimp yet? Browne used to refuse to play his biggest hits, an 80s pop move but I guess all the royalty checks has softened the blow. A lovely straight up acoustic version.
Basket Case – Green Day – Alix was nine years old when “Dookie” was released, and it’s position on her mix is either a testament to “Dookies” exothermic qualities or it’s inclusion in many a Summer camp campfire singalong.
You Don’t Know How It Feels – Tom Petty – Alix’s ex was a big Petty fan but she didn’t recognize the song when she heard it on one of my mix’s. She still loved it and I still think this is the equivalent of my Irish friend liking Latin music.
La La – Ashley Simpson – This is the sort of song the pros write when the pro’s wanna write a hit. The “Lala” is a modern equivalent of a “yaya”.
Won’t go Home Without You – Maroon 5 – When people say, “Al,” they call me Al, “You pretend to be a populist but you are really a music snob” I point to these blue eyed soul boys to prove I’m not. PS I saw em at MSG a coupla years ago, the last night of their “It Won’t be Soon before Long” tour with their parents in the audience and Lenny Cohen should be made aware even THEY dug how big a deal it was.
Defying Gravity – Idina Menzel & Kristin Chenowith – Alix saw the Broadway musical “Wicked” on the West End begging the question: what was she thinking of? Anyway, the broadway musical was a chick flick put to really bad music and this song sucks.
Piece Of Me – Britney Bitch – Is this Britney’s finest moment? A snap shot of life as lived after the breakdown based around a synth beat hook from the ultra well named album “Blackout”. “Blackout” was the first of two sequential albums that wiped the floor with Madonna.
Wedding Bell Blues – Laura Nyro – I think there is some sorta secret society where chicks get together and share inside dope on chick songs through the ages. This is one of late great singer-songwriter’s catchiest creations and possibly the best song on the mix.
Curbside Prophet – Jason Mraz – You haven’t lived till you’ve heard Alix rap along to this.
S.O.S. – Jonas Brothers – Before these guys took themselves seriously they could write catchy teen pop.
Love The One You’re With – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – When people say guys were using the hippie ethos to treat women like shit they mean the sentiments in Stills borderline misogynist song. Lead directly to the Eagles.
The Boys Of Summer – Don Henley – A little voice inside my head said don’t look back, you can never look back.
All Summer Long – Kid Rock – Alix had never heard Warren Zevon’s “Wevewolves Of London”.
We Belong Together – Mariah Carey – Like Britney after her, Mariah got her act together on this technically miraculous song off the simply miraculous “The Emancipation Of Mimi”.
Misery Business – Paramore – Sure “Riot” was great but the song off “Twilight” kinda sucked.
“Piano Man” – Billy Joel – Alix can thing this entire song… the question is why would she want to.
So there is the Alix Wartell Mix List. Does she have taste -absolutely, not as good as her kid sister’s taste (Bari is given to jams, dubs, and techno) but certainly more extroverted and accessible than the average fan. There is a fairly consistent sense of empowerment in the chick stuff and a consistent sense of pure pop music in the other with a fillip of older stuff prolly inherited from her parents.
Thanks Alix for lending me your Ipod!!
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