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Rose Music

I was asking Steven the other night whether we participate in question memes making the rounds, since my instinct would be to ignore them. He was interested, though, and since I’ve been called out by Dorian Wright AND because it was a birthday present, I have no choice but to comply.

1. Total amount of music files on your computer:

I seem to have 1.14 GB right now, but this is a new computer. And all of it’s legal, or at worst semi-legal mashup downloads. But I haven’t had this computer long and have other music I’ll eventually add, since my iTunes listening is getting a tiny bit predictable.

2. The last CD you bought was:

Two New Pornographers albums, Electric Version and Mass Romantic. The Christmas gift certificate didn’t really cover both, but I couldn’t decide between them fast enough before the store closed and so bought both. I used to buy cds all the time, especially weird ones from the 4/$10 (and once, on a happy day, 15/$10!) bin at my now-closed local store, but for several historical and financial reasons I’ve totally fallen away from new and interesting music. Someday I hope to go back, but it’s almost depressing to go into a store and see how far behind I am. Same with fiction, really, except that was library-based then and now.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?

I thought it would be cheating to put something on this morning, knowing that I’d have to answer here. Steven had on Queen in the car last night, so something from Queen’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 1. None of us can recall what it was and I made him turn it off because the cd is about 20 minutes long which means it’s impossible to play it in the car without hearing everything 20 times, especially if Steven insists on skipping songs.

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.

I’m going to take the historical approach of pivotal songs that have meant a lot and choose only songs and only songs in English, which I hope will let me narrow things down to 5. Can you tell I’m not good at this? I might do an instrumental set later or even one of songs where I don’t or only partly understand the language. That could be fun, too.

Leonard Cohen’s “Story of Isaac” got me seriously started on folk music and song-as-poem stuff at age 13 or so.

Over the Rhine’s “Within Without” was a local-band-makes-good(ish) song I listened to every time I had to leave my room for a year or so in high school. I still like them on the whole, but maybe other songs more than this one.

Veda Hille’s entire album Spine, but maybe “One Hot Summer” if I had to pick just one song: “there’s so much beauty that I don’t believe in / god knows that my moth holds more teeth than wisdom.” It took me forever to bring myself to buy the album because the cover art was so grisly, but no one else was willing to get it even for $2.50. I would probably say it’s my favorite album.

Rose Polenzani is another favorite, and I think today I’d choose “Flood” as the one I hold onto most strongly, but it probably changes. Hers were just about the only cds I bought in college and she’s lovely and smart and charming in person. Yay!

While I can’t find a satisfactory link, “Midnight Radio” is probably my favorite song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch , or maybe “Random Number Generation.” I think that’s as close to new as I can get.

Honorable mentions who really deserve to be up there include The Incredible String Band, Robyn Hitchcock, Dar Williams, Ani DiFranco, Richard Shindell, Erin McKeown, Aimee Mann, The October Project, Eric Bogle, Cornershop, Jane Siberry, Lisa Germano, Pooka Blonde Redhead, Laura Nyro, Talking Heads, Nick Cave, The Rheostatics, The Klezmatics, and really lots more people I really love and can’t distill to a top 5. I’m probably cheating by having two men in my top 5, since mostly you can boil me down to female voices with sharp, haunting lyrics, but maybe there really is more to me than that.

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?

This is part of the reason I’ve been holding off, because I don’t want it to be a popularity contest or make people feel pressured or anything like that. I suppose Steven had better do it to even things out around here. Beyond that I’m not going to make it mandatory, but I’d really like to hear anything about music that other people want to say.