I made a playlist

I went for a walk tonight after everything but the bars had closed. The streets were still wet with rain. The air was crisp and fresh. It was a fantastic walk through the city at night. I was listening to music as I walked and decided that tonight was the night I would finally make a play list on 8tracks.com. It took me longer than I expected, primarily because some of the music I was looking for was on my phone but not on my PC. Not sure how that happened. I never download directly to my phone, I always download to my PC first. So I had to grab a couple of files off the interwebs before I could make the list itself.

I’m disappointed that the service doesn’t seem to have any method of leveling out the volume, so some of the tracks are louder than others. But I guess that’s something I should be able to do on my end. I’ll try better next time.

Midnight walk after the rain from TheRook on 8tracks Radio.

Music and memory

One of the few moments I look forward to in my day is my walk to and from work. Not that I actually enjoy walking. The walk home can be particularly arduous on long days. My feet are, more often than no, in extreme pain and it’s only the thought of making it home that keeps me going.

But I still look forward to those two twenty-five minute spans for one specific reason: music. I put my earbuds in and, with my only responsibility being putting one foot in front of the other and keeping out of traffic, I let my mind wander with the song to some imagining or another.

Now you might think I can do this at home, and I do listen to music more often than not, but at home it’s not the same. At home I have other responsibilities and distractions. I have to do the dishes, cook the food, clean the bathroom, fold the laundry, and a million other little chores and tasks. At home I have movies and television and internet. There’s Tumblr and Pinterest and dozens of other web sites to suck my attention. The music, good as it may be, is generally just another in a large cloud of distractions.

Don’t get me wrong, music at  home is good. It keeps me in a positive mood, more often than not, and quite often inspires me to get things done. Right now I’m being inspired to write these words by Ray Lamontagne singing “You can bring me flowers”, which is a song full of soft jazz and soul and so many feels you might just drown:


This lovely tune also illustrates why I love the music of my walks so much – my head space expands and I’m walking through an entirely different world. Walking while listening to my music lets me listen to my music with more intent and depth than listening to my music anywhere else.

It doesn’t hurt that walking to work inspires my mind to escape, and walking home in pain inspires my mind to flee, so the music is a very welcome and ready diversion.

Today’s music reminded me a of a significant lesson in my past. An old, old tune from the very early eighties taught me that all important lesson: A song doesn’t have to be popular to be something meaningful to you.

I loved Men At Work when they released their initial album and still enjoy “Down Under” and “Who Can It Be Now”, although both tunes have been overplayed enough that I have to be in an open and receptive mood to enjoy them these days.

But today my phone dredged up another tune from that album: Down By the Sea. It was one of the first tunes I ever fell in love with that wasn’t loved by everyone else I knew. It would have fit perfectly on a “Headphones Only” playlist, something I plan on setting up on my phone gradually.

Another song of theirs that stuck in my head as one of “My” songs was Be Good Johnny. At the time it epitomized my interactions with most of the adults in my family. Being six feet tall and over 200 pounds it was a mystery to every one of them that I had no interest in sports whatsoever. Be Good Johnny, to me, told the story of a child more interested in imagination than football or cricket, and that was me all over. I would have been better suited to a smaller, bookish body.

Top Ten Mix of Me

I blame Dargie. It’s usually a safe bet, blaming him. This time he triggered me into spending an entire evening making a mix tape, or as the kids call it these days “a Playlist”.

The theme? Ten songs to represent you.

Some of these choices are due to lyrics, all of them are due to me just loving the tune. The hard part wasn’t finding ten songs to represent me. The hard part was culling the list down from about a hundred. If you asked me tomorrow, the list would change.

Big Rude Jake – Andy’s Requiem – Beat poetry the way it was meant to be heard, with jazz. I really need to follow up on the study of beat poetry.

Groove Armada – My Friend – Whenever I’m down, I call on you …

Cage the Elephant – Aint No Rest For The Wicked – Good blues done by a band whose members are collectively younger than all the years of the original. Some messages are ageless.

Dire Straits – My Parties – This song goes through my head at the start of every single one of my parties.

Joe Strummer – Get Down Moses – Um, just good. Y’know?

Hooverphonic – Mad About You – I’ve long had a love of the siren song, the sultry siren at center stage with one microphone and an evening dress that covers everything and hides nothing, a voice that mesmerizes and entrances. I had to struggle between Hooverphonic and Portishead over this one.

Jet – Shine On – closest to faith I can get to, I guess.

Everything But The Girl – Missing – Whenever I’m down this song goes a long way to… well, helping me wallow in it if nothing else.

Supreme Beings of Leisure – Good – This could very well be my theme song …

David Byrne / X-press 2 – Lazy – If this weren’t an even better theme song.

Bonus track:

Iio – Smooth – Can never hear this tune enough.

I now challenge everyone else to come up with their ten (or eleven)

Lyrics for “Good”:

I disagree with your philosophy
What killed the cat’s not curiosity
And you know that I’ll do it again
Yes, you know that I’ll do it again
And there’s no stopping me my friend, not this time

I’ll be good, I’ll be good tomorrow
I’ll be good another day

These palace walls are lined with excess
When wisdom calls I’m riding express
But I swear I won’t do it again
No, I swear I won’t do it again
And I promise this is the end, one last time

I’ll be good, I’ll be good tomorrow
I’ll be good another day
I’ll be good, I’ll be good tomorrow
I’ll be good another day

I take a bite, open my eyes
Oh, cover me, yes, I am naked

I’ve made my deals with moderation
But virtue’s a fleeting fascination
‘Cause I know that I’ll do it again
Yes, I know that I’ll do it again
And it’s silly for me to pretend all this time

I’ll be good, I’ll be good tomorrow
I’ll be good another day
I’ll be good, I’ll be good tomorrow
I’ll be good another day

I swear I’ll be