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.

Modest Mouse: Missed the Boat

I really love this song:

While we’re on the subject
Could we change the subject now?
I was knocking on your ears
Don’t worry, you were always out
Looking towards the future
We were begging for the past
Well, we know we had the good things
But those never seemed to last
Oh, please just last

Everyone’s unhappy
Everyone’s ashamed
Well we all just got caught looking
At somebody else’s page
Well, nothing ever went
Quite exactly as we planned
Our ideas held no water
But we used them like a dam

Oh, and we carried it all so well
As if we got a new position
Oh, and I laugh all the way to hell
Saying, “Yes, this is a fine promotion”
Oh, and I laugh all the way to hell

Of course everyone goes crazy
Over such and such and such
We made ourselves a pillar
But we just used it as a crutch
We were certainly uncertain
At least I’m pretty sure I am
Well, we didn’t need the water
But we just built that good goddamn

Oh, and I know this of myself
I’d assume as much for other people
Oh, and I know this of myself
We’ve listened more to life’s end gong
Than the sound of life’s sweet bells

Was it ever worth it?
Was there all that much to gain?
Well, we knew we’d missed the boat
And we’d already missed the plane
We didn’t read the invite
We just danced at our own wake
All our favorites were playing
So we could shake, shake, shake, shake, shake

Tiny curtains open and we heard the tiny clap of little hands
A tiny man would tell a little joke and get a tiny laugh from all the folks
Sitting, drifting around in bubbles and thinking it was us that carried them
When we finally got it figured out that we had truly missed the boat

Oh, and we carried it all so well
As if we got a new position
Oh, and we owned all the tools ourselves
But not the skills to make a shelf with
Oh, what useless tools ourselves

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