I was talking with a friend the other day and she told me “Why is it all the music you listen to either morbid, kinda angry, or just…strange? Do you ever listen to anything, I don’t know, fun?” Of course, I think all my music is fun which is why I like it so much.
However her tastes, like most peoples’ (at least compared to mine), are much closer to main-stream and this did get me thinking that maybe my music tastes make me seem snobby.
I will admit to snobbery in my consumption of media in general but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a few songs that I hate that I love that I’m fairly sure everyone knows. In an effort to forward my (fairly) radical honesty agenda, I’ve decided to share with you a playlist of songs that I rarely admit to really loving.
I never really got into “break up” songs because like I always felt like that would kind of ruin the song for me because of the association however when I was working in a catering kitchen they’d play this one song on the radio. A lot.
The kitchen was really loud with over 70 employees all chopping vegetables and clanging pots and chef’s yelling across the yawning expanse of the biggest kitchen I have ever worked in. This amalgamation of noises plus my generally failing hearing (I listen to music too loud, I go to shows and hug the giant bass speakers, I am aging gracefully but my ears are compensating) I could ever only catch one lyric which captured the spirit of my wonder-lust, which is frequently fueled by a certain sense of discomfort.
“This guy decides to quit his job and heads to New York City
This cowboy’s running from himself”
“Riptide”, Vance Joy
In that same chaotic kitchen I heard another song that I liked but similarly could only catch one line of.
“we don’t talk about it”
“Stolen Dance”, Milky chance
That lyric paired with the upbeat positive melody gave me the most wonderful mental image of a guy in real emotional turmoil but dancing along with a big smile on his face, not wanting to talk about it.
I liked the guy’s strange rough voice and the acoustic guitar so much that when I finally figured out what song I was hearing, I found that he has one other song I liked too.
It was this music video that kept me coming back. I like the colours. And his hair. Like that mane is glorious.
Years before finding all these songs I lived in this literally haunted house in South City St Louis off Compton St(1) with four other guys. We used to have this game where we would take turns putting things on youtube, from songs to mechanical videos, and when you wanted to have the wireless keyboard passed to you, you’d ask “Can I drive for a moment?”
The two brothers who I got on best with fucking LOATHED this song so naturally I couldn’t admit to liking it but it wormed it’s way into my heart. It hit’s too many buttons not to. The horns, San Francisco, being in love with the concept of love, it melted my cold black heart (that’s been torn apart).
There was a time when I was working in a grocery store deli(2) and they had this radio that had a stagnant playlist: the same 15 songs for the 18 hours of operation 7 days a week. It was brutal. However in the back of house, we had our own radio which was usually set to something like Z107.7, the St Louis pop station, and this one song would come one and it had this like pop ska sound to it which that I just could not get enough of.
The song reminds me of the game Shadow of the Colossus.
Year’s later I was working in Jimmy John’s, an American sandwich shop, and Jimmy Radio(3) would consistently surprise me with music good music from all over the spectrum plus some really obscure songs that I have never heard before or since outside of that place. This is one of those songs:
I know it’s one of those hipster chorus songs but it has this strange sound that I can’t identify but I really like. That “ewooo ewoo” synth sound like an electric kazoo or something.
I’ll leave you with one last song. This song, like the rest in this list, takes me back to a time when things were different. A time when I could drink reasonably (sometimes), a time when the world still felt small enough for me to conquer but big enough that if given free roam I would never get bored, a time before all my friends went to the angry winds. It was a time when I was deep in a bro-mance with my best friend of 15 years and we were had “our songs”, something I’ve never shared with a lover for the same reason why I avoid break up songs, and this was one of those songs. I listen to this song when I miss that guy, that time, that time-feel.
I have more than enough of these cringe songs to make another Cringe List but I’ve spent way too much time in the past today.
- I still joke sometimes “I ain’t scared. I’m straight outta Compton.” Before I left St Louis for England, I wanted to get a jumper that read “Straight Outta St Louis” because I read this story once that a St Louis native in Oregon actually fended off a would-be mugger because he said “Man, I ain’t scared of you. I’m from St Louis.” Being effective due to our city’s reputation for being one of the most dangerous cities in America and #15 Most Dangerous City in the World.
- I ate so many cheese scraps, they were literally scraps that we could not sell so I don’t feel bad, that when I left I was placed on the “Do not rehire” list but I don’t want to meet the monster who can throw away collective kilos of Havariti and Extra Sharp Cheddar and Provel among others. I love cheese, probably more than some people in my life, which is also one reason why I suspect I have a hard time meeting a partner.
- I’m serious, the official name for the corporate approved radio station was called “Jimmy Radio”.