My Soundtrack of the Past Decade

Friday, June 7, 2024 | 0 Comment(s)

About 8 months ago I remembered that all of the music I had illegally downloaded in college was still in my computer from years ago. Somehow, as that machine became outdated, I forgot to transfer the thousands of music files over into whatever new machine I got with plenty of memory to handle it all. This has left me, for about the past 7-10 years with the same 10 or so albums on my cell phone. And, because music has never been something I was much invested in, i.e. I don't have Spotify or Apple Music - I JUST had these albums as the only music on my phone for what must be the much bigger part of a decade. 

They are an eclectic bunch that I've gotten to know intimately. And with one NOTABLE exception, I'm only mortified at the dearth of content contributing to the background music to my life - not full on embarrassed by the content itself.  What's more - since I now have all of my prior albums loaded onto my phone - I have to do this from memory. I laugh in the face of danger. Let's get into it.

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1. That U2 album that they automatically forced onto all of our devices. I honestly don't think I ever listened to this album, at least mostly (sic) in protest of their breach of my privacy. But it was on my phone, so I'm including it. 

2. Robyn, Body Talk. This is one of my all-time favorite albums, definitely top 3. If you bartended with me, or drank beer I served you late at night - you've heard this album. She absolutely kills it on all but one track (3 or 4, i can't remember off hand). But that's the only skip on the album. Snoop Dog makes an appearance. True queen shit. 

3. Lorde, Pure Heroine.  It's a great album. Her voice is haunting, her songs are well written. You can listen to it on repeat once before needing to switch to something else. And you can sing along.

4. Hamilton Soundtrack. Went to college with Lin. Watched his ascent. Loved his progression to the most famous, and this play is a masterpiece. Fun fact, when I had to teach a 9am seminar to 500 students back in the day, I would choose a rap from this soundtrack to self perform on the way to class -- to wake up both my mouth and my mind. Sing alongability: 10/10. 

5. Janelle Monae, The Electric Lady. Another all time album. Tightrope. One of the few artists I actually knew about before one or two people. Gimme a gender queer Black women using Afro-futurism to explore both music and the Black lesbian experience. Fuck yes. It gives off Resevour Dogs soundtrack vibes in the way its intros and outros unite a narrative together. Also, it moves one's feet and brings me joy. 

6. The Grey Album, DJ Danger Mouse. I got introduced to this by a friend in Japan, well after it was cool. Danger Mouse mixes Jay Z's Black album and The Beatle's White Album. I can't say I rock this one all the time - but when it hits, it really hits. Since it was one of my first (and few) intro's into, "formalized DJ created music," (omg that phrase made my osteoporosis grow) the effect it had on my has been long lasting and, if some music snob were to look at this list, this is probably the only shredded cheese sized piece of street cred in the list. 

6b. I remembered after writing that I also had Jay Z's Black Album on there. But it must have been recorded from a different medium because it had some skips and scratches a la the cassette tape mix era.

7. Gotye, Making Mirrors. It was the pandemic, I took a flyer, and I gotta say, the album is more impressive than the lasting popularity it garnered him. In truth, I have no idea how famous Gotye is at the moment, or if he made another album, or maybe he's like sneaky super famous in some European country, like Hasselhoff. Regardless, it's not just Somebody That I used to Know. I can't say it jams all the way through, but well above average. Strange to have in a collection this size though, I'll give you that.

8. Two songs off of M.Ward, Transfiguration of Vincent. Only tracks 2 & 10. Vincent O'Brein and Fool Says. Both great songs. I have no idea how or why they got on the phone, but they got on the phone. And I'll say this. I know those songs pretty friggin well at this point. 

9. Bruno Mars single, Just The Way You Are. My Dad asked me to download this song to play for my Mom on either her birthday or Mother's Day. I downloaded it. And I played it. And now I own it. Forever.

10. Ok. Here's the bad one. It feels so bad that even going to type it makes me write more equivocation to try and pre-explain why these things are as they are . . . but i gotta just rip off the band-aid . . .

Iggy Azalea, The New Classic.  LET ME EXPLAIN!!! In 2014, when this came out, I was part of a semi-competitive beer league softball team. We each had walk up music and I thought it'd be IRONICAL to bat to Fancy, by Iggy. So I go to download the song, and END UP DOWNLOADING THE ALBUM. I did use the hell out of that walk up song, but I also spent the next decade self-loathing myself for Iggy Azalea music taking up a significant portion of my total digital library. That's my only excuse. Do not take this purchase as a representation of my endorsement of the product. Putting on "Black speak" to rap may be cool in Australia, but it hits different in the States. It's a hard pass by me . . . expect Fancy, which is a bop.

And that's all of it. Every song on my phone since, probably 2012-14. While my ADHD love for known repetition was quite obviously a contributor the longevity of this musical desiccation - the novel familiarity of my original music library, in its relatively infinite size, has added depth to the soundtrack to my life once again. While there is some real updating that needs to be done, I see you Kendrick, I know I'll get around to it 

by 2035.

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