Monday, April 20, 2009

The Ultimate Playlist (aka: mixtape #1)

I would say that I probably love music. Most likely more than the average everyday person. I would also say I couldn't nail down my favorite genre; I am as likely to listen to Miles Davis as to Billy Idol...though I guess Miles would win if it came down to it. He does claim the ring on my cell phone after all. For a couple of years, I kind of fell out with music purchase, and came rather late to the electronic music revolution. I was sticking to my guns with hundreds of cassette tapes, an ample vinyl collection, and of course the CD. I think I may have been stubborn.

9/14/2007 at 8:49 p.m. changed all of that. That was my first foray into the downloading universe. And I'm sure that I only began because I got an iTunes gift card for my birthday in September. It all began with Carmen McRae's You Took Advantage of Me.

Some time ago I read Stephen King's article on his top 20 most played songs in Entertainment Weekly. I never looked at my play counts until after his article. Then I realized that there is something to it. Tracking songs that you listen to again and again seems to show you what you already know to be true about yourself. It's no secret that every song somehow transports you to another place or time, either one you experienced firsthand, or one that you somehow missed out on due to age or morality.

So without further delay, my top 10 most played songs (maybe the next ten will appear in a day or two). I will preface with the fact that I have only included purchased music since 9/14/07 - and have not included the collection of CD's that I have imported. I may make an exception as I keep writing, but I'll try not to. In the instance there are ties, I will pick my favorite or list both.

  • #1 You Took Advantage of Me - Carmen McRae. 59 plays.

I know that I have included this song on mixtapes sent out to at least 2 people for their listening enjoyment. I love Carmen McRae. In college, I was addicted to her songs in The Subterraneans soundtrack, which I still have and listen to on cassette. This song was playing in the opening credits of Real Genius. I guess I was too young to see this movie in 1985. I didn't see it until 2006. While the theme of the song, written in 1955 according to this discography: has nothing to do with high IQ college students in the 80's, it immediately endeared the movie to me.

  • #2 Almost Like Being in Love - Nat"King" Cole. 50 plays.

The greatest thing about downloading is that you can be thinking about a song you don't have somewhere either on cassette or album or CD and then for $.99 you can download it in your kitchen from your iPod. That's how this song makes the cut. Again, a movie motivator. This was the closing song from Groundhog Day, a film I saw in the theater 3 times when I was in highschool. I have other versions of this song, the Charlie Parker version being a distant second with only 19 plays. I think this song is great, but the play count is probably also high because the length of the song is only a minute and 56 seconds...

  • #3 Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes. 49 plays.

Another song that popped into my head one day after remembering and reseeing the movie Duets. Not Good. Please don't go and watch it because you saw it here. But this song is addicting, as you can see.

  • #4 Destination Unknown - Missing Persons. 44 plays.

My husband actually downloaded this song, and I think the plays are up there because I played Genius playlists of other songs (probably Bette Davis Eyes) and it automatically plays this song like every 5 minutes. I like the song fine, but I think I'm a little over it. Kind of like Gary Neuman's Cars.

  • #5 Paper Planes -MIA (Kala Bonus Track Version). 38 plays.

It's important to know the version of this song - because seriously, there are like 200. Every other version is not as good. This has the Clash's Straight to Hell sample predominately out in front like it should be, making the reason it's so catchy and good to begin with. I am rather out of touch with mainstream music, and originally thought this song became so popular due to Pineapple Express. But this song wasn't in that movie to my knowledge, and I really don't know why it became so popular. I'm sure someone does - if you do, please let me know.

  • #6 Lovesong - The Cure. 37 plays. 38 as I write.

I can not get enough of this song. I had to hit play when I saw it. I'm sure I was just a smidge too young when this originally hit the airwaves.

  • #7 Night and Day - Charlie Parker. 36 plays.

I really do love Charlie Parker, and this song in particular I guess. I think most jazz is amazing because how can you really tell who is playing an instrument? But you can, and Charlie Parker is one of the most amazing. It requires attention to listen to this in my opinion because it seems to change and I hear it differently each time.

  • #8 28 Butts - Little Jackie. 34 plays.

I heard Little Jackie on the radio when I was driving around last summer, and got totally addicted to this song. She's funny too: "I think back to the days I was smoking Kerouac -it was really kinda like an addiction, nonfiction, just reading my days and nights away". Maybe I identify with that.

  • #9 Kiko and the Lavender Moon - Los Lobos. 33 plays.

I can't get enough Los Lobos. I'm sure this playcount would be higher, but I recorded this to a CD and listen that way alot of the time. This track is the title of the album, but I think the whole album would rate as high. Tied at 31 plays are Wake up Dolores and Saint Behind the Glass (which I noticed was in the movie Nacho Libre - which I will endorse here and tell you to go and rent it now...).

  • #10 La Receta - Kemo the Blaxican. 28 plays.

Downloaded 11/28/2008 after seeing 10 Items or Less - another great movie. If you listen to this song, you keep hitting the replay. It's got a horn section, enough said...and anything in Spanglish... The recurring theme here seems to be that on the occasion that I am able to watch movies, the music is just as important as the film, or maybe that they go hand in hand, are better than the film, or are the reason for the film.

So maybe you will go and do as I did to Stephen King's playlist and preview them in iTunes to see what it is that made him write about them. Or link here to see his top 20 on the EW website:,,20198509,00.html

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