I know that this is, for all intents and purposes, a music blog, but there’s a lot that I think about and one of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is the ways in which the consumption of cultural products contributes to the creation/presentation of identities. People get ideas about other people based on what they like, what they own, etc. People who read this blog probably get a certain idea about me based on what I write about/how I write.
Anyway, I cleaned out my car today and pulled the following 15 CDs out of my glovebox and I was thinking, the music that you listen to when you’re alone and have no one to impress is probably the music that speaks the most to your actual (non-constructed) identity. So, in the interest of transparency (and to better advance my quest to prove just how un-cool I am), here is what I pulled out of my car:
Asobi Seksu, Asobi Seksu (Friendly Fire Recordings, 2004) I got this for $1 from the Half Price Books in Mayfield. Shoegaze, dreampop, cheap as all get out.
Big Star, #1 Record/Radio City (Stax, reissued 1992) This belongs to Drew — it’s perfect for late night drives. The last time I listened to this I think we were driving back from Oberlin. It sounded just right in the country-dark.
The Casual Dots, The Casual Dots (Kill Rock Stars, 2003) I bought this when I was a junior (?) in high school because I was obsessed with their cover of “Bumblebee.” It’s still my favorite song on the album.
Gaze, Mitsumeru (K Records, 1998) Best pop CD! I could listen to this album over and over — “Jelly Beans” and “Peeking Shows His Ignorance” are perfect songs.
Husker Du, The Living End (Warner, 1994) Husker Du live album. I got this from the used bin at Music Saves. Normally I’m not crazy about live albums, but this isn’t half bad. I mainly keep it in the car so that I don’t have to keep more than one Husker Du album with me.
Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville (Matador, 1993) Another album that I bought in high school. It will never get old.
Lois, Strumpet (K Records, 1993) If you’re going to keep just one Lois album in your car, it should be Strumpet. I feel like a lot of people overlook Lois, which is a real shame — she writes solid songs and has collaborated with some great musicians. She’s definitely one of my favorite K artists.
Los Campesinos!, Hold On Now, Youngster… (Arts and Crafts, 2008) These songs are just so good! Honestly, when this first came out, I thought I would burn out on it pretty quickly, but years later I still feel my heart get caught in my chest during “This Is How You Spell “HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics”” when Gareth says, “I know. I am wrong. I am sorry.”
Mary Lou Lord, Got No Shadow (Sony/Work, 1998) Mary Lou Lord can be kind of tepid, it’s true, but “Some Jingle Jangle Morning” is perf — especially the “no one sees much of anyone these days” line.
The Microphones, Mt. Eerie (K Records, 2003) Drew bought this for me for $1 from the CD/Game Exchange on Coventry — honestly, I’m not super crazy about this for general listening, but it’s good for solo nighttime drives.
Mirah, C’mon Miracle (K Records, 2003) My favorite Mirah album for the car is actually that rarities comp that Modern Radio put out a couple of years ago, but C’mon Miracle is full of sweeping, majestic pop songs tinged with sophistication and sadness.
The Promise Ring, The Horse Latitudes (Jade Tree, 1997) From the second this starts up and I hear that opening line (“There will be ice cream”), I always feel my spirits lift.
Shonen Knife, Heavy Songs (Confidential Recordings, 2003) Another Music Saves used bin find — Japanese all-girl pop punk trio.
Sugar, Copper Blue (Ryko, 1992) I love Husker Du and I love Bob Mould and I love Sugar and “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” is singular in its greatness.
Various Artists, Fall Mix ’09 (made by Alana, 2009) This is a mix that my friend, professional tattoo artist and karaoke enthusiast, Alana, made me. It’s all nineties emo (The Promise Ring, American Football, cap’n Jazz, etc.) and it rules. Maybe I’ll upload it since it’s fall again.