This comes courtesy of Working Through It - with thanks.
"Instructions: put your fruit-flavoured or other brand MP3 player on Shuffle, and write down the first 15 songs that come on, and what they mean to you (if anything).
Now the temptation here is obviously to scroll through your songs and pick the 15 most interesting, and chuck in one embarassing one to make it look honest - or you can do it properly."
I will admit to two things on this. For the most part I've done this properly. I had a lot of double ups with the Arctic Monkeys, so I have skipped over two of their songs. I think this is fair - you can only listen to so much Arctic Monkeys.
Second thing to admit to. Every time I put my iPod on shuffle, invariably it will play Radiohead's Paranoid Android at least three times. I am gobsmacked to find that Paranoid Android - nor any Radiohead got into this list. Pity I can't say the same for the Arctic Monkeys.
One last thing. I'm normally very careful about who I let near my iPod for fear of derision or humiliation. The last time Glen Waverley got his hands on it he was too busy pissing himself laughing at the fact I had a Gary Glitter song on there - and the Bee Gees. Sheesh - like he's perfect, Mr "Placebo should Rule the World". I also remember looking through another friend's iPod and thinking I'd have to break off the friendship. A 43-year-old straight man had no real reason to have that much crap nineties dance music at their beck and call. It just wasn't right.
I'm also putting down a sixteenth song. Just because. Your tube links can be found in the titles.
1) It's Probably Me - Sting
Oh this song has a history. 1993. It reeks of an inappropriate, badly-endowed Irishman from County Galway - this was one of his favorite songs. It's also off one of my favorite albums - Ten Summoner's Tales - in particular the song "Shape of my Heart" brings on a tender melancholy like no other. This song, however, reminds me of Padraig, the car salesman, living in very ordinary digs in Belsize Park, working crappy temp jobs, being lifted up by the joys of Sting. The whole album is well worth a listen - I know I play it regularly. Thankfully, the Irishman is no longer in contact (indeed, alcohol and denial have probably killed him by now) but the song remains liked. Even if it reminds me of Padraig.
2) No Aphrodisiac - The Whitlams
Ah, The Whitlams. Other than the one and only Gough is one of my heroes, this band are some of the best Australian adult alternative about. I get this song. "A letter to you on a cassette, cos we don't write any more...". So nineties. Well before skype and email. I don't think I've ever put a letter on a tape, preferring to write instead. But I have made many mixed cassettes in my time. I had this album on my car for nearly a year. This was the first song on the album which I scored of Sam many years back. Love it.
3) Bloody Mother Fucking Arsehole - Martha Wainwright
I came to Martha Wainwright by way of Dream Group a few months ago. This song is deeply moving. I can't talk directly about dream group in this blog so I can't say what went down - needless to say, this was the score to one of the most poignant and powerful evenings I've ever experienced. Martha Wainwright does pain really well.
4) Hard to Handle - Otis Redding
OTIS! Music by which you dance around the house naked. Love Otis Redding. I love old R & B.
5) Don't Marry Her (F*ck Me) - The Beautiful South
Oh why, oh why did this song have to come up. This is a Lachlan song. Whenever I was round at Lachlan's place, invariably The Beautiful South would be playing on the CD player. This is another London, mid-nineties flashback. The version they had for the radio had the lyric changed to "Don't marry her, have me." It would take me another two years to buy the album to find out what the real lyrics were, but there was no way that word would be heard on British Radio at the time. I have a funny feeling this was the song going through my head when I watched Lachlan get married... hmm.
6) Mardy Bum - The Arctic Monkeys
"Cos you're, argumentative, and you've got the face on."! I love the Arctic Monkeys. I love this song. They always remind me of a Mancunian friend of mine who regularly used some of the terms in the song. They're a great band, but I can't listen to them hour after hour for fear of wanting to go find a pint of Boddingtons, a pack of Marlboros and go hold up a bar with that friend as he complains about his boss who always "had the face on'.
7) Under the Weather - KT Tunstall
The whole of KT Tunstall's first album came my way by a London friend, Fleur - who also put on my hard drive a heap of Corinne Bailey Ray and Billy Bragg. Though she's a bit commercial, it's easy driving music. Easy listening for those with a brain. Good stuff - though a little banal now that most of the album has appeared on the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack.
8) Ruby Tuesday - The Rolling Stones
I don't have any strong associations with Ruby Tuesday, though I've always got a lot of the old Rolling Stones on my iPod. I could write reams about "Sympathy for the Devil" or "Satisfaction" or "As Tears Go By". Just another good Stones song. Just no story attached.
9) Feels Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
My current ringtone. London. Late nineties. Nirvana were amazing - and I'll always feel that way. This song will always remind me of rather drunken parties with my downstairs neighbours in West Hampstead, the pub after drama class and the feeling that my youth was still firmly intact. Kurt Cobain's sound is still as raw as steak tartare with embedded razorblades. Perfection. Mind you, I think I love Nirvana because I idolise the Pixies. If there were no Pixies, Nirvana never would have surfaced.
10) Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio
No story attached to the song, though I know how this got here. I've collected all of the Triple J Top 100 albums and this got here by one of those. I don't mind it - in fact a little gangsta wrap I can take - well the soft stuff like The Fun Loving Criminals is fine. It was attached to a film with Michelle Pfeiffer in it - Dangerous Minds.
11) Vamos - The Pixies
V Festival, 2008, mosh pit. 2000 people in their late thirties, bald spots, glasses, sensible shoes, constantly checking the phone to see that the baby sitter hasn't called. This song goes on. The late-thirty somethings go MENTAL. The Pixies are GOD. All Hail Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal and the guy who looks like Uncle Fester. Everything the Pixies have put out is GOLD. This is no different. Though I have no idea what the song means as most of it is in Spanish. Vamos, vamos, vamos!
12) Walk the Dinosaur - Was (Not Was)
How in the HELL did this get here. Oh yes. In 2003 I moved to Greece for a few months. I left my CD's with my friends Bernie and Gav. This one found it's way into my CDs and I keep forgetting to return it. Okay, it has a catchy riff (Boom boom aka lakka lakka boom). That's about all it has going for it. Better return the CD to Gav - soon - to get my street cred back.
13) Gamble Everything for Love (Ben Lee)
This is a beautiful song. Very catchy and very meaningful. It's on many of my playlists, just as I get a lot out of this song every time I listen to it. It's a bit of a mantra for me. Not that I've ever done it - but it offers me a challenge every time I play it. Ben Lee is pretty good too. He's got a wonderful energy. Claire Danes really stuffed up there.
14) Black Boys on Mopeds - Sinead O'Connor
Ah, great memories of this one. 1989. Adelaide. Sitting in this back alley coffee shop with my best friend Mariah, who put me on to the whole album - not just the Nothing Compares 2 U cover. This is a wonderful elegy to those who choose to have a relationship with somebody society sees and different. One of the few songs I know all of the words to, by heart. But it will always remind me of Mariah, who told me about this song as she told me about her burgeoning relationship with a newly arrived refugee. Truly gorgeous.
15) I Sucked a Lot of Cock to Get Where I Am - Regurgitator
How the hell did this get on here?! Don't like the song. Don't like Regurgitator. Think this is a Triple J special. I know if I dig deep, this could have been something by Machine Gun Fellatio or Garry Glitter. I should be thankful.
16) The Band Played Waltzing Matilda - The Pogues
My proxy song (as the last one was SOOOOO sucky) The Pogues reminds me of the boyfriend I had when I first got to London. This song moves me to tears. Either the original or this version. The only time I ever get patriotic. It speaks so eloquently of the futility of war. Having a number of uncles who served in World War One, it just stamps it home further. Shane McGowan gives it a rougher edge - but it's still a song that will bring me to tears by the second verse.
There you go- last time I ever let anybody into my iPod.