Friday, April 17, 2009

Music Matters

My love affair with music took a back burner as my hearing deteriorated, but it's been rekindled as I've been striving toward fitness. My criteria for judging it has changed however. I used to be a total lyric man, caring not a whit for beat or melody. (When the kids were young we used to play the "humming game" where you took turns humming a song and competing to see who could name it first. I reeked at this game -- not only couldn't guess a lyricless tune but lacked the rhythm to even hum one of my own favorites.) Now I judge songs by how good they are to work out to. So I guess you could say I'm not more concerned about beat and melody, but lyrics are still important -- they have to be positive if not inspirational. I can't work out to a track with a downbeat message. "Check Yes, Juliet" by We the Kings is a hard rocking anthem about young love that is great to work out with. Their followup "Skyway Avenue" has a similar sound but lyrics with suicidal imagery. Not very sweat-inspiring. For me anyway.
All of which is a roundabout way of saying if you too are looking for good workout music, you should download the free song of the week from I-Tunes. It's "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" by Ida Maria. Great beat and inspirational lyrics. (Well, if you're like most people and your main reason for working out is to look good naked. )


BTW, I've already bought more brand new CDs this year than last. Last year I bought a grand total of one -- "All Rebel Rockers" from Michael Franti and Spearhead. This year I've purchased "Middle Cyclone" from Neko Case and "The '59 Sound" from The Gaslight Anthem. I liked what I'd heard from Neko's CD -- particularly "People Got a Lot of Nerve" and "This Tornado Loves You" but I decided to buy the CD because of the last track -- "Marais la Nuit" which is 31 minutes and 39 seconds of frogs croaking. I'm always looking for some new white noise to mask my tinitus when I go to sleep and right now I'm enjoying frogs more than waves and waterfalls, and for some reason you couldn't download just this track; it was only available on the album.
Gaslight Anthem I've written about before, but I just love these guys. I don't think I've been this excited about a band since I first heard the Ramones. I was introduced to them and the title track to their new album on one of the music blogs I read, loved it, downloaded another ("Great Expectations" which manages to reference both Charles Dickens and Bob Seger -- and actually "The '59 Sound" references Dickens too, now that I think about it; I'm starting to gain new insight into why I love this band), loved it, downloaded "Here's Looking at You, Kid", which is way too slow to cut it as a workout song but it's one of my favorites nonetheless. The line "Tell her it's all right" blows me away every single time I hear it in context. When it turned out that I liked "Old White Lincoln" just as much as the three previous downloads I figured I might as get the whole album. Good decision. These guys rock -- I mean, real rock, like hip-hop never infiltrated the artform.