Musical Baton

As prompted by Amy’s post, here are my answers (below the break).

Amount of music on your computer?

See Amy’s post. Same general answer. I keep almost no music on any of my computers separately. It’s all on the RAID.

Currently listening to?

This is a tough one. I don’t end up listening to music a lot unless I set out to just sit down and listen for a while. I don’t have access to the collection at work, and my work space isn’t conducive to listening. At home, I’m usually on the laptop, which has crappy sound. There is always the stereo, but using it is disruptive enough that I don’t keep it on a lot. *shrug* Maybe I need to get a set of good headphones. That might make me listen more on the laptop. So, the short answer is that I simply haven’t listened much in a while.

Five songs that mean a lot to you?

Now we’ll get to some decent answers. But wow… only five?

  1. Survivor’s The Search is Over must be on this list. Over the last few years, I have largely grown out of songs like this, but this one just holds a special place for me. This is the song that introduced me to melodic rock (AKA “hair rock”). More than that, I think it’s the first song I ever connected with romantic feelings in my own life. It was elementary school puppy love, but we all know how little that means when it’s you that’s feeling it.  If you wrote a new song like this one, I think I’d find it simplistic and sappy, but this one has been “grandfathered”, so to speak.
  2. Indigo Girls’ Power of Two. This one was on a mix tape that Amy made for me back when we were getting to know each other. I think she sent it very shortly before she came to see me in Tuscaloosa that first time. It wasn’t a perfect fit, but there were aspects of the song that I identified with us. Regardless, it ties very strongly with my memory of that time.
  3. Vienna Teng’s The Tower. Vienna Teng is one of the very few artists who deeply stirs me both musically and lyrically. What I hear in this song is someone who is accustomed to being a listening ear and a rock for people but has realized that the well is not bottomless. Despite what she thought, she needs that kind of help sometimes, too. I was in a similar place in my life about 8 or 10 years ago. Unfortunately, now I feel like I’ve swung the other way… but that’s a subject for another post.
  4. Very much related, Harbor, also by Vienna Teng. This one is almost the flip-side of the last one (from her next album), and I think it very much expresses part of how I feel about Amy’s and my relationship: “You’ve got a journey to make/There’s a horizon to chase/So, go far beyond where we stand/No matter the distance I’m holding your hand …. The light in me will guide you home/All I want is to be your harbor”.
  5. His Righteousness, by Acappella. I remember exactly where I was when I first heard this song. I’m pretty sure I was just getting used to the idea that I was decent at singing bass in church, and this song just blew me away. Pretty much all the spiritual music I had been exposed to at that point was pretty standard church hymn stuff. Suddenly, here was this song that was all vocal harmony with chord combinations I’d never heard. I’m fairly certain that this song really began my fascination with vocal harmony.

Top five albums?

How do I answer this one? Top five in what category? To make things maybe a bit more interesting and get a better variety, let me put in five albums I own that I think come the closest to hooking me on every single song. That’s a rare feat for me, and I may have trouble coming up with five.

  1. Vienna Teng’s Warm Strangers. Any surprises here? Her first album left me a bit cold on a few songs, but I love almost every one of these.
  2. Metropolis, Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater. This is hard-core prog, and even better, it’s a hard-core prog concept album. It is almost mentally impossible for me to listen to this entire album in one sitting, but I love it.
  3. Caught in the Game by Survivor. This is one of their earlier albums that I just picked up in the last couple of years. Some of the songs are just as teenager-ish as The Search is Over, but they’re all fun to listen to. The last track is the hook for me, though. It’s a slightly dark ballad called Santa Ana Winds that, inexplicably, Amy and I both like.
  4. Pull by Winger. Having had a few weeks to ponder, I had to make a replacement for number 4. Paradise Theater is indeed a worthy creation, but if we’re taking about albums I like as complete albums, Pull kicks its butt. Most people remember Winger for their big hits (like Headed for a Heartbreak and Seventeen). Believe it or not, Kip “His Teeth Are Whiter Than White” Winger and the band actually managed to produce a really good hard rock album. Pull is almost entirely in minor keys, and it’s one of the best-produced hard rock albums I own. If this one had been their first album instead of their third, they may have had a chance to make more than three. (edited 6 December 2015: Actually, I discovered they did make more, they just didn’t have any more major hits.) Then again, the angst storm that blew down from Seattle in 1992 probably would have killed them even if Butt-Head had not. Anyway, this is good stuff.
  5. Metallica (AKA “The Black Album”). This one is probably a surprise for most people reading this. I won’t say it’s something I listen a lot to these days, but it’s one of the rare albums that held my attention throughout. I remember putting this one in my portable CD player and riding my bike back at UA when I was frustrated about something. Awesome stress reliever.

Last album bought?

I think that would be Redhead by Bleu. I haven’t gotten around to listening to all of this one yet, but I bought it on the strength of the song I Won’t Go Hollywood, which was on a demo CD that a Subaru saleswoman gave me for free because a sudden thunderstorm kept me from being able to drive a car. How’s that for random?

Recent discoveries?

Hmm… Bleu (mentioned above). I’m having a hard time thinking of others that truly qualify as “recent”. That Franz Ferdinand song is awfully catchy (you know the one I’m talking about), as are some of Maroon 5‘s songs. Those are both relatively recent. Oh… and I got introduced to some really interesting Scandanavian progressive rock (band names Focus and Trace). I don’t have any of that music yet, though.

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