October 03, 2006

Music Map Across the Country: Day 1

For almost a year, this blog has given people a chance to read about bands they have or have not heard. It is to the best of my knowledge that you, the reader, have taken this blog as seriously as I have. I have given you my humble opinion on many different topics regarding music. Though all my reviews have been a joy to write, I can honestly say I enjoy making my lists the most. Not because I want to say one album is inferior to the other, nor am I trying to force my opinions on you. I just like to express my view in writing. This blog has given me a chance to get out all the things I can’t think of saying when I am in the car with you, trying to describe the magic the cd I just put in for you holds. It has made me grow and made me think more about almost any other topic I have ever had to think about in the past (sad, but true). And the best part is…I love it.

What I am about to write is more powerful than any list I have made. This list took over 40 straight hours worth of dedicated listening to construct. This isn’t even a list. It is a map. A map of my journey across the country. Many people dream of doing what I almost took for granted a month ago. With no passengers, no movies, no interruptions (other than traffic and rest stops) I drove from Ontario NY to Lynnwood WA. I thought long and hard about how I was going to operate my selection of music for this trip. I decided not to construct the list before I left. Rather I got in my car, acknowledged the mood I was currently in, and went from there. My plan was to adapt my listening selection to the scenery and frame of mind I was in at that very moment. I wanted my atmosphere to be determined by the album selection. I didn’t plan on listening to a single cd. I did a LOT of page flipping and a lot of swerving, but I found the album that was just right for my mood damn near every time.

With that said, I hope you benefit from my dorkish ways in some way. Maybe if you have a friend who lives 3000 miles away that you want to visit, this will help you out on your trip. But if I may make a suggestion, I suggest letting the music and the road make your pick for you. It makes for a much more stimulating journey. Enjoy!

Day 1:
Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
It was raining, I was miserable, and Jeff Tweedy was the answer I was looking for. His amazing songwriting made for a great solemn, gratifying sing along to get my trip started.

Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head
Unfortunately I didn’t know all the words to Hotel Foxtrot and I was still cheerless over leaving my home. Luckily Chris Martin and I have a solid bond and I was able to sing my heart out.

The Boy Least Likely To – The Best Party Ever
A gift from a dear friend 10 hours before I left. I was there the day he bought it and first listened to it. He came up to me in the record store, money burning a hole in his pocket and said “This has a funny little cover.” To which I replied “I hear they’ve got a neat sound too.” 15 minutes later in the car I heard one of the greatest and most exact descriptions of an album I’ve ever heard. “It’s like Teletubbies…on crack.” Thanks Matty.

Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism
A Seattle band making quite a big wave in the pop scene. It’s moving, loud and emotional. Everything I was looking for. Plus it got me thinking about the amazing music scene I was about to be a part of which cheered me up a little bit.

Eels- Live from Town Hall
Mark Oliver Everett knows how to create one hell of a show. And seeing how it was the next page over from Death Cab, I figured what the hell. Great tunes make this album one of the easiest listening albums of my collection.

(Time for a sidenote: Keep in mind I am in the car by myself, so obviously there were times on this trip I didn’t give a shit what cd was going in next. So if you see a string of albums in alphabetical order, obviously I didn’t feel like flipping all over the place to find something.)

John Frusciante – Curtains
Still gloomy outside. I needed something a little more down but with a little more soul. Frusciante’s solo album ‘Curtains’ has that and more. I strongly recommend any and all of his solo work. (Sidenote: Frusciante is one of the smartest musicians I have ever known. He has a big label contract with a million dollar band (Red Hot Chilli Peppers), yet he is able to retain his personable strengths by keeping his solo stuff off the radar…pure genius)

Imogen Heap – Speak For yourself
Still dark and overcast, I needed something with a little more…umph. Her album was the perfect mix of electronics and keyboards I needed in a day full of males singing with guitars.

Gomez – How We Operate
An album I could listen to over and over again. My newest infatuation. Gomez’s new album has just the right pop sound to carry you from the gloom into the sunlight! Although it was already dark and Chicago was full of traffic…it still worked. I really enjoyed singing along with this one.

Killers – Hot Fuss
Pick me up music was in order after Gomez put the smile on my face even though the atrocious Chicago construction took it away. (Sidenote: Do NOT drive thru the city for at least another 2 years. Roads are torn up everywhere and there’s not a single sign pointing you in the right direction. You just pick a lane and pray to god it was the right one). Old favorites that I knew well and brought me safely to our campsite.

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