Anatomy of your ipod

So as a birthday treat to myself, I decided to go further into debt upgrade my iPhone. Since I’m already living beyond my means, I figured why not splurge on a model with more memory. I’d been surviving with about half of my music library, which seemed doable; I picked which songs I wanted to listen to and would theoretically switch some of them out when I grew tired of them. Of course, being as lazy as I am, I never got around to switching any songs out, so I eventually got sick of all of the music on my pod. Then there’d be times I’d think to myself “Hey self, I really want to hear X song right now” only to realize it’s one of the songs that didn’t make the grade.

Now, all that’s changed and I can listen to all my songs whenever I want. But this has made me realize that there are certain types of songs that everyone has in their music library. I am more than 100% certain that your music is composed of any number of the following categories:

Songs You Cannot Stop Playing. These are probably songs you’ve recently downloaded and are on heavy rotation. Usually these are flash in the pan songs that have a great beat, but not much else going on. Like that guy/girl you dated for about a month who was slammin’ but the personality of a wet dishrag. These songs usually replace and then quickly become Songs You Couldn’t Stop Playing, Then Stopped Playing, and Now Never Want to Listen to Again.

Eternal Songs. Unlike Songs You Cannot Stop Playing, Eternal Songs are the types of songs that no matter how many times you listen to them, you will always love them. Or maybe they’ve dropped off your radar momentarily, but when you rediscover it you think to yourself “God, I love this song. I should listen to this more.”

Songs with Nostalgic Value. Remember that summer when you and your friends went on that crazy road trip and Sarah got poison ivy on her cooter when she peed in the woods? Or that party where Mark jumped off the roof onto the trampoline, but missed and landed in Steve’s mom’s begonias? Yea, “Send In The Clowns” always reminds me of that. These are songs that you instantly associate with a specific time/person/event in your life. Not to be confused with…

Songs with Nostalgic Value but Annoy the Shit Out of You. These songs are still nostalgic, but not in a good way. They immediately conjure up mental images of friends who’ve scorned you, or exes who dumped you, or people you just plain don’t like. For instance, I had to remove Jason Mraz’s “The Remedy” from my iTunes because this douche I used to work with in college always played it on repeat from his cubicle. Literally whenever you stopped and listened, it would be playing. And I can’t hear that song without cringing and thinking of filing college admissions essays…ugh. Bad memories.

Songs You Heard From Your Grandmother. This encompasses any number of solid gold oldies that you listen to even if you never heard them from your grandmother, because her victrola didn’t play Abba. Don’t act like you don’t think about what it’d be like to live when these songs were big. Like being a flapper when you listen to big band music or seeing Studio 54 firsthand while Donna Summer is pumping in your earbuds. That’s why you listen to oldies.

Songs That You Won’t Let Your Grandmother Listen To. Mostly explicit rap and/or R&B songs detailing just how freaky one is/plans to be. The more hard-core, the less likely you’ll let Nana listen to it. More often enjoyed for a good 5th grade giggle at the brazen things said. (Yea I used the word “brazen” in reference to rap music, what of it?) Think back to the first time you heard Ludacris’ “Fantasy”. Did you not chuckle just a little bit thinking about doing it in the White House, tryin’ to make them turn the lights out? Not to be confused with Songs You Played for Your Mom Without Knowing All The Words First. See this post.

Sometimes these songs can become Songs That Were Funny the First Time You Heard Them But Have Since Lost Their Charm. You mat have read my comparative analysis of Bootyhole vs Take a Lick. While those songs make me chuckle, they are not nearly as funny the 30th time around. And the Ukes’ “Gay Boyfriend” has definitely stopped being kitschy after years of passing it around the interwebs.

Songs You Hope Never Show Up on Shuffle When Your IPod is Used at a Party. Otherwise known as Secret Shame songs. This could mean anything to anyone, but they are the songs that you really like but would never admit to in a crowd. Maybe it’s because you’re supposed to love Goth music, and Taylor Swift is as far from goth as you can get, or because you’re 30-something and you really love this one song by “The Wiggles”. Either way, it’s on your iPod and you aren’t proud of it.

Songs Downloaded For a Specific Playlist But You’ve Only Listened To Once. Sophomore year of college, I made my group of friends a CD of all the songs over the course of that year that we’d had a joke about, in one respect or another (Yea I’m that guy. Whatever, it’s not like I macramed them anything…that was senior year). But I cannot tell you a single song on that CD, as I haven’t listened to them since then (except for the extended version of “Thank You For Being a Friend” by Andrew Gold).

Songs You Downloaded Just So You Can Say You Listen To These Songs. This might be specific to a certain brand of person, music elitists we’ll call them. Conversations with this person about these types of songs go a little something like this:

You: “Hey, what are you listening to?”

Music elitist: “Oh it’s just this obscure band I discovered called ‘Shoebox Treetrimmers’. I’m really into them lately. You’ve probably never heard of them.”

You: “Why am I friends with you again?”

Songs You “Discovered”…Along With Half of America Because It Was Featured on Grey’s Anatomy. I’m gonna be up front with you, I find a lot of new music via television shows, movies, commercials, Starbucks and what have you. I have no shame in my game.

Songs That You Have Absolutely No Idea Why You Own Them. This happens to me more often than not. I don’t know if I just blackout when I download music or if I selectively repress certain songs, but I’ve found a few songs in my repertoire (Natalie –Going Crazy), which constantly befuddle me. I don’t remember downloading it nor do I particularly like the song. I should just delete it, but why would I do that?

Songs That You Relate To/Try to Relate To/Desperately Want to Relate To But Probably Never Will. Songs are like movies, in that no one’s life is like that. Sure the general themes happen to everyone: falling in love, falling out of love, cheating, fighting, making out, making up, having fun with your friends, et al, but no song is going to fit your situation to a tee. Not that I think anyone is going to go Single White Female or Talented Mr. Ripley (according to gender) and imitate a song word for word. I’m just saying some people might need some definition to their lives and they think Paramore is the only thing that is capable of doing that.

Songs You Will Dance To No Matter What. See Christina Aguilera “Dirrty”. Seven years later and I still cannot help myself.


Anonymous said...

I have a Secret Shame song. It is by Alvin and the Chipmunks and it is amazing.

Debster said...

I have a duo "Songs I won't let my grandmother listen to"/ "songs that were funny the first time"... "If I F***" by Dookie Booty. I still chuckle for the first 30 seconds when it comes on, then get bored and switch to the next song.

P.S. why does this post have the label 'tampon flinging'? I'm sure there's a very logical reason behind that

Tony B. said...

Great call on the "Songs That You Have Absolutely No Idea Why You Own Them." I'm not quite sure why I always press "next" instead of just deleting the song... but it just doesn't seem right to get rid of it.

Caitlin said...

You are absolutely right. I am listening to a CD I have overplayed the shit out of, but I can't stop.

I definitely have a few too many songs I hope never come up in shuffle at a party. I'm sorry I like that one Jonas Brothers song! And let's not discuss WHY I have Spice Girls on there, considering I skip over them every time.

To go along with "songs you have no idea why you own", there are "songs you wish you'd never downloaded." Yeah, I want my $1.07 back iTunes, you can take Paralyzer by Finger Eleven song back.

I love this handy summary of my 3,728-song iPod! Thanks Chris!

Anonymous said...

what about christmas songs?

Anonymous said...

You forgot about "Songs You Download Just So They'll Show Up On Your AIM/GChat Plug-in So Everyone Will Think You're Super Underground". Yup, been there. I download indie rock groups along with the occasional Styx song to seem cool to my friends and colleagues over the internet. It was a big FML, however, when N*Sync came up when I was away from my computer and my entire office saw, "Bye Bye Bye" as my current music track. While deleting N*SYNC was a BIG eff you to Joey Fatone, I needed to do it for my own corporate reputation.

Anonymous said...

Dead on, Chris. My friends often mock me for loving songs from TV shows, commercials, movies, etc. Like, "Hey, Mallory, I know you'll love this one! It was in that Sony commercial!"

Anonymous said...

Also, not to self-promote, but I did a similar blog post in this area about the types of music one needs to listen to in certain situations.

It's borderline scientific so I suggest you ALL read it.


Anonymous said...

This is the best post ever! So true! And the Alvin and the Chipmunks remake of Purple Pills by eminiem... priceless... just sayin.

Loretta said...

I have a lot of secret shame songs. I get around it by having a specific playlist with "cool" songs that I play when other people are listening (in the car, lab, at home).

Frankie said...

you're hilarious and sooo right. Dirrrty NEVER gets old! Filthy... Nasty... too dirty to clean my act up. I'm still looking for chaps like those. And I'm not ashamed I get at least 1/3 my music from The Hills episodes, 1/3 from my best friend who was all over kings of leon 2 years before they made it (I dunno how she finds these bands... and I don't care) the other 1/3 is a secret. mwahaha

Anonymous said...

I'm totally on bored with your selection of "Dirrty." I think I actually placed it on a playlist the other night, only to shamefully skip it in the middle of the party because I didn't want the backlash.

But songs I'm ashamed of/songs that were funny the first time...Jingle Cats "Silent Night." Yes, it IS cats (the furry little housepet, yest) singing "Silent Night." It's worth listening to.

And songs you always come back to? Try "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd. It never gets old. Or songs you can ALWAYS relate to--try "Portions for Foxes," by Rilo Kiley. I identify with it more every time I go through a break-up. Instead of becoming less applicable, the more challenging lyrics only become more understandable. Like, "Oh...I think I get that one now..."

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