Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Celebrity Playlist

I’m a big fan of iTunes Celebrity Playlists. One of the best ways to discover new music is through passionate and adamant recommendations; you can learn a lot about someone when you know what kind of songs really mess with them. Such is the beauty of a celebrity playlist. So when you ask a narcissistic, image-obsessed famous person to produce a list of their all-time favourite tracks, you’re bound to get some good (if not hilarious) stuff. Even if their publicists write the lists on their behalf, you know damn well that said publicist thought long and hard about what will make the celebrity look cool and smart, but not overly pretentious. Excellent musical knowledge is one way to convince people you’re relevant.

A good playlists may even endear you to a celebrity you once thought was a fool (which is exactly what the celebrities' labels want. I am a corporate cog). Case in point, when I saw Ashlee Simpson had a playlist, oh some, three years ago, I was ready to laugh at her embarrassing choices. But when she picked Cyndi Lauper’s cover of ‘When you were mine’, I couldn’t hate her anymore for a few days.

Also, celebrity playlists are educational. A few things I’ve learned from years of following the lists:
1. Celebrities think Wilco RULES
2. Famous people love Antony & the Johnsons – namely lead singer Antony Hegarty’s androgynous voice. There are lots of androgynous people in Hollywood. It makes sense.
3. Prince and/or Bob Dylan are on everyone’s list. It makes me think that Prince and Bob Dylan have a lot more clout in Hollywood than you’d think (okay fine, they’re just awesome, there’s probably nothing suspicious going on here they’ve gotten to me too).
4. The Beatles don’t appear anywhere, because if it ain’t sold on iTunes, it ain’t going on your list. Instead, you’ll notice an imbalance of songs from Paul McCartney & Wings, because people are clearly trying to make up for their inability to tell everyone how much they loved Rubber Soul.
5. I hated Sarah Silverman a little bit when she produced a lackluster effort. Was she trying to be funny? Or just didn’t care? Lack of effort and ambivalence are ugly.
6. Paul Rudd’s playlist features more than two of my favourite songs. We’re obviously meant to be.
7. Judging rich people is fun!

All right, time to get down from my ivory tower of musical superiority. I’m going to make my own playlist. All of the following songs are immensely special to me and I happen to think they are all really, really good. Of course, as soon as I hit publish on the blog, I’ll regret my choices and spend the rest of the day thinking about what I should have done instead. NO. It’s set in stone. These songs are the awesome. They come from different genres and might not mesh, but they’re my most favouritest ear worms.

Links provided for your listening pleasure. Headphones are recommended for maximum cerebral effect. Would love to know what you think and what you’d put on your own playlist, were you given the chance (here’s your chance).

1. Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks My favourite song of 2009. Seriously cannot stop listening….. go now!

2. Fiona Apple – Paper Bag. In university, when DKM and I broken up ( Sigh. Young, troubled love.) I used to get really drunk and sing this song to my roommate Cath. I’d pull her into my bedroom and serenade her until she got super uncomfortable and tried to leave. Then I’d sing it to her again. Then I’d play her Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights because it says “Cathy” in the lyrics. Paper Bag is probably my favourite song to sing out loud. I really miss Fiona Apple.

3. Neutral Milk Hotel – In an Aeroplane over the sea. I was always obsessed with this song (key track of a concept album dedicated to Anne Frank…..yep) but never knew where it came from. With no context, I just figured it was a sweet little jingle. I recently became even more obsessed when someone alerted me to this article about singer Jeff Magnum. After releasing this record, Magnum all but disappeared off the face of the earth. He’s been called ‘the JD Salinger of indie rock.” Awesome.

4. Nina Simone – I Got Life The ULTIMATE pump up song. So it might be about slavery, but just try and not feel good listening to it.
Publish Post
5. Sloan - The Lines you Amend. Let’s hear it for the Canadian contingent! Sloan isn’t one of my favourite bands, but this tune from ‘One Chord to Another’ gets me every time. It's upbeat, and catchy with a kick ass melody, but the lyrics are quite sad. I love a song that brings you up and down within three minutes. That’s powerful stuff.

6. Rufus Wainwright – Poses. This is what dreamy sounds like. Poses is the kind of tune that stays with you forever.

7. Hank Snow – A Fool Such as I Old Country. Not for everyone. Definitely for me.

8. The Cure – Lovesong The perfect pop song. Catchy and repetitive. Rolling drums. Robert Smith looks inappropriately plaintive in the video. It’s got everything.

9. Eddie Vedder – No Ceiling One minute and thirty-nine seconds of goodness. My only complaint? I wish it were longer. Oh but, Eddie, I can’t stay mad at you. Meow.

10. Frank Sinatra Witchcraft It’s hard to pick one Sinatra song, but Old Blue Eyes can’t be excluded from my list. He wouldn’t allow it. My earliest musical memories all involve Frank.

11. Radiohead – True Love Waits One for the lovers. I go through months-long phases where I play this song constantly. As hard as I try to kill it, it never goes away. That’s the mark of a truly great track.

12. Lauryn Hill – Ex-Factor Remember when Lauryn Hill was this good? Feels like forever ago.

13. Pink Martini – Hang on Little Tomato For times when you need to hear from a woman with a really beautiful voice

That was fun.


  1. I wish you had one ounce of good taste in music. This list was horrendous, I actually threw up reading some of these picks.

    Neutral Milk Hotel is for hipsters.

  2. I wish you weren't such a sissy.

    I'd go on your site and make fun of you, but nobody reads tumblr. Tumbleweeds I call it. I vomit on your stupid tumblr and your passe Frank Sinatra essays.

  3. Guy, you're using blogspot as your blogging platform. That's the equivlent of using Myspace for status' updates instead of Facebook (Wordpress) or twitter (tumblr).

    I bet you still use your grade 9 hotmail account don't you? Need a Google Wave invite?

  4. Oooooh lots to think about: judgment, rich people, taste, choice, best-of's, dissing, music to lyric emotional sync or lack thereof...

    I tell myself I'll make a list... But of course I never will. It's fear of judgment and a complex of superiority, all at once. But it's nice to think about it.

    Another cracking post Meredith dear.

    x BJ

  5. What about Hail, Hail? Best song of all time.

  6. BJ You're far too thoughtful and eloquent to honour this shitty blog with your comments.

    And that last comment could only be from my dear brother. Hail hail is sweet.

    Letterman link here:

  7. You underestimate yourself and your blog my dear :-)

    Write some more...

    x BJ


Ramble on...