Padawan Playlist: Friday Funday

We are actually a little early in the in-utero development process for daily listening so there has not been a list every day, hence a couple of days since the debut padawan playlist.  Moving forward though, lets set some expectation that the lists won’t go up every day.  Some days for whatever reason there might not be a family listening session.  Some days I might not be the house disc jockey to record it for posterity.  Some days we might be repeating songs and I’m thinking, at least at this point, the lists will be more about the storytelling of incorporating new songs to the aural experience of the little padawan.

So, “how are you selecting the songs,” you might ask.

Good question.

Honestly, we’re going to go with what we enjoy.  Passions range from opera to technical death metal to outlaw country to 80s hiphop to big band swing to female singer-songwriter to DCxHC to the early days of rock n’ roll to be bop jazz and so much more so the epic range of sonic qualities we’ll try to expose in the listening will be as diverse as the people providing it.  There’s some expectation to turn the kid into a headbanger, and sure, that’s certainly within the realm of reason but let’s just start with music and general and progress from there.  Each list will then entail some elements of what we happen to be listening to as individuals on a given day, what we are in the mood for during a given listening session, what music we’ve been “told” could be interesting to see if there are reactions from, music that’s already been through some kind of evaluation through other studies and would be interesting to include here, or otherwise happens to just be around at the time and could be cool to just play for the sake of playing – after all, not everything needs a ‘reason.’

Dear Padawan, today we listened to a few personal favorites.  I didn’t necessarily plan it that way, and I gave your mom even picks as well, so when I say it’s personal for me it just goes to show how much our interests can overlap despite not actually “liking” the same stuff.  Lesson here is that you don’t need someone with identical tastes to enjoy life with them, sometimes you just need enough overlap like a venn diagram to enjoy the most important things together.  <!–more–>

Iron Maiden “Wasted Years” – Probably my all-time favorite band (and the band that “made me metal”) with an all-time favorite songs (the song that not only made me metal but more importantly transformed my view of music overall at a formative time in my consumption) and one of my  all-time favorite inspirational lyrics: “Don’t waste your time always searching for those wasted years. Face up… make your stand.  And realize you’re living in the golden years.” There are so many awesome things about this song, from forgoing the typical Maiden cliches yet still sounding instantly like it is Maiden including some thrashing bass “soloing,” flashy guitar harmonies and militant drumming apart from the soaring vocal melodies that tie it all together.  The dynamics of the song are what does it for me though, because normally songs that are so driving come off as uni-dimensional and yet this feels to me much more dynamic in how it creates and releases tension.  Interesting note: The first mixtape I gave someone, it was the lead track. Somewhere in Time was the first CD I purchased for myself and I skipped forward to this to listen to.  When I bought my first hifi system with JBL studio speakers and a 150 watt Sony head unit it was the first song I blasted. When I went digital it was the first download I made and when I got a portable digital device it was the first song I loaded onto it.  Each apartment I moved into it was the first song I played while unpacking.  And so on…

Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett “It don’t mean a thing” – The song is one of the all-time great jazz standards and there are very few versions of it I don’t love.  While Tony will never encompass the legacy that was Sinatra and Gaga will likely never be the generation defying icon of Madonna the fact the two came together to bridge pop culture in a way rarely attempted makes this version notable.  We both love both artists individually and while I could be overly schoolastic in my critique what I enjoy is the interplay in the duet and how true it attempts to be to both their individual styles rather than feeling overly contrived or forced despite the depth of production – because it needs to stand up to such a poignant title.

the Beatles “All You Need is Love” – the number of times this song has probably appeared on this blog is insane and the reasons span from it features a simple, catchy melody attaches to your soul (and is among the few songs i can call up instantly to overcome nearly any earworm),  it was a song I used as part of paper writing in college because I’ve always adored because its construction since it’s “fun” beginning with the French anthem (a quaint hint at l’amour) to the 7/4 time signature that carries through it in this ever turning-backwards fashion that mimics love itself to the haunting outro where they quote off their own other love songs.  On any given day I’d call this my favorite Beatles song (or not less than top three) or a desert island top-ten of any artist. I could go on for paragraphs about the uniqueness of the song and how it touches me but what more do you really need than to know that it was ultimately important enough to be part of the processional at our wedding.

Benny Goodman featuring Gene Krupa “Sing, Sing, Sing” look, I’m a drummer, it was inevitable this would be in here.  There’s almost as much personal history with this song as Maiden’s “Wasted Years” from being one of the songs I bonded with my own father over about music to being an inspiration to my own percussive habits to one of the songs I will incessantly include on any multigenre mix because you’re not human if you aren’t moved by Gene’s primal approach to groove.   Next to the Super Mario Brother’s theme the tom solos in this probably are among the top ear worms I have battling tinnitus these days and I remember working out all kinds of variations to this from my first foray into double-bass to marching band quadtoms to how could I figure out keystrokes that mimicked it while suffering through writer’s block.

Jean Sibelius op. 26 Finlandia – I performed “Finlandia” in high school orchestra and fell in love with it and experienced it again in a community orchestra while in college and discovered new reasons for that as I decomposed it in classes earning my degree. Experiencing it as part of Unitarian Universalist ceremony at All Souls in NYC gave it an incredibly spiritual different meaning even deeper than the personal adoration I had for it’s compositional dynamics.






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