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A Musical Hierarchy

Do other people have a music hierarchy? When listening to the radio in the car and you are faced with the choices of two acceptable songs or even two songs in general, what determines which one you stop on?

For instance, for me from this past week, Muse trumps Red Hot Chili Peppers but loses to Death Cab for Cutie, particularly if it’s from the new album of both, but Red Hot Chili Peppers would come before Oasis, for example. Alternative 80’s (Cure, Depeche, Duran (of course), Human League (except for Human—God, I hate that song), etc. wins out much of the time except for really new songs that I adore.

Between “Sometime Around Midnight” by The Airborne Toxic Event and “Little Lion Man” by Mumford and Sons, both songs that just slay me, the later would probably win because it is newer and I haven’t heard it as much.

There are artists who, if they are the only choice, lose to commercials or even to silence. Coldplay, for example, or James Taylor or (shudder) John Mayer. And this isn’t even counting artists that I don’t even know, or simply dislike as a type—country, country lite (Lady Antebellum), most R&B, much top 40.

Though choosy, I am much more egalitarian than my husband. I will nostalgically stop on Hall and Oates (this morning) or Phil Collins, while my husband would probably rather stick his head out the window in on-coming traffic. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of artists that he would listen to that I wouldn’t, at least not any that would be played on the radio. For a short time, for some reason, every time my husband was in the car with me a Jane’s Addiction song would come on—either ‘Been Caught Stealing’ or ‘Jane Says’—and while we both mildly like Jane’s Addiction it grew almost frustrating.

This also leaves aside the question of whether you will sit in the car and listen to a song that you have on MP3 not a foot away, or could go inside and listen to on CD. For the most part I mainly plug in the MP3 but for short trips it seems silly, and how else would I hear new music to sample?

Ah, well, there’s always NPR.

There's a radio show on the alternative station (sort of) in Boston at lunch time called "Left-Over Lunch" that plays 80's and 90's music for an hour. And today on the way back from the mechanic I got to hear:
Age of Consent by New Order (which I don't have on MP3)
Ever Fallen in Love (Buzzcocks--also don't have)
This is Radio Clash (which I do have)


Also got to hear Interpol's Slow Hands after the hour was up. Which I do have but it proves the above.


Mari said…
Now that you mention it, I do have a musical hierarchy. My choices depend mostly on my mood. I just discovered Gen X radio in KC - mainstream 80s/90s. I must be feeling nostalgic for the old days.

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