Motivation: Get Groovin’

I mentioned previously that cleaning can be considered a workout, and that that workout can be intensified by putting on some great tunage to shake your rump to.  So what’s a girl to do when none of the music in her collection suits her mood?  Or what if she’s feeling kind of blue and doesn’t really want to do anything, let alone clean?

Enter Stereomood.

In the vein of Pandora and all those other sites that help you find new music to listen to, Stereomood fills your computer with plenty of great stuff to listen to.  Just use the word cloud to choose your mood.  There’s even a “spring cleaning” option.


So now you get to kill two birds with one stone: Boogie down while cleaning and find new music you might not otherwise have heard.  When you’re done cleaning, so back to the main page and click on relax.  Grab a bonbon and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

There are other mood-to-music websites, but I find the music quality (sound quality) to be superior on Stereomood.  I haven’t tested this out completely, but it also seems as if you get a longer playlist allowance.  If interested, other choices are Musicovery and MeeMix.

*Let it be known, I am in no way affiliated with Stereomood.  It came up during a StumbleUpon session, and I thought it would be great background to my cleaning session (as my sewing session was a complete and utter bust).  Then I decided to blog about it.  So there you have it.*
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Seven years ago…

So…. John Allen Muhammad was executed on Tuesday (and all good killers go by their full name, natch).  Not a proponent of the death penalty, myself, but it brings up a lot of… stuff for me.  Not emotions, really.  I’m pretty much over the fact that I was living in VA during the DC Sniper incident and that two people were shot in the city I was living in (The Hippy reminds me that people are shot in the city I’m currently living in “all the time,” but I maintain there’s  difference).

Completely unrelated, I’ve been going through my iTunes in order to refresh the music on my ipods (yes, pods… whether I’ll change both of them or not is currently being internally debated).  In order to do this, I’ve been going through the list alphabetically and adding certain songs to an iPod folder.  I’ve been discovering songs I didn’t remember I had.  I’ve also been reminded of certain feelings that songs evoke for me.

It wasn’t until today that I realized why I feel uncomfortable when I listen to certain songs.  Certain songs that I used to love and used to listen to all the time.  Today I realized that there is a certain set of songs–songs I acquired roughly seven years ago–that sounds like fear.  These are the songs that I would escape to when I was safely back within my dorm, hoping my roommates wouldn’t turn on the news.  Some songs have been immune to this, either because I was listening to them long before the sniper incident (although there were two snipers, it’s ingrained to speak of them as a single) or because they are simply pure awesome.

They say that smells provoke the most memories, but I think for me it’s often music.

I’d like to teach me to sing in perfect harmony

(lyrics from Shine by Barry Privett/Carbon Leaf)

As a rule, I almost always sing the harmony line of whatever song is playing.  I don’t think doing this was a conscious decision.  I don’t know why I do it.  I tell myself it’s not because I’m like a music snob who has to be a show off.  It could be that.  I think, though, it’s mostly because it’s freaking fun.  I didn’t really think it was weird until a group of friends started singing a song, and I joined in, hitting the harmony at the appropriate moment.  And then I freaked out a little.  What if people thought I was showing off?  It’s certainly not my intention… It’s just the part I’m used to singing.

Photo: Carin Baer/FOX

Photo: Carin Baer/FOX

As a soloist I was… Okay.  Not because of how I sing.  I sing great (not to too my horn…).  What’s missing from solos, for me, is the thrill of the chord.  The Chordgasm, if you will.  I’m a much happier singer in a group, and happier singers make for better songs.

I am forever slated for ensemble singing, and I’m perfectly okay with that.  I mean, ignoring the fact that I probably won’t do a whole heck of a lot of singing outside my truck, of course.  I don’t dream about time in the spotlight.  I do, however, dream about people I could duet with.

A gentle reminder…

While going through the blogs listed on the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day list, I was reminded of a very important thing.

ipod2

Playlists are for iPods, personal computers, and the occasional mix tape/cd.  They are not for unsuspecting visitors to your blog who may or may not be listening to their own music on Pandora or trying to watch Once Upon a Time in Mexico.  Especially when said visitor also has nine other blogs open in different tabs because she’s trying to get through a major list of blogs giving away great stuff.

Seriously, kids.  At least make the music optional.  Don’t make it start the second your page loads, or I will click away as fast as I can.  I will not add you to my RSS feed (even though my RSS feed doesn’t play the music), and I will not sign up for your giveaway.  If that’s a chance you’re willing to take, by all means… But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And yes, the same is true even if you happen to be playing music I adore.

How Could I Forget?

The other night I had the pleasure of listening to four different Barenaked Ladies Holiday songs quite a few times. I’m thrilled by BNL’s holiday songs because they’re slightly off the wall and they include Hannukah songs. In fact, I was about to edit my last post to include Barenaked for the Holidays among my list of favorite Christmas Albums.

Until I read the full track list.  What the hell, BNL?  Do They Know it’s Christmas?  Have we learned nothing?  But just for Rocketdog, they also include Wonderful Christmastime.  Good times.  I do, however, love Elf’s Lament.

By the way, head on over to AKA Chesty LaRue for another great review of our beloved insensitive Christmas song.

PS: I got to watch Elf last night, and now all is right with the world.

I’m an expert in this field.

Aside from the whole “jingle horse” thing, that is.

I listen to a crap load of Christmas music.  The majority of it isn’t by choice.  But I have some very strong opinions on Christmas music that I never really thought I would have.

Best Christmas Album Ever: John Denver and the Muppets-A Christmas Together

Extremely Close Second: It’s a Cow Christmas

Honestly, I think the only reason John Denver and the Muppets wins is because it’s easier to find and therefore easier to enjoy.  But the songs on It’s a Cow Christmas are classic in their own right.

Best Christmas Song (three-way tie): Carol of the Bells, Jingle Bells, Baby It’s Cold Outside

Carol of the Bells: Classic.  Amazing as a choral piece or orchestral.  It’s one of the few songs ever to be made better by having sung it in choir.  My reason for this is the tenor part: “Oh, how ha-a-ppy a-are their tones.”  It’s cheesy, but I love it.

Jingle Bells: It’s just a happy song, what can I say?  I cannot, however, get on board with Jingle Bell Rock.  Screw that.  Jingle horse…..

Baby It’s Cold Outside: I never fully appreciated this song until Elf came out.  Seriously, watch that.  Actually, I suppose you could say I never fully appreciated Christmas or Will Farrell until Elf came out.  Anyway, it’s a little bit naughty, though perhaps not so much by today’s standards.  It’s cheeky, that’s for sure.  It’s not outright Christmas, so it can be played for months on end and still have meaning.  In fact, I sing it in the middle of summer when the night time temp drops below… oh… 80.  For this ghoti it’s almost always cold outside.  I also appreciate duets, perhaps more than the average joe.

Worst Christmas Song EVER: Do They Know it’s Christmas.  Most culturally insensitive song to ever be written.  Here’s the lyrics, but let me highlight a few of the gems.

Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears

The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life
(Oooh) Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow

And the best line of all–the one I hoped to god I was hearing wrong:

Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you

Excuse me?  Thank god it’s THEM?  Why should I be thankful they’re suffering?  Let’s forget for a moment that many Africans probably don’t give a rat’s ass that it’s Christmas.  If you are writing a song that is supposed to inspire people to help others, why they hell would you add a line that says, essentially, be thankful there are people suffering enough that you can help them.  That deserves a good old fashioned Lewis Black freakout.  Too bad it doesn’t translate well into blog, and I can’t do it as well as The Hippy can anyway.

Well, baby, it’s cold outside, and I left work early to heal and sew.  So heal and sew I must start doing.

Hard to decide…

About four years ago, I was introduced to the bands TOOL and A Perfect Circle by The Hippy.  He’s made numerous attempts to get me into bands over these years, but only a few have stuck (the other is System of a Down) while many others I merely tolerate to keep him happy (Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Supertramp, The Mars Volta…)  The key reason I dig Tool/APC and SOAD are the singers’ voices.  Lucky for Tool and APC, they have the same lead vocals. Maynard James Keenan.

I find is voice soothing.  Incredibly soothing.  Which is probably why I slightly prefer A Perfect Circle to TOOL; the music itself is more soothing.  However, there are a good number of TOOL songs I could easily listen to on repeat.  And have.

I listen to Pandora Radio a lot.  Sometimes on my laptop, but I usually listen to it on my Ipod Touch now.  It makes me feel like I’m turning my Ipod into a musical monster, and I get a real kick out of that.  I feel like I’m cheating. 🙂  Anyway, a few times now, A Perfect Circle’s version of Imagine has come on.  The Hippy and I have had discussions about this.  He believes the APC version is better, but I’m a firm believer that no one could ever, ever, ever do it better than John Lennon.  Not even Rain.  It’s like remakes of movies–the original is always better, even if the remake is good.

But now I’m not so sure.  I mean, Lennon is still better, but Maynard’s voice is starting to bring me over to the dark side.  And it is a dark side, too, considering how that version is arranged.

Compare for me, if you will…  Press the little play buttons to hear the previews for free.

A Perfect Circle

John Lennon

It’s hard, I know.

Completely unrelated, I am finding myself having to thumbs down a lot of things on Pandora.  It’s not because they are bad songs, per se…  But I found myself at work saying “Hey, that song played on my Ipod this morning.”  And Pandora just played “Hip to be Square” which played at work yesterday.  I blame it on the fact that I was introduced to Blue October thanks to work’s music, and the Blue October station is one of my favorites on Pandora.  However, that doesn’t mean I want to feel like I’m at work when I’m very clearly not.  At least it isn’t playing Christmas music.  There is a time and a place for Christmas music, and this just isn’t it.