Is it OK to listen to music while cycling?

Author Topic: Playlist


« on: July 18, 2014 »
My iPod is forever pouring something appropriate into my ears. For example, Joe Walsh's Life of Illusion seems to come up frequently enough to give pause.

Herewith an exposition on the subject. Getting the title right is important, I find.

Catching the mood: A short essay on the phenomenon of hearing a song in your collection that is, bar a few extraneous verses, almost eerily appropriate and meaningful
Pick the songs you like with care and they’ll be there for you when you need them.

A selection of music that has moved me. Links are to YouTube, though plugs will doubtless be pulled in the fullness of time.

Little Victories, Bob Seger. Soundtrack for cresting all those bumps in the road.
Sit Down, James. When you're done honking.
Many the Miles, Sara Bareilles. Obvs.
Road to Nowhere, Talking Heads. Most of my rides are from A to A. I wouldn't call home nowhere.
Keep it Simple, Van Morrison.
Dignity, Bob Dylan as channelled by HeavyJ, opening act for SpecialK.

Covers are a nice challenge to the versions that have grooved themselves into my brain. In this respect youtube is a wonderful resource for cutting new grooves. Of course, it doesn't always take...

Highway to Hell. The original can't be beat, but it's not hard to see why this one's popular.
Rock and Roll Fantasy, Bad Company.
Take the Long Way Home, unless it involves the A13. Supertramp.
Frankie's Gun!, The Felice Brothers, or as some have called them, two Dylans for the price of one. Had to hide in Jersey? I had to live there.
You Get What You Give, New Radicals with an old idea. I keep flashing on that zombie movie set in a mall. Zombie dogs!
Best Day Of My Life, American Authors. Why the hell not.
Big Bang Theory, Barenaked Ladies. Live version – can avoid some screams by starting @ 3.02.

Let's throw the elements into the mix while we're at it, and tie it up in a bow with string theory.
Round of Blues, Shawn Colvin.
Pink Houses, John Mellencamp, though he was still part Cougar when it was released. He's part Tim Robbins in that video.
Sisters of Mercy, Leonard Cohen.
40 Day Dream, Edward Sharp & attractive noughts.
Isis, Bob Dylan, who is vigilant about copyright violations to the extent of having had some great cover versions removed. One question: was Leonard still there?
You Can't Always Get What You Want, The Rolling Stones, who seem to have gotten most of it, plugged into a universal truth if you're kind of an optimist.
Only the Good Die Young, Mr William Joel, Esquire.
Bottle It Up, Sara again. I'm starting to really like that boat.
Something in the Water, Brooke Fraser.
Where Have All the Good Guys Gone, Lulu.
The Littlest Birds Sing the Prettiest Songs, The Be Good Tanyas. There was a really great cover which unfortunately went private; this one isn't up there with it, but bravo anyway.
Claire, Gilbert O'Sullivan. Not really, though it's pleasant enough. Included for the Savile-induced shiver up the spine.
Living in the Moment, Jason Mr a to z. Bar none the best song for getting your head in the right place. My wife isn't too sure about that hat.

You know how it is. Some songs sound great and you don't particularly care what they're singing; others grab your brain. Getting both together is a rare treat. Tanita Tikaram has often managed it. (That vid has some nice images, but no hat trick.) Neko Case is another.

The Ballad of Michael Valentine, The Killers. The latest in a long line of metronomes. Ironically – am I using that word correctly, Alanis? – youtubing is the only 'live' music I normally listen to.
Roll with the Changes, REO Speedwagon.
Destination Unknown, Missing Persons.

Then there's Shania Twain. See A special note on the musical stylings of Shania.
C'est la vie! That's life,
and that's how it's gonna be
C'est la vie! Hold tight,
it comes right eventually.


Fortunately not everything in my collection is relentlessly upbeat, else I'd come crashing down whenever I removed my earphones. For every I'm on my way from misery to happiness there's a Running on empty. Well, not mathematically; there are far more pep rallies than dirges.

There's been a fair amount of cross-pollination from those other citadels of popular culture, TV & movies. Treme stuffed a lot of jazz into my ears that I didn't particularly want to hear but grew to appreciate, if only because no jazz, no Treme. Fortunately it also delivered Letters from Rome. The Sopranos brought me Nobody loves me but you, Black Books, and Living on a Thin Line. Cabin in the Woods reintroduced me to Roll with the Changes, The Blacklist, Sundown; that's Gordon Lightfoot looking like a cross between Bill Nighy and John Cullum. I first heard Frankie's Gun on an episode of Outnumbered. Best Day of My Life landed on me from a commercial for Centre Parcs.

Here's another playlist.

I'm not really sure why we share our playlists. Maybe we think it'll tell people something about ourselves beyond these words on a screen. Or perhaps we wish to make converts to our way of listening to the world. I figure it leads some people to try a taste of something new or old but new to them, but most roll their eyes at the egregious taste or nostalgia on display – as if you can judge music that way. Ask not for whom it strikes a chord; it strikes a chord for you.

We share because we love music, and music is meant to be sung right out loud.


Come writers and critics
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2014 »
Poll added. The anniversary of Bob Dylan going electric seemed a good day for it. He was said to have "electrified one half of his audience, and electrocuted the other."

I've also posted on road.cc. It was suggested I carry an organ donor card.

See also Darwin Award Award


Hit me baby 1 more time
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2014 »
I'm pleasantly surprised that people have actually voted.

Not so surprised at the rougher reaction to the piece in the Telegraph (splitting hairs over an ad hominem? really?), but that's why they make flak jackets.

It's difficult to believe that the majority who tossed in their tuppence had given the story more than an incredulous skimming. None that I could see were willing to set aside their prejudices even for the duration of the article; a few gave a polite nod to live and let live. A couple of effective commenters from the minority point of view stepped in as I was stepping out.