Musical Statements of Identity

I’ve been working out and still listening to my alphabetical listings of songs, but not nearly as much as I should. My posting has fallen off a cliff…if a woman found out she was pregnant the day of my last post, she could be reading this entry holding her newborn child. But it’s a new year, and time for resolutions of improved activity. Both exercising and writing would be excellent choices for promises that I’d ultimately break, but I think I’ll settle for just exercising and writing today and then seeing how tomorrow goes.

 

January 4, 2014

1.75 miles of treadmill work plus upper arm weight work.

 

  • I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow–The Soggy Bottom Boys
  • I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow–The Soggy Bottom Boys
  • I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow (Instrumental)–John Hartford
  • I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow (Instrumental)–John Hartford
  • I Am a Paleontologist–They Might Be Giants with Danny Weinkauf
  • I Am a Rock–Simon & Garfunkel
  • I Am a Scientist–Guided by Voices
  • I Am a Town–Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • I Am Africa–The Book of Mormon Soundtrack
  • I Am an Animal–Pete Townsend
  • I Am Here for You–The Book of Mormon Soundtrack
  • I Am Mine–Pearl Jam
  • I Am Superman–R.E.M.

For Christmas, I got my wife the soundtrack to Inside Llewyn Davis and we are just starting to get into it. I think it will ultimately be a successful release, particularly as the movie sees wider release. It is similar to me to an older Coen brother film O Brother, Where Art Thou? While the movie had a great soundtrack, four variations of the same song is a bit of a bother when you are listening to your entire music collection alphabetically. At least two were only instrumental versions. Back to Llewyn Davis; both my wife and I are excited to see the movie–it’s one of two “Oscar bait” movies we’d like to see, with American Hustle being the other. Those are it for theater needs; the rest can wait for Blu-Ray, Netflix, or TV as far as I’m concerned.

There aren’t enough songs that serve as effective job descriptions, but “I Am a Paleontologist” certainly fits the bill. It’s of extra interest to me these days, as my company is releasing two sets of Dinosaur-themed books, so the term is coming up repeatedly in manuscripts these days. They Might Be Giants went with the specificity of position, while Guided by Voices were more general, speaking only of the broad category of Scientist. Every time I get a Guided by Voices song, I try to remember how we added Bee Thousand to our collection, as I think it was a gift to my wife. I don’t have much time to think about it, as all the album’s songs tend to be a bit on the short side. I have no problem remembering how Simon & Garfunkel, who contributed “I Am a Rock” between the two job songs, got into the collection–they are all mine. I was hoping a new generation of fans would come to Paul and Art when the Rock Band video game released the aforementioned song plus “Sounds of Silence” as downloadable content, but I am guessing it didn’t ultimately matter.

After a song by the underrated Mary Chapin Carpenter, I got the first of my two songs from the musical The Book of Mormon. That soundtrack is from the Maggie wing of our musical museum. It’s an interesting path of parenting. When your  kids are young, they like and listen to either the music you expose them to or what corporate marketing machines like Disney serve to them. We tried to find music that we liked that also was accessible to youngsters, like the Beatles, Barenaked Ladies, and They Might Be Giants (and this was before TMBG smartly started releasing targeted children’s albums. However, this didn’t stop the occasional Jonas Brothers or Aly & AJ from sneaking through. As the kids get a little older (say middle school and early high school), pop music becomes the must-listen. Again, this is completely understandable, as all their peers are listening to the same radio- and TV- (and now internet-) generated content, and everyone wants to fit in. But for your children, at some point they will start listening to something just because it’s what they like, and not because someone in their family or circle of friends told them to like it. For my youngest, I think musicals got her there.

 

Strong ending with three great artists, including Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and Pete Townsend. I think “I Am Superman” is a great song to push cardio to the next level of speed or incline, at least for a few minutes. After all, after doing some solid exercise, that’s exactly how I feel.

 

 

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