December 25, 2006
In my earlier days, I was a technological “early adopter”, but after I left the Internet industry and life took some left turns, I’ve let the waves of innovation pass over me, content to float lazily along, paddling only as often as I wanted to. Which is how, here at the end of 2006, I carry a cellphone model introduced in 2001, and only because I could no longer get the one introduced ten years earlier. And also how, here at the end of 2006, I just got my first iPod.
Earlier this year, after hearing about yet another generation of iPods being released, I did take the time to answer the question “well, if I were going to get an iPod, which one would I prefer.” I decided that the new 2nd generation iPod nano suited me best. I didn’t really forsee watching video on an iPod screen, and the nano weighs almost nothing, yet has more control and features than a Shuffle. But, even with the remarkably low prices, the deliciously stylish black 8 gig model hung just beyond my price threshold for something I don’t actually need. It went onto my Amazon wishlist, along with other things that would be nice to have, but I’m not going to buy right now. My loving wife found it there, when weeks of “Gee, I don’t really know if I want anything for Christmas” had driven her to distraction.
One unrealized benefit of actually having my own iPod is that now I can participate in one of the games some of the cool bloggers play, a list of 10 songs generated by the iPod shuffle feature. Often these lists give some insights into the blogger, because it is a small sample of their musical tastes. Sometimes, reading these lists just makes me realize yet again that I am old compared to the technogeeks I read. Other times, it serves to point me toward tracks I might like. (Of course, I’ve been able to generate such lists using the iTunes shuffle on my laptop, but doing it on an actual iPod seems more proper, somehow.)
My favorite is the version used by my friend Janeen, who posts not the song titles, but a line from the lyrics of each, in contest form. The goal is to name the song, and preferably the artist. I find I usually have no problem naming her jazz standards, but I’m not so good at guessing which artist, and I am of course hopeless with her broad repertoire in Spanish. Using Google is frowned upon.
With that inspiration, I contrived to create my own Random 10 game. I soon encountered small quandries. What if the lyrics seem like no challenge, when a song’s lyrics and a song’s identity are almost the same? Include it, because you may be wrong, and it’s only familiar to you? Or give someone an easy start? OK. You get what the iPod gives you, I guess. Easy picks in.
What about intrumentals? I have a bunch. I decided they get included by title, in order, but aren’t counted toward 10.
Then, of course, there are the judgment calls about which line to include. Obviously, there are some that would make the game too easy, some too hard. I decide to shoot for a more obscure line from well-known songs, more obvious from lesser-known ones. When in doubt, shoot for something poetic, or at least carrying the flavor of the track.
Here’s how it works. Below is a list of ten lyric selections, with two instrumental bonus tracks. You can guess any or all of the tracks. Leave your guess in a comment at the bottom of the post. Google searching is frowned upon.
The process of preparing the list has been enlightening. In going back over it, I realize that even the songs which are relatively widely known exist in more obscure versions on my iPod. So, the odds of guessing more than just the song title are slim. So this game is for Titles. I’ll offer extra points for people who name their favorite version of the track. When the game is over, I’ll post the actual details of Title, Artist and Album as they appear on my iPod. I figure #2 is impossible, so #3 is easier. Hint: #4 is not a trick question.
Random 10: Number 1
1. “Readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic are the branches of the Learning Tree”
2. “Aesthetic quiessence is gone…Wright, Sullivan, van der Rohe gone…”
3. “Empty pockets never make the grade.”
4. “It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright.”
5. “When she passed the bar, and she heard the music play, she had to go in and see, it had to be that way.”
# Instrumental: Horn – Nick Drake – Pink Moon
6. “If you feel that you can’t go on, because all of your hope is gone …”
7. “Little boy sat down and cried, old man stopped and asked him why. ‘I can’t do what the big boys do!’ Old man sat and he cried, too.”
# Instrumental: Pia (1962) – Les McCann, piano – Relationships: The Les McCann Anthology
8. “I can feel the Future trembling as the word is passed around, if you stand up for what you do believe in, prepare to be shot down.”
9. “And you know that you’re over the hill, when your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fill.”
10. “He said ‘Well, if you insist. Where you want go, Miss?”