On High Rotation


Here’s another installment in my series of articles on what I’m playing on my various audio devices at home, in the office and on the road.

Fun’s single We Are Young crosses a number of borders: it plays on SiriusXm’s Alt Nation and got covered in Glee (ugh), switches tempos, brings in Janelle Monae for vocals that aren’t normally part of their oeuvre and bounces between catchy indie pop tune and anthem.

(Once upon a time, I liked Glee. It started quite strong, but started to sag in the second season when they wrapped up stories a little too quickly, after which the storylines became too-transparent excuses to fit in specific songs. That’s all right; I try to keep my TV-watching to a minimum anyway.)

If you could travel back to my DJ days at Crazy Go Nuts University’s Clark Hall Pub and tell me that I’d like a band featuring the guitarist from Blind Melon, I’d probably have slapped you with a glove and said “You, suh, have insulted mah hon-uh! Ah dee-mand satisfaction!”

But you’d have been right: AWOLNATION’s lead guitarist Christopher Thorn used to be in that awful band. That’s the beauty of music: there’s always one more note to play; one more chance to redeem yourself. The video above is for their track Not Your Fault.

With all the travel I’ve been doing lately, “Home is a nice place to visit” is my new catchphrase. I’m fine with that; I figure that if you’re going to have a midlife (“midlife crisis” is the wrong term to use, unless in the line “Best midlife crisis EVER!”), you might as well do the things you love, and for me, one of them is seeing new places, meeting new people and doing new things.

In the process of bouncing about from place to place, I’ve discovered that I can get by with far less stuff. Give me the computing gear in my bag, a camera, my accordion, a decent change of clothes and my music library and I’m good to go. Having the music library (which fits on a portable hard drive these days) wherever I go helps me stay centred no matter where I am, and I’ve got a playlist of songs specifically for travelling. The Wombats’ Jump into the Fog is on that playlist.

Every time I hear the guitar riff from MuteMath’s Blood Pressure, I want to start singing “Stop wastin’ my time / You know what I want” and launch into Spinal Tap’s Gimme Some Money. It’s a great tune for driving down the highway.

My phone is my alarm clock, and it’s currently set to wake me up with the St. Lucia remix of Don’t Stop by Foster the People. If this doesn’t get me out of bed, nothing will.

(Along with M83’s Midnight City, this song seems to be part of the conspiracy to bring the saxophone back into pop music. Remember when songs had to have a sax solo?)

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