i've got the best of interventions

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Beyond Radio

Some friends of mine have a 13-year-old son. Recently his mom mentioned to me that he has started paying attention to music (you know the age, when you start wandering the dial looking for a certain song, memorizing lyrics, singing in the shower). My mission is now clear: save him from radio. Over the past few days I've been formulating a list in my head of introductory tunes. My criteria were thusly: the songs have to be accessible, fairly modern (but let's stretch it and say 10 or so years), and profanity-free (his parents are pretty strict). For someone who has probably never even heard anything by Weezer, I want to make a catchy, listenable CD that will have him coming back for more. Also, his personality is very outgoing, intelligent, active and just plain goofy. Something tells me that one They Might Be Giants song is all it's going to take to get him hooked.

Here's what I have so far. Additions? Subtractions? I know I'm missing something here. It starts off kind of bouncy and ends very sweetly.

* "Its The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" - R.E.M.
* "Float On" - Modest Mouse
* "Close To Me" - The Cure
* "Step Right Up" - Tom Waits
* "Surf Wax America" - Weezer
* "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" - They Might Be Giants
* "Sister Jack" - Spoon
* "Looking At The World From The Bottom Of A Well" - Mike Doughty
* "Such Great Heights" - The Postal Service
* "If I Had $1,000,000" - Barenaked Ladies
* "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" - Crash Test Dummies
* "The Sporting Life" - The Decemberists
* "Speed Of Sound" - Coldplay
* "Orange Sky (Album Version)" - Alexi Murdoch

Click to listen.

edited to add: R.E.M., Tom Waits and the Cure. Sounding pretty good!


  • At Wed May 25, 09:15:00 AM EDT, Blogger Robert 0f The Radish said…

    Great list Amanda, except for "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" That might damage the kid for life.

    Can't you replace it with something a little more substantial and artistic. Say something by The Cure or Tom Waits?

  • At Wed May 25, 12:55:00 PM EDT, Blogger Amanda said…

    The Crash Test Dummies stay. There is a place for such fluff, I say.

    However, I am in the process of adding The Cure, Tom Waits (brilliant) and R.E.M. - how could I forget the boys from Athens?

  • At Fri May 27, 07:08:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Jazzfrac said…

    Nice list, Amanda. How 'bout some female artists or bands, though. Maybe something by Vienna Teng, Charlotte Martin, Lucinda Williams, etc...?

  • At Sat May 28, 12:34:00 AM EDT, Anonymous The Beach said…

    Aimee Mann! Who else has ever made such good music with their toe cut off by nihilist co-conspirators in a movie about bowling?

    But seriously folks, I thought Amanda would be a surefire bet to include "The Scientist." Also, I would be remiss not to suggest Nirvana or Radiohead.

  • At Sat May 28, 07:52:00 AM EDT, Blogger Amanda said…

    OK, The Beach wins for somehow bringing The Big Lebowski into this post. The Beach also wins my blog crush of the week award. Congratulations, I'll be stalking you shortly. But I digress.

    No Scientist because this CD is for him, not me. Also, I'm not a huge fan of Aimee Mann. Don't get me wrong, I like girl singers and all...I just prefer the company of men. Story of my life. I can see a follow-up CD with some more sophisticated songs on it, including Nirvana...but I don't know if the boy's precious ears are ready to melt off yet. Let's keep it light, shall we?

  • At Mon May 30, 12:50:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Mark said…

    Very Admirable....

    Good suggestion Robert...I am all for perverting the kid with some Tom Waits!

    As far as catchy and addictive, ...something from the latest Wilco would be a fine addition. 'Hummingbird', 'Handshake Drugs' or 'Theologians' would all fit the bill.

  • At Tue May 31, 08:05:00 PM EDT, Blogger drake leLane said…

    I've said it before, I know, but Josh Schwartz' The O.C. was pretty good at this task. The show is targeted at youth and the soundtracks manage to steer the young viewer in a much better musical path then the usual kid-targeted programming.

    That being said, The Talking Heads ("Once in a Lifetime", "Burning Down the House") and The Violent Femmes ("Blister in the Sun") were probably my entry into becoming an music geek in the 13-14 year old range.

  • At Fri Jun 10, 09:47:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Noble task that I recently tried with my own 13-year-old nephew who is staying with for a month this summer and has parents similar to the ones you described..

    Challenge, I agree, is to expose without ticking off parents.

    Also I found, if you get in too late the teen gets a warped idea of what cool is -- ie, Linkin Park -- that can be hard to fix ; >

    Anyway, I think you do your friend's son a major disservice by stopping at 10-years-back.

    I like and agree with a lot of your list but in addition to newer stuff I just couldn't resist adding (sister-in-law be damned, or maybe me be damned ; > ) all-time greats (and very accessible songs) like Sweet Jane, Lust for Life, White Riot, Blitzkrieg Bop, RoadRunner, Color Me Sedated/I Will Dare and on a gag (and which he liked best) Institutionalized...

    It was fun, if not a total success

    : >


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