Playing Doctor

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Tuesday, February 20

Music for Any Occasion

Perhaps you have seen some blogs post music surveys that ask ‘what five CD’s should everyone own?’

I wanted to fill that out, but ended up with about 15 different lists because, frankly, what makes music important to me is that it differentiates, that it is not completely universal. No music is popular with everyone; there are always contrarians who hate—say—Sergeant Pepper, Debussy’s La Mar, or Nevermind.

So I thought I’d take the concept of music everyone should own, and give it a practical application.

The goal is to have a short list of CD’s you could play for any group and have something for everyone—so that everyone would hear one song they loved and at least minimally enjoy the rest. You want to have different genres so that your aunt or grandmother will say ‘who is this? I love it.’ to one CD and another so someone you bring home from a bar will say, ‘oh yeah,’ or perhaps even ‘I’m feeling this.’

The trick is to straddle the line between populist and connoisseur. You don’t want obvious classics that work solely on nostalgia, but you don’t want sound experiments that are just showy extravagances either. (So KC and the Sunshine Band and Captain Beefheart are both out.)

We’ll up the number from five to six, because that seems the number of CD’s that many players will hold. So, I have my list, in fact, I have a few. But you go first. Post your list of six CD’s you’d put in the mixer for a foolproof ‘Music for Any Occasion’ selection. I will give you a caveat: when I say anyone, I mean English speakers from the United States. If we start bringing pygmies or the French into the equation, it will become too unworkable. And morons—you are not responsible for someone who only listens to death metal, dance, or Lucinda Williams. (Not that there is anything wrong with any of them in moderation.)

Choose carefully, because while there is no one correct answer, there are potentially many, many incorrect answers.

Monday, February 5

How To Write



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