You Listen To What?

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My taste in music is nothing short of eclectic as I’ll listen to just about anything as long as its good. Like everyone else I have my favorite artists, but there are some names that evoke a few raised eyebrows.  The inevitable question, “You listen to what?” usually follows those contorted brows.  It’s as if I’m not “allowed” to listen to certain types of music because I don’t fit the profile.  To this I say, there is no such thing as boundaries when it comes to enjoying music.  Nerds can love Top 40 bands and happy-go-lucky writers can dig reggae rap.

More than once I’ve written of my love for British artists, indie rock, and NuFolk, but my music collection reaches far beyond those categories.  Here’s a  list of 10 artists I love, despite the glaring disparities in personality.  It just goes to show that music truly does speak across all realms of humanity.

Note: I’ve linked each artist to a site where its possible to listen to samples of their music.  With exception to #9, all links will connect to my favorite album.  Enjoy!

1. Michael Franti & Spearhead

Equal parts rap, reggae, pop, R&B, and rock, Franti is a remarkable songwriter and performer.  His lyrics cry for social justice, peace, and political change with the stomp of a fierce beat.  He’s lightened up a little over the last few years, but he’s never given up his vision for a world without war and corruption.

Favorite Songs: “Everybody Ona Move” and “Life in the City”

Favorite Albums: All Rebel Rockers, Yell Fire, and Everyone Deserves Music.

2. Moby

Okay, so he’s a little weird and very bald,  but he makes some the of the best atmospheric electronica.  He thumbs his nose at convention and does his own thing, which is what I like best about his music.  Tones range from dance floor beats to ethereal synthesizers paired with piano and voice.

Favorite Song: “We Are All Made of Stars”

Favorite Albums: Go – The Very Best of Moby and 18

3. Linkin Park

I love this band because they exude raw emotion and hold nothing back.  No two albums sound alike and I like being surprised every time they come out with something new.  The last album in particular was a stark departure, but in my opinion its their best to date.

Favorite Song: “Waiting For The End”

Favorite Album: A Thousand Suns

4. Muse

It took me a while to catch onto this band, but once I did I never looked back.  Their sound is a cool fusion of hard rock and symphonic melody.  The lead singer has a unique voice that breathes incredible life into clever, bold, and brutally honest lyrics.

Favorite Song: “Starlight”

Favorite Album: Black Holes & Revelations

5. Thievery Corporation

This band found its way into my collection by way of a gift from a good friend.  Their vibe is a combination of soft jazz and electronica with a touch of middle eastern beats.  I’ve never heard anything like it, which makes every song an adventure.

Favorite Song:  “Holographic Universe”

Favorite Album: It Takes A Thief 

6. Mika

My love of Mika defies all logic, but I am hopelessly addicted to his dance beat and fun lyrics.  They guy just sounds like he’s having a blast and his energy is infectious.  Whenever I’m dragging in the middle of a run, Mika gives me a great jolt.

Favorite Song: “Love Today”

Favorite Album: Life in Cartoon Motion

7. Phil Coulter

My grandparents are at fault for my love of new age piano music.  Every night they would play a Phil Coulter album to help me sleep.  It never worked because I was always mesmerized by intricate piano notes and the beautiful flow of music.  Twenty years later, I still listen to him for the same reasons and actively seek out similar artists.

Favorite Song: “Oft’ In The  Stilly Night”

Favorite Album: Sea of Tranquility

8. Twelve Girls Band

Blame public television and my trip to China for bringing this powerhouse orchestra into my collection.  These ladies use traditional Chinese instruments to fuse Western standards with Eastern folk, thus creating something entirely new.  Their music is full of energy, life, and sheer emotion.

Favorite Songs: “Freedom” and “Jasmin”

Favorite Albums:  Shining Energy and Eastern Energy

9. Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass

Try hard not to laugh.  When I was growing up, Herb Albert was played almost daily at my grandparents house during the summer.  Those brass horns and peppy tunes always made me smile and they still do today.

Favorite Album: Greatest Hits 

10. Vladimir Horowitz

No one can play Chopin (or anything else for that matter) with the same passion and skill as Horowitz.  I literally get lost in the music when I listen to any one of his performances.  It’s no wonder he’s often referred to as the best concert pianist of the 20th century.

Favorite Song or Album: There are no favorites when it comes to Horowitz.  Every note is pure genius.  However, one album in particular sticks out in my mind, Horowitz: The Last Recording.

I’ve always seen music as a soundtrack for my life, so it makes sense to choose music from all different genres to make things more interesting and meaningful.

c.b. 2011

28 thoughts on “You Listen To What?

  1. Leila

    I love your mix. I’m currently on a TSO kick, they are great for the holidays. I love Handle’s water music. Then I get into some techno, some emo, and alternative. The key is to make sure it takes you on the journey you need to be on.

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  2. I find that there are two kinds of people. 1] Those who say “I like all kinds of music… except Country and Western”, and 2] those who say “I like all kinds of music… except Heavy Metal”.

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  3. Susanne

    I grew up listening to Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. I appreciate their bouncy sound too. Always makes me want to dance! What would life be like without music. I don’t want to imagine! I always listen to some kind of music when I write, too. Instrumental usually.

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  4. I wish we were close enough that I could invite you to dinner (or cook at your place) and share music. My fave lately (one of them, anyway) is King of Limbs by Radiohead…a recording that captured me instantly, completely.

    Lynn

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  5. My husband usually picks the cds we listen to as we eat outside and they can range from our rock days of Pink Floyd to Irish ballads to middle eastern groups. We have a Radiohead cd that’s in the mix as my son left it in our car and we are grooving to that too! I think the only thing I don’t care for very much is rap, mostly because I can’t understand what they’re saying. Of course right now I rule the stereo with my holiday cds from Frank Sinatra to Clay Aiken and Neil Diamond. I can’t imagine life without music and I can’t wait to check out all of the musicians on your list.

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    • I haven’t listened to Pink Floyd in forever! It may be time to dig that CD out from wherever its hiding. 🙂

      Rap can be tricky. However, every once in a while there’s an artist that speaks clearly and without violence.

      Oh, and you can never go wrong wit Frank Sinatra – he is all kinds of awesome!!!

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  6. I 100% agree with you! Music has no boundaries. You love what you love! Moby is by far one of my faves!! As is Muse! I haven’t heard of some on your list and I’ll have to have a listen! Also, getting ready to post on that project tomorrow! Can’t wait!!

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    • I’m so glad you enjoy them. I don’t get to discuss music very often (no one around me listens to anything I like), so its fun to have an outlet. 🙂

      I’ll be doing another music post soon. I just got Marcus Foster’s new album and it is amazing!!

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  7. I can sympathize. My three top loves are: swing/big band, rock and classical. Throw in some Marilyn Manson, Johnny Cash and Gershwin and you’ve got some of the foundation structure for my itunes list.

    I think I may have found some new favourites. Thank you, C.B.!

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  8. I know I’m a bit late in commenting on this post, but I just now got around to reading the ‘flagged’ message in my inbox. I listen to an ecclectic mix of music and usually I avoid telling people that yes, I do have the Backstreet Boys in my repitoire, due to the looks. I’m too ‘old’ to be listening to boy bands, though technically the Temptations were a boy band.
    I’ve loved Herb Alpert since first hearing Whipped Cream and Other Delights. (I think that’s the title) I kind of fell in love with the cover of the album and the music takes me back to sitting in front of my grandparents stereo, playing the record.
    I am also a fan of Muse and Linkin Park, though it’s specific songs.
    I tend to not tell people what I listen to, unless I cherish or trust their opinion. I was kind of thrilled when not long ago, someone who is 19 years older than me agreed that my favorite band, Maroon 5, had some pretty good songs. It always surprised you when you find someone that listens to the same music, and isn’t afraid of admitting it.
    Great post. I’m definitely going to have to ‘Like’ this one.

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