Music diary project – Day One

This week, I’m taking part in Nick Southall’s Music Diary Project, which runs for the next seven days. The project involves logging all the music that we listen to, day by day: what we’ve played, how we’ve listened to it, how we chose it (if indeed we chose it all), and how we enjoyed it. It’s not really about reviewing the music as such; it’s more about taking a collective snapshot, and seeing what emerges.

(Note: I’m not including soundtracks or incidental music heard via the TV.)

Here goes with Day One, then.

8:40 – 9:30
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (whole album)

How: CDR, car stereo
Where: car from home to work
With: partner

Listened to “for evaluation purposes”. Second play of the album. Enjoyed it less than the first play; it sounded less sepulchral and more whiney, and the spaciousness which I’d enjoyed the previous night didn’t translate to the car stereo. Not yet sure whether I’ll buy it. Chosen with partner’s tastes in mind. It also needed to be something gentle but immersive; only certain musical moods work on our Monday morning drives from Derbyshire back to Nottingham. (I always choose the music, and I usually favour non-dancey electronica.) I had burnt the CDR specifically for the journey, as the car has no facilities for hooking up an MP3 player.

9:30 – 9:50
Radiohead – The King Of Limbs (tracks 1 to 4)

How: CDR, car stereo
Where: car from home to work
With: partner

Again, listened to “for evaluation purposes”. First play. Enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to; I’ve been steadily losing interest in Radiohead over the past seven or eight years, but this jolted me back to full attention – particularly during Track 2 (Morning Mr Magpie). We were caught in a couple of traffic jams, which allowed for closer listening as the bass frequencies were easier to hear. Decided I would probably buy it. Again, the CDR was burnt specifically for the journey.

10:45 – 11:10
Radiohead – The King Of Limbs (tracks 5 to 8 )

How: iPod, via headphones
Where: Round trip from office to coffee shop
With: just me

Having enjoyed the first half in the car, I wanted to complete the album. The second half seemed quieter, gentler, more meditative, and this matched my mood well. On the strength of this, I bought the CD in Fopp at lunchtime, along with the Katy B album (released today).

11:00 – 11:02
Tinie Tempah – Pass Out

How: radio – Capital FM
Where: coffee shop
With: proprietor (who almost certainly wasn’t paying even the slightest attention)

Track was playing at low volume; I had to strain my ears to ID it.

11:18 – 11:22
Acid House Kings – Are We Lovers Or Are We Friends?

How: iPod, with headphones
Where: office
With: just me

I spotted the band name when scrolling through the iPod menu. Hadn’t realised I owned the track (it was burnt from a Word magazine cover mount), and wanted to hear what the band sounded like. Quite enjoyed it. Reminded me of Camera Obscura.

12:05 – 15:20 (intermittently, with pauses)
Spotify playlist: UK Top 100 – Jennifer Lopez, Adele, LMFAO, Black Eyed Peas, Nicole Scherzinger, Wiz Khalifa, Jessie J, Katy B, Rihanna, Dr Dre/Eminem/Skylar Grey, Mann/50 Cent, Katy Perry, Lady GaGa, The Wanted, Adele, Snoop Dogg/David Guetta, Kanye West, Chris Brown, Cee Lo Green, Bruno Mars, Alexis Jordan, Noah & the Whale, Chipmunk/Chris Brown, Tinie Tempah/Ellie Goulding

How: iPhone, with headphones
Where: office, city centre, office
With: just me

ILM are running a poll on the current UK Top 40. As I’ve only knowingly heard 17 of the current 40, and as I like to keep myself in the loop chart-wise, I decided to work my way through the playlist (which I update weekly), in descending order from #1, scoring each track out of 10 and re-arranging them in descending order of preference in Excel. Anal, moi?

An enjoyable exercise, as my sweet tooth remains undimmed by the passing of the years and my tolerance for identikit “in the club” bangers is high – but by the time we get to Alexis Jordan/ Noah & the Whale/Chipmunk/Tinie Tempah ft Ellie Goulding (numbers #22 to #25), I’m flagging, my ears trashed out from the sugary excess. Time to take a break.

12:45 – 12:55
Bibio – Mind Bokeh – two or three tracks

How: in-store sound system, via CD
Where: Fopp, Nottingham
With: staff and customers (none of whom seemed to be paying any attention to it)

Didn’t particularly register. Pleasant enough.

13:00 – 13:30
Various 1990s tracks, not all recognised, including Lenny Kravitz – Fly Away / Oasis – Slide Away / Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Now / Pulp – Babies

How: in-store radio
Where: city centre cafe/deli
With: staff and customers

The deli usually plays their own music, but today they were tuned to an unknown radio station that played nothing but 90s music. Irritated by the Kravitz; enjoyed the Pulp.

16:20 – 16:45
TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light (tracks 1 to 5)

How: iPod, with headphones
Where: office
With: just me

Today’s third “for evaluation purposes” play. I usually use Spotify for such things, so today is not at all typical. Sounds fine in its way, but I’m not immediately grabbed, possibly because I’m not in the right mood. Will re-visit at a more receptive time.

16:50 – 17:35
Shuffled MP3s on work PC:
Bettye Lavette – Let Me Down Easy
James Litherland – Where To Turn
Nocera – Summertime, Summertime
Radiohead – These Are My Twisted Words
Peech Boys – Come On, Come On (Don’t Say Maybe)
Busy Signal – Tic Toc (Green Money Liquid Re-Rub)
Jackie DeShannon – Don’t Turn Your Back On Me
Mandy Smith – I Just Can’t Wait
The Cuban Boys – The Nation Needs You
Cocteau Twins – Aikea-Guinea

How: Windows Media Player on shuffle, with headphones
Where: office
With: just me

I’ll be losing this hard drive soon, and the small collection of MP3s that sits on it. (It was a much larger collection, acquired over the past four or five years, but I trimmed it right down a few months ago.) Time to shuffle through them, before it goes. As I listened to the mix, which flowed remarkably well, I realised that I probably wanted to retain all this music, so I cut-and-pasted the MP3s to my personal area on the network drive.

Shuffle often doesn’t work too well for me, but the gods were smiling this afternoon – and so this ended up being my most pleasurable listening experience of the day.

17:45 – 18:00
Spotify playlist: UK Top 100 – David Guetta/Rihanna, Pink, Jessie J, Jeremih

How: iPhone, with headphones
Where: walking home from work
With: just me

One OK track, two rubbish ones (which I diligently endured in their entirety), one uninspiring one. Oh well.

22:45 – 23:20
Radiohead – The King Of Limbs (whole album)

How: CD, home hi-fi
Where: home
With: partner (first two tracks only)

It was either this or the as yet unplayed Katy B CD, but I wanted something gentler that also wouldn’t piss off my partner. A very pleasant late evening listen, while I performed admin tasks on the village blog and drafted this post.

Favourite track of the day: Morning Mr Magpie – Radiohead
Worst track of the day: Do It Like A Dude – Jessie J

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