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New Lang Syne

January 1, 2012

For New Year’s, WordPress sent around some stats to bloggers. Many of you, no doubt, received the email. Usually my stats don’t surprise me much. But this year, I was kind of shocked to learn that I only posted 258 times. Which is, you know, plenty. But it’s significantly short of all previous blogging years, when I have tended to average once a day or so.

This shouldn’t be surprising, given what’s been going on around here. But after eight and a half years as a more or less daily blogger, it’s a big shift. Mostly it happened because I’ve just been too busy to write. Now that I work full time, I no longer have so much flexibility during the day. And now that I travel so much, I have less free time when I’m home. But some of it, too, is that I’m now spending a lot of time doing something that I can’t write about in too much detail. And since my job is so engaging, I sometimes find I don’t have that much to say outside of it.

I don’t want to lose the good writing habits I’ve spent years building – July 2012 will mark my 9th anniversary as a blogger. But I may need some help focusing the task. Or I may be experimenting with the nature of the posts. Or both.

Putting together my year end retrospective made me remember how much I enjoyed the music meme I did during the transition from unemployed to employed status. Shortly after I started that meme, Dave posted another slightly different one, and I think I’m going to start off the New Year by plunging in. I’m not sure if I’m going to be as concise with it – there are likely to be interruptions – but I’d like a little focus to start the New Year off right. And because I love reading about music as much as I love writing about it (which is lucky, because I pretty much read and write about music all day and night these days), I’d love it if any of you want to join me, whether for the whole meme or for a day or two or six.

Here are the 30-days worth of topics. I do not plan to finish them in 30 days, but I do plan to finish them and I will do my best to keep the tunes from overlapping too much with the last meme.

30 Songs

1. Favorite cover version of a non-obscure song.
2. Favorite love song.
3. A song from your favorite movie.
4. Favorite breakup song.
5. A song you hear when you’re shopping.
6. A song you can’t listen to just once.
7. A song that breaks your heart with the first few notes.
8. A song that made you pull your car over (or otherwise completely halt whatever it was you were doing) the first time you heard it.
9. A song that you first heard live, that you became instantly obsessed with.
10. A song which makes you think, if temporarily, that you love everybody! (think: uplifting anthem).
11. A song which seems incredibly deep no matter how many times you hear it.
12. A song you love but can’t bring yourself to listen to. (You fill in the reason.)
13. A song you put on everyone’s mix tape.
14. Favorite duet/collaboration between two artists you love (or maybe you only love one of them).
15. A song you love from a genre/artist you usually dislike.
16. Biggest musical misstep by an artist you usually adore.
17. A song you like recorded by an artist who was under 18 at the time of recording.
18. A song from the first album you ever bought with your own money (extra credit if you rode a spider bike to Woolworth’s to make the purchase) or first 45 if you’re old enough to know what that is.
19. First song you ever illegally downloaded.
20. A song that you clean house to.
21. A song by an artist that you used to love, but now are at least a little ashamed of (because either you or they changed).
22. A song that infuriates you.
23. Last song that got stuck in your head.
24. A song your parents would play during parties.
25. A song you love to sing in the shower.
26. A song by the first band you saw in concert.
27. Favorite oldie (a song you grew up thinking of as an oldie).
28. A song with chord changes that really thrill you.
29. Your favorite vocal performance.
30. Song from the album you played over and over and over in high school.

Also, may I add that I love that the phrase “mix tape” persists into the digital age? And in the musicology teaching world we still have “needle drop” tests, even thought the needles are long gone in most of our classrooms. Such terms seem particularly appropriate in music memes like this one, which are built on a foundation of retrophilia. And that’s exactly what I like about writing about music in this particular way. It’s a window back, framed nicely in sound. It allows for analytical discussions of emotional things. It defines eras, personality shifts, social groups, epiphanies, soul. In the end, the songs become almost superfluous to that thing that led you to the song in the first place.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2012 12:19 pm

    I may play along with this meme although some of them don’t apply (for example, illegal download? I’ve never done that). But I immediately knew what I’d say for the first one 🙂

  2. January 1, 2012 12:35 pm

    I don’t have anything to say for that one either. I will probably end up twisting the question around somehow when I get there.

  3. January 1, 2012 2:01 pm

    I got a lot more postage when I said to myself “250 words or 15 minutes is enough”. I know that, for some people, it’s harder to write a short post than a long one, but if you find yourself strapped for time, that may be a good mental crutch.

  4. January 1, 2012 5:06 pm

    Hmm. I may just join you on this one. Partly because the first question grabbed me. I LOVE well-done cover tunes.

  5. freshhell permalink
    January 1, 2012 6:36 pm

    I find these just too much pressure on my brain. I was half way through the “2011 overview” meme and then I just lost steam after #5. I don’t have a clue what all I did last year.

  6. January 1, 2012 7:30 pm

    Hugh, I think that’s right, although I already have a longstanding 15 minute mark. Most posts are written in 15 minutes. Some are written in a few consecutive sessions. The problem isn’t really so much the lack of time but the lack of headspace that goes hand-in-hand with the busyness. I have an easier time with it when I’m in New York because I have so much more time alone, even when I’m working long hours. Jill, yay! Do it! Freshhell, I totally understand that and I feel that way about most memes. But I like these music memes because they’re really just a set of writing prompts strung out over a month. And I only know what I did last year because I blogged about it. Sad, but true. Blogging allows me to forget large parts of my past because I no longer have to remember it to remember it.

  7. January 2, 2012 1:26 am

    It’s funny. I was feeling uninspired, and wishing someone would post a worthwhile meme. And here it is! I’ll join in. Thanks for the kickstart to 2012!

  8. January 2, 2012 10:14 am

    Of course, we like anything that gets you to write more!

  9. freshhell permalink
    January 2, 2012 7:01 pm

    And see I blogged, too, but didn’t have the stamina or time to go back through what I’ve written and summarize.

  10. missterioso permalink
    January 2, 2012 8:13 pm

    Great meme, I may sponge off of it as well. And as much as I feared the drop the needle exercises from undergrad music history, I can definitely say in retrospect that they made me a better and well-rounded musician (see: blind score study from comps)!

  11. January 4, 2012 5:27 pm

    i still call them records.
    i look at that list of 30 items and am gob-smacked with a complete inability to answer any of the questions.

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