1998/2018: Whatever 20/20, Day Fifteen: Music

In no particular order, a playlist of 20 songs from the last 20 years that have stuck with me.

28 Comments on “1998/2018: Whatever 20/20, Day Fifteen: Music”

  1. Jonathan Coulton’s “Redshirts” is how I found out about you. I was a big Jonathan Coulton fan but had drifted away from reading science fiction. After I heard that song, I decided to find out what this “John Scalzi” guy was about. Now I have purchased all your books and have started reading science fiction again.

  2. I’m ready to admit that I know exactiy NONE of these songs. And I’m OK with that!

    *goes to wait at the curb for the geezer bus*

  3. @ Jeff M: I’ll come and wait beside you. For the same reason. Altho I admit I’m going to listen to them all. Leap the gap and all that.

  4. Wow. Love your books John, but our musical tastes don’t match at. all. But then I’m an old man of 56. I DO like Garbage but prefer their more rocking songs like Stupid Girl, Paranoid, or Empty. You seem to really have a thing for slow moody “emo” music. I’d swear you were sixteen, heh.

    But hey, Airborne Toxic Event!! That is one of my favorite “newer” bands!! And Sometime Around Midnight IS my favorite song of theirs!

    But Uptown Funk?!?! Really? REALLY? Bleh

  5. Bear with me a moment here… back in the mid-90s I was between jobs and working temp as a hospital maintenance dispatcher on third shift. I got to be on friendly terms with the night HVAC guy, and one night we got talking about music, and live concerts we’d seen. And I said I didn’t go to live concerts much any more, but if I had a chance to see the Rainmakers or Steeleye Span or Men Without Hats or Dead Can Dance live, I’d go. And he looked at me kind of funny and said, “I thought you and I were about the same age — but I never heard of any of those groups.”

    You just made me realize how he must have felt. Intellectually, I know you’re significantly younger than I am, but this is the first time it’s really sunk in. Out of that list plus your honorable mentions, there are 7 artists whose names I recognize and 2 that I’ve ever actually heard anything by. (Although I am very fond of the Bangles!)

  6. I live down in Tampa. One of the best reasons to live here is that we have what might be the last unconquered community radio stations in America. That is WMNF. It does toss a stream onto the interweb, it has also turned me on to some simply outstanding music.

    What has hit me the most has come before and after Obama, not counting John Prine, Bonnie Raitt, Guy Clark and some others who won’t leave my memory, are Iris Dement’s WASTELAND OF THE FREE and James McMurty’s STATE OF THE UNION AND CAN’T MAKE IT HERE NO MORE( though his CHOCTAW BINGO is a blast.

    Something else that is pretty nifty is Russian musicians doing 70’s stuff. Other than that I feel that most of you have been deprived of too much good music by commercial radio. There is some spectacular stuff out there.

  7. It was thanks to your posting of the video to Meg Myers’ “Monster” that I learned about her and I’ve been in your debt (not a huge debt, along the lines of owing you several tacos, or at least a couple of abomination burritos).

  8. I don’t know if it’s a “geezer thing,” as I strongly suspect I wouldn’t have listened much to these songs when they were around. Back in the day, my venues of choice were the radio and the bar, and I don’t know if these songs got all that much airtime there.

    Even today, in my car I do the radio, and save my CD’s for road trips. (With air conditioning, I can roll up the windows and listen)

  9. I don’t know any of these songs, but I’ve heard of some of the performers. I’ve found that I can’t remember songs and their performers much any more. I listen to KCRW (Santa Monica/internet) so I THINK i’m hearing the hip new stuff, but maybe not.

  10. I’m pushing early middle age and have already had one “What is this crap the kids are listening to today?” moment before I realized I sounded like my maternal grandfather (who HATED the Beatles for no apparent reason while his daughters adored them) and decided maybe I’d better chill. Especially given that I love a lot of awful 80s music. Not that there wasn’t good stuff then, but not all of it. I don’t care.

    I love all the songs commissioned for your books, but otherwise, I don’t think our tastes line up much. I’ve been out of the loop musically, mostly, since the early 90s. I bet part of it is not having a kid in the house who listens to the current whatever. It’s not like the cat has musical requests for me. Every other demand under the sun, yes – you know, cats.

  11. I’m familiar with exactly zero of these. Suddenly I feel like I just emerged from a life in the jungle.

  12. I haven’t listened to pop/rock music regularly in long over 20 years, so I’d never heard any of these recordings, and was only familiar with the names of four of the performers. The ones I liked the best reminded me of people I do like: Kyla La Grange, who sounded like Tori Amos, and Regina Spektor, whose striking instrumentals reminded me of Enya, particularly “Wild Child”.

    As for the Beach Boys cover (much, much better than the original – I know this is heresy, but I hold that the Beach Boys could not sing worth a damn), if you want a slam-dunk stunner of a recent cover of a classic 1960s song, I call and raise you with this.

  13. At 64 my musical tastes are pretty well stuck in the 1965-1975 period, so most of the choices are ‘bleah’ to me. Synthetic and/or derivative. I can stand Neil Finn and Uptown Funk (although the ‘Fred andZGinger dance to it’ video is way forced.)

    There is some good stuff coming out of China/Mongolia right now (and you don’t have to tolerate lame-ass lyrics ;-) )

  14. I’m surprised you chose the link above for “The Postal Service – Such Great Heights”. The following so-called official video link is full of visual tech images that fit right in with many overall science fiction themes.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wrsZog8qXg&w=560&h=315%5D

    Which leads back to the Apple/Intel ad and the introduction of Intel chips inside the Mac, and a bit of discussion at the time over copying.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prImvDVHzTM&w=560&h=315%5D

    That last ad came from Intel’s “salad” days. Today Intel faces extreme competitive pressures from ARM and Apple’s and Samsung’s implementation of the ARM IP across mobile devices. I wonder what kind of ads, and what kind of accompanying music, will come next.

  15. I’ll echo Eunuch’s thanks for pointing me to Meg Myers and suggest that you might enjoy Abney Park. Look them up on YouTube.

  16. I’ve been working from home for the last month while recovering from illness, and playing a lot of music while I’m at it. I had a count back and averaging about six albums a day for 28 working days is 168 albums. But of those only 7 of them were by bands I didn’t follow twenty years ago. I thought I was a bit more open to new music than that!

    Although maybe I was just seeking comfort listening whilst convalescing.

  17. Glad to see Starlight on the list. Your original posting of the video led me to checking out Muse and going to see them in concert. Looking forward to their new LP, which is supposedly a science fiction concept album.

  18. I will third the thanks for Meg Myers, who is a gem, and second timrowledge’s suggestion of Abney Park. Ghoultown is also a lot of fun for themed bands if you have never checked them out.

  19. Twenty songs in twenty years? Here goes nothing in terms of personal standards:

    Raveonettes “Bang”
    Dum Dum Girls “Wrong Feels Right”
    Camera Obscura “Let’s Get Out of this Country”
    Barry Adamson “Jazz Devil”
    Asian Dub Foundation “Naxalite”
    Liz Phair “What Makes You Happy”
    Green Day “Holiday”
    Fratellis “Chelsea Dagger”
    Franz Ferdinand “The Fallen”
    Lily Allen “The Fear”
    Vaccines “Wet Suit”
    Abney Park “Airship Pirates”
    Pipettes “Because it’s Not Love”
    Rose Elinor Dougall “Another Version of Pop Song”
    Parts & Labor “A Thousand Roads”
    Moon Duo “Cult of Moloch”
    Wild Flag “Romance”
    Metric “Help I’m Alive”
    Joy Formidable “Austere”
    Japandroids “North East South West”

  20. Keep in mind that I’m carrying about 200 hours worth of music at any one time on my phone.

    A friend one time asked me how much music did I need…my response was “all of it.”