In August 2003 I made a post on my Livejournal saying I wanted to listen to some new music and asked my friends to suggest songs for a mix CD. This was, of course, well before the days of Spotify or Apple Music. iPods were available but were still very expensive, especially for someone fresh out of uni working an entry level admin job.
But mix CDs were something I could do, admittedly using less than legitimate sources to make them. There was just something fun about downloading songs, putting them in an order that flowed in the right way, and then getting to experience bands and artists that I’d never heard of before. I’d walk to work with my discman and my cheap foam headphones like I used to when I was still at school and obsessively listening to songs I’d recorded onto cassette from the radio on my Walkman.
Over the years the technology changed. My discman upgraded to an iPod Nano, then an iPod Classic, and finally an iPhone. Those less than legitimate sources were replaced by iTunes, then Apple Music. But through all those changes I’ve never lost the love of creating playlists using friends’ suggestions and 16 years later I still do a monthly post on some of my social media channels asking for song suggestions which I then turn into a playlist for the commute to work (although I drive now rather than walk).
I’ve discovered bands that have become favourites of mine, I’ve listened to genres of music that I never would have considered (in multiple languages, a lot of which I don’t even speak). More importantly than that it’s a way of connecting with people. I get such a thrill recommending books, TV shows, or even hockey teams to my friends. This is a way for them to share something they love with me, and I get to experience something new.
As part of #MusicMonday I’ll be sharing my latest playlist and talking a bit about the songs that have stood out to me. I have to say that in the 16 years I’ve been doing this I can’t think of a single time I’ve listened to a song and thought ‘wow, I never want to listen to that again’. There are some I prefer to others, of course, but I really do just enjoy music as a whole even when it’s outside my general preferences.
This is why I make a point of saying in my posts that nothing is off limits. I honestly will try anything. The only rule I have is that I won’t add something that someone has recommended before, because this is about discovering new things. Aside from that anything goes.
Although I use Apple Music personally, Quench has a Spotify account where I will create my playists each month for you to listen to if you feel so inclined.
So, without further ado, this is the October 2019 playlist.
Generally at the end of each month I’ll put the songs I particularly liked on ‘Best of (year)’ playlist as well. It’s hard to say how, exactly, I make the selection, though. Sometimes it’s a song where the lyrics grab me, sometimes it’s songs that I can’t get out of my head, and sometimes it’s songs I end up singing along to whenever they come on. I’ll try and talk about the specifics of what I like on a song by song basis.
Ulysses 31 Theme Song
I’ll admit that despite being a child of the 80s I never actually watched Ulysses 31. That being said I do like the theme song a lot. It’s catchy, easy to sing along to and it’s very much reminiscent of the other cartoon shows that I did watch when I was a kid.
Karma – AJR
I really love the beat of this one. It’s one of those songs that has you tapping along even if you don’t know the words or the tune. The lyrics are actually kind of bleak in spite of the upbeat tempo, but I think that’s one of the reasons why I like it.
One Night in Bangkok – Murray Head
Confession: I have never seen or listened to Chess before. I sort of knew this song, but only vaguely from hearing it on the radio occasionally over the years. I like it, though. It’s another one of those that you find yourself singing along to. Not sure I like it enough to want to check out the musical but as a standalone song I like it.
Big in Japan – Alphaville
Story time. There’s a couple of Japan themed songs on this playlist because a few weeks ago, when he was told I wasn’t visiting on my usual Friday, my 7 year old nephew asked if it was because I was in Tokyo. We have no idea where he got that idea from. I’ve never been to Japan in my life and I’ve certainly never talked to him about going. But, anyway, a couple of my friends thought this was hilarious so hit me with songs about Japan.
This is a classic 80s song and while I don’t remember it from when I was a kid I fell in love with it pretty much the first time I listened to it. It conjures up all the nostalgic feelings of being a kid and discovering pop music while holed up in my bedroom listening to the radio.
Spirits Will Collide – Devin Townsend
I think what I love about this one is how well the gentle choir music of the verses goes with the rock music of the chorus. It’s just a really well put together song.
Shitlist – L7
While other songs on this playlist remind me of being a kid in the 80s, this one very much reminds me of being a teen in the 90s. Punk was never a genre that I was into as a teen, but I actually really love this song. It’s got a great tune, the lyrics are good to sing along to if you’re having a bad day, and it’s great to find new (to me) female fronted rock bands.
Pretend We’re Dead – L7
Sometimes it happens that someone will suggest a song, and someone else will see it and recommend a different song by the same artist. This is from the same album as Shitlist but is a bit more alternative/indie. It’s still very much got that 90s vibe to it, though, and I love it.
Say My Name – Alex Brightman, Sophia Anne Caruso, Kerry Butler & Rob McClure
I’ll admit I had no idea there was a Beetlejuice musical until this month. This song in particular is currently popular for lip sync videos on TikTok, which is where I first heard it (although just 60 seconds as that’s all TikTok allows). Now that I’ve heard the whole thing I love it. Definitely one to sing along to and I think I want to see if I can go to the show now that I’ve listened to this.
Wakin On a Pretty Day – Kurt Vile
This is a really chill song. The sort of thing you can imagine listening to while going for a drive on a Sunday afternoon. There’s just something calming and relaxing about it.
Rocky Mountain High – John Denver
This is probably the song that most surprised me with how much I liked it. Country and folk are probably two of the genres I’m least keen on (but I’ll always give it a try as per the rules). I suspect whoever recommended this to me was making a joke because my NHL team of choice is the Colorado Avalanche, who play in Denver. But actually I found myself singing along to this after the second time of listening to it and it gets stuck in my head a lot.
Drive – The Cars
This is another classic 80s song that I vaguely remember from when I was a kid. I hate to say it but this will always remind me of that scene in the first Transformers movie where Bumblebee is playing matchmaker for Sam and Mikaela. Still, it’s a good song and I still really like it.
That’s it for the October playlist. I’ll be back at the end of November for more #MusicMonday.