I was once a little…um, okay, terribly obsessed with iTunes. I got my first iPod in 2004 and became immediately entranced by Apple’s seeming infinite lists of music for sale. Over the years, I spent way too much time on iTunes and spent way too much money on music, some of which was great, and some of which was not. In 2011, for the sake of my sanity and my bank account, I went cold turkey. I suspended my iTunes activities and completely stopped visiting site. With the iTunes Diaries, I take a look back, highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly in music that I just had to have in the moment.
I’ve mentioned before that the soundtracks to Tony Hawk’s skateboarding games played pivotal roles in shaping much of my musical meanderings of the late 1990s and early to mid 2000s. For several years, my husband played them so frequently that they practically replaced the stereo, cassettes and CDs included. Those games were our life’s soundtrack. Why I don’t simply own the soundtracks to the games now, I really don’t know. Maybe it’s because making connections from single songs on them have provided me with more mileage than I’d ever get from possessing a massive sound catalog.
I’ve also mentioned before that I once harbored (and still do, though to a lesser extent) an addiction to mash-ups. Like the blended musical smoothies of the Tony Hawk soundtracks, through mash-ups I’ve discovered dozens of new artists and have taken a liking to some mainstream artists that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. There just something about incredibly appealing in hearing songs used as a medium to create something new, almost like a painter uses paint or a writer uses words.
It is through skateboarding video games and mash-ups that I first met the Scissor Sisters. And I can’t quite remember which came first, but I’m going to wager that the first time I heard this raucous group, and the reason I became hooked, was with “Filthy/Gorgeous,” which was on the soundtrack of Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland (2005). See, because I’m a whore for disco. You can probably blame my parents and their ABBA tapes for that, but I L-O-V-E me some disco rhythms. Putting aside the 1970s for the moment, the sound of disco is thumpy and catchy, sometimes shitty and usually addictive regardless. From the common beats of “I Will Survive” to slushy syncopations of “It’s Alright” by Jamiroquai, disco is quite alright with me. So of from the punky, emo-y, hardcore (maybe?) sounds of American Wasteland rose “Filthy/Gorgeous” like a phoenix from the set of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. And I fell deeply in lust.
One of my most favorite mash-ups of all time is among the first I ever heard: “No One Takes Your Freedom” by DJ Earworm. I’m thinking that it had to be 2007 or 2008 when I first heard it, and it just works. A good mash-up is fun to listen to and easy to pick apart. A brilliant mash-up is one that you could mistake for an original song. “No One Takes Your Freedom” rightly falls on the side of brilliant. It’s melded together so seamlessly and effortlessly – it’s pure aural joy.
Knowing what I little knew of the Scissor Sisters then, I was a pleasantly surprised to hear another side of the group in the song “Take Your Mama.” This side was poppy, a teensy bit folk-y, and easy-going. No dance-y rhythms or suede-covered, sky-high platform heels here, just a solid, fun song about having a solid, fun time.
While all my iTunes deviations have led to some kind of further exploration of a song or a group or a genre of music, very rarely has that culminated in the purchase of full albums. The Scissor Sisters are the most recent exception to this, and I love that their albums reside in my collection. Both “Filthy/Gorgeous” and “Take Your Mama” are on their 2004 self-titled album, which also contains an excellent rendition of “Comfortably Numb.” I got those two songs in separate transactions, and the albums followed on their heels. I love that I can call upon their musical journies whenever I require a little disco and a lot of heart spooned into my soul.