Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday's Music Moment: Munich by the Editors

It happens at least twice a week, while I'm walking my dog or washing dishes. A song comes on my iPod shuffle that causes me to stop and say, "What the hell is this? Did I download it?" A quick glance at the "Now Playing" screen doesn't help, because it's a band I've never heard of singing a song that is completely foreign to me.

I'm talking, of course, about iPod orphans - those songs that end up in your music library for no discernible reason.

It’s different from when your spouse's or your kids' music pops up on your list. Nothing sets my teeth on edge faster  than when I craft a nice slow mix as background music to a dinner party - some John Legend, Madeleine Peyroux, maybe a little Feist - only to have the Cheetah Girls bleat "Fuego, Fuego!"  to a faux-Latin/Lionel Richie disco backbeat as I'm passing the garlic green beans. I let the girls download that one to my iPod, and if it somehow crept into the shuffle I have no one to blame but myself.

Nor am I referring to the "Free Single of the Day" songs that I download if I happen to be on iTunes in search of something else. When I go to a See's Candies counter and they offer a free truffle, I am going to take it. Same with free music from Apple. One doesn't want to be rude.

But there is a small sub population of songs on my iPod that seems to have climbed aboard with no human intervention. Stars of Track and Field Centuries Before Love and War, singing "Movies of Antarctica"? Aisha Duo singing "Despertar"?  "From the Corner to the Block" by Galactic & Juvenile & Soul Rebels Brass Band? We're used to the occasional spate of robberies or car thefts here in Oakland. Maybe there's some philanthropically-minded gang sneaking into houses with the sole aim of expanding musical tastes through surreptitious downloading?

However the orphans arrive, I don't delete them. I respect their ability to surprise, their long names and their scrappiness, if not always their musicality.

The other reason not to delete them is that, once in awhile, the songs grow on you. Here's one that emerged unannounced one day. I used to live in Munich and I appreciate a musical reminder now and then to think of Biergartens and Butterbrez'n and Lederhosen. The Editors, from Birmingham UK, are no longer orphans, but have found a permanent home on my Alt Indie playlist.  Have a surprisingly pleasant weekend, everyone…


  1. One of my favorites: "All Sparks" - acoustic version, from the Attic Jam album. You can thank me later :)

  2. You know, that I think about it, you were here for dinner one night shortly before this showed's YOU! You're the downloader!

    Ok, probably not.

  3. And then it was 1987...


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