you are what you listen to?

All morning I’ve been listening to Tom Waits sing “I hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You.” Repeat. I was never a Tom Waits fan, and I’m still not. I first heard Natalie Merchant sing it, and once I learned it was a cover, I had to hear the original. Tom Waits does it better. Once an ex seduced me by playing it on his guitar. Point for him. The music I listen to might as well be a chick flick. I’m such a sucker for acoustic guitar. If my life had a soundtrack, all the songs but one would be played with an acoustic guitar. The ACDC pole dance song, You Shook Me All Night Long, would remain hard.

When men meet me for the first time, they sometimes ask, “What do you listen to?” Notice when women meet for the first time, we never ask this question. And the thing is, if you’re a woman and interested in a guy who asks you this, you’ll answer something safe most times. U2, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band. A better question, “What’s on your ipod recently played list?” I believe that we all have this deep desire to connect with someone, and to do it, we look for common interests or tastes. Wow, you like Pearl Jam too? Big deal, who doesn’t? And any guy who right off the cuff tells me he likes Norah Jones, Dido, or The Indigo Girls… I’ve got to look down at his drink and make sure it doesn’t have more color than a dirty martini. Fruit Salad. There’s so much judgment passed on people based on what they listen to (and what they drink). And those of you who answer back, “I listen to all different stuff.” Just come on. We all listen to myriad types of music. Duh. Pick something, will you? Anyone who gives you that answer… they are a people pleaser… be warned. Red Flag. See, I told you. Judgments.

And just FYI, I listen to The Shins, Colin Hay, Coldplay, Dido, Nick Drake, Amel Larrieux, Barenaked Ladies, Crash Test Dummies, Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, Erika Badu, Eva Cassidy, India Arie, John Mayer, Joni Mitchell, Kasey Chambers, Lauren Hill (I LOVE HER, BUT WHERE IS SHE?), Louis Armstrong, Moxy Fruvous, Nikki Costa, Patsy Cline, REM, Remy Zero, Radiohead, Renaud, Simon & Garfunkel, Susan Tedeschi, Taj Mahal, The Postal Service, They Might Be Giants, Tina Turner, Tori Amos, Tracy Chapman, Train, Travis, The Wallflowers, Vonda Shepard, and of course my Natalie Merchant.

Please, no judgments. It doesn’t mean we wouldn’t get along… um, except if you listen to White Fang, White Snake, or any other band that sounds scary. Then you can just forget it, you whack.



  1. i am a sucker for clean female vocals. Diana Krall, Sarah Mclachlan, Norah Jones, Natalie Merchant, and a bunch of obscure singers. what i listen to mainly depends on what im feeling, although i can listen to different things to force myself into certain moods. as an artist, i do this often… oh yeah, i love hawaiian music too, of course.

  2. alright, I'll bite.

    musical acts in my iTunes top 25 most played (for february):

    Kanye West, Green Day, Reggie and the Full Effect, Bettie Serveert, The Cure, The Flaming Lips, Jota Quest (Brazilian pop music, haha), Missy, No Doubt, The Pharcyde, Cave In, Das Exf (nostalgia factor for me).

    Favorite band of all time? Jane's Addiction.

    If anyone can make a judgement on me based on what I listen to, give it a shot. Or not.

  3. Once I was the King of Spain. Hey wait – you're not listening to Ethan Lipton yet? Gee whiz. Check him out; web page has a couple of mp3's to download, and his CD Baby page has plenty of streaming samples.

    I often can't think of anything to answer when people ask me what I listen to. I really do listen to a lot of different stuff, and I often listen lightly, and sometimes months will go by with nothing poking its head up through the mix. So the answer is often something along the lines of, "Well, I listened to Joe Jackson's 'Vol. 4' the other day, and I've got Curtis Eller's EP in my bag."

    Then there's the ever-discouraging "oh, some mp3's." "Anything good?" "Well, yeah, but I don't remember any of it now."

  4. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang, "Hey Ya!"

    I have no idea what that says about me.

  5. Music, one of my favorite subjects. If it was not for my love of Nikka Costa, I would have probably have never met Stephanie, cause I told her I thought she resembled her. Turns out she likes her music also. Double cool points.
    My favorite artist of all time is Prince, based on the 55 concerts I've seen him perform and over 300 CDs in my collection. But right up there next would be in no order, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, Lenny Kravitz, Marvin Gaye, Terence Trent D'arby, Coldplay, Nikka Costa, U2, Dave Matthews Band, Santana, Michael Jackson(pre surgury), Brand New Heavies, Maxwell, and a few others.

  6. Hey, I'm a straight guy and I LOVE Norah Jones, though you're correct to cast aspersions on any male who admits to liking the Indigo Girls or Dido.

    Btw, I also love the Beatles, Springsteen, Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, and all sorts of other music from before I was born…

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