Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Music and Associations

I've changed my music listening habits. I don't listen to as much music as I used to, but when I do listen, I tend to prefer whole albums to either compilations or "Greatest Hits" albums. There are a few exceptions, which I'll talk about, but for the most part, I tend to get accustomed to a sequence of songs and it throws off my ability to enjoy the music if I'm being shifted around a lot. I tend to prefer albums over Greatest Hits compilations partially for that reason (I get confused if "Getting Better" is not followed by "Fixing a Hole") and would prefer to listen to a more accurate representation of where a band was at musically at any given time than just listen to their most popular works as selected by someone who isn't me. Plus the fact that everyone who's released more than one album (and some who haven't) has a Greatest Hits record.

What I've noticed, however, is that certain albums are very, very strongly tied to vivid memories in my mind. When I was getting ready to go in to work today, I threw on Buck-O-Nine's Twenty-Eight Teeth, an album that's not superb and that I haven't listened to in years but that was around during the third-wave ska surge of the late nineties, and so, to my shock, other people had it.

Chances are you only listened to My Town

I noticed, about halfway through "Jennifer's Cold" that I desperately wanted to be playing GoldenEye 007. Somehow, Buck-O-Nine and their fairly standard pop-ska-punk have become inexorably linked to me running around a dam in Arkhangelsk trying to figure out what to do with the little uplink bugger and then looking for something to bungee jump off of.

Off the top of my head, and this is somewhat unsurprising, I can think of two other albums that come to mind if I think about a video game. One of them I'm a tinge embarassed to admit . One I'm not. Guess which one's which for a prize.

Music: "Moonshot! A Moon Ska Records Compilation"

Game: The Legend of Zelda-Ocarina of Time

I know. I said I don't listen to many compilations. This is one exception. It was one of the first CD's I'd ever purchased with my own money (and may or may not have been the second album I ever bought) and I've listened to it so many times that it bothers me when "Nex Finga" by Skinnerbox isn't immediately followed by "Regular Guy" by Easy Big Fella. It's stuck in my memory there because my friend and I resolved to learn the lyrics to "Nex Finga" which are sung quickly and in an accent while beating the Water and Shadow Temples.

Yes, I still remember them.

Music: Tubthumper by Chumbawamba


Game: Legend of Zelda- A Link to the Past

I know. I know. Stop yelling at me, I know. Although, really, if you skip "Tubthumping" and the insanely excessive airplay it got when the record came out and listen to the rest of it as an album like any other, it's really not that bad. Anyway, I remember having it in a CD player and not bothering to take it out while I was playing this. I distinctly associate "Drip, Drip, Drip" with one of those "here's some water-striders" dungeons and "Mary Mary" with knocking armored knights into an abyss rather than the movie on whose soundtrack it appears. Possibly embarassing? Sure. But honest.

And yes, there are albums that remind me of things which aren't games in the Legend of Zelda series. Two examples.

Music: The Mouse and the Mask by DangerDoom


I hadn't really heard of MF DOOM when I decided to buy this album and had only heard of Danger Mouse as the guy who came up with The Grey Album, a mashup of the Beatles' White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album and knew that it was somehow tied in to Adult Swim. I ended up really enjoying the album (and buying more MF DOOM) and really strongly associate it with biking into work first year, because it was one of the few albums I had placed on a tiny mp3 player I owned at the time and listened to it pretty much every day. I associate "Benzie Box" and "Old School" specifically with the stretch of Sheridan between Estes and Tuohy. Probably because I would get to that stretch of road on the way home in about the time it took to get to "Benzie Box."

Music: Jinx by Quarashi

Associated with: the intersection of Peebles Road and McKnight Road in Ross Township, PA

This is, I think pretty obviously, copyright Google, but for some reason when I cropped the picture to include it, I cropped out the mark. Please don't sue me, Google. Afterall, Murphspot will eventually quadruple the number of people that use Blogger. Eventually.

I wish I had an explanation for that one. Oddly, I associate that corner with the first track, "Stick 'em up" and the stretch of road about a mile before that intersection with the second track, "Mr. Jinx". That confuses me further.

And there we are. Done with today's post one minute before midnight. Hopefully, I'll be able to get this up in time, but I'm typing this at a Burger King and the internet connection is really shoddy. We'll see. Oh, and editing may take place after midnight. Deal with it.

Let's say for the sake of argument that people actually ever read this. And that those people who do listen to music. Am I the only one who strongly associates music with very specific actions, or is there an album you listen to that you can remember listening to at a specific time and place?

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