Thursday, May 26, 2011

What do you Shazam?

In these informational times we all live in, it is rare I am without a device that tells me everything I need to know about the music I listen to. Whether it is an ipod, computer, satellite radio, the notion that I can not get an instantaneous answer to whatever I'm listening to is quite antiquated. Radio? Does that still exist? Is Rush Limbaugh spinning discs and hawking the top 40 yet?

However, there are times when I find myself in a weird continuum where I am not with my ipod (usually weeping in a corner) nor with any satellite radio device (occasionally I am forced to take horse and buggies to places) and am a slave to audio only output. And in those rare occasions, an even rarer occasion happens; I hear something that I enjoy.

(Let it be said right now, this happenstance is not a result of me being some sort of music snob. Far from it. I enjoy many different genres of music. And I actively enjoy seeking out new types of music. No, this is more an indictment of modern radio and television and the choices they make when they literally have an infinite number of choices available to them (because music is constantly being created, even as we speak), they still choose to go with the latest Katy Perry song or Journey's Don't Stop Believing. (Please don't take this as an indictment on Journey's Don't Stop Believing either; I happen to unironically enjoy that song, much to my hipster friends' chagrin. It's just that perhaps it's time to retire it? I mean, I'm not even suggesting we leave the Journey catalog; Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' is an excellent song that could sell many a bottle of shampoo, no?) It's actually quite maddening, and if I were a musician of any sort, I might throw my hands up in despair.

Now, up until a few years ago when some stray tune tickled my fancy, I had to live with the fact that I may never learn the identity of the singer/band that created it. But then someone came along and created Shazam, an app for our so called "smart" phones. Simply hold the phone up so it can create an "audio fingerprint" and match it against a database of songs presumably numbering in the hundreds - and possibly more. Seriously, I have been rebuffed exactly once in 30 times I've used it or so, and while I wish I could tell you what the song was, that would defeat the purpose of the service, this blog post, and, to a much lesser extent, my existence.

But it has helped me out of a jam (if you can consider not immediately knowing a song you suddenly hear somewhere a "jam") here and there when listening to a radio, a commercial, or sometimes even a bumper for a radio program (ex: The Ron and Fez show). And it also shows exactly what can be done with technology, if that's something that makes you feel good in your nether region.

Anyway, I've amassed quite a few songs in my Shazam list (I'm really not sure what to call it) and decided why not share them with you? Perhaps one or two will make you smile and tap your toe against the leg of your desk in the soul crushing job you're currently enslaved at. I will tell you this, none of the selections are downtrodden; on the seems when I don't know the identity of a song and want to know it I choose uptempo jingles!

Please also note - in the case of a few of these I Shazamed them simply to learn the artist OR the song title - I knew one but not the other. For example, I am reasonably comfortable with my knowledge to be able to pick out Prince singing. However, as you will see, I don't know his entire catalog...

A couple of other notes before sending you to the playlist...

Yes, it's true. I can't identify an Arcade Fire song immediately. They never clicked for me. If you feel this is a slight against the universe, please use the comments section to tell me what songs to listen to. And don't just say entire albums. I did some work for you, the reciprocity of that would be nice.

Yup, I was the last one to get on the Adele bandwagon.

Nope, never heard the Misfits before this. Now I'm sure some of you will find that disgusting.

Same goes for Roxy Music.

Don't just skip over the Grateful Dead song. I didn't with Roxy Music and look where I am now.

To take a listen to just what the hell I've been talking about it, please click here. I apologize for sending you away, but Grooveshark is not cooperating with their embedded player right now.

The Big Papa song was for this fine theatrical trailer:

Happy birthday Levon Helm!

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