Music meltdown

We’ve been driving a lot this summer. Matt’s family and my family live about 2.5 hours away and between pre-wedding events for my brother’s upcoming nuptials and Matt’s family get togethers, we’re on the road home many weekends.

It’s not a great drive; it’s not a bad drive, but it is a lot of hours in the car. With a lot of hours in the car comes a lot of hours of music. Although Matt and I don’t have the exact same taste in music we do enjoy each others favourites and there are rarely arguments over what to listen to. We have a pretty solid system where the passenger is in charge of the ipod but the driver has veto  on song choice.

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But, it’s not all hunky-dory (why does no one use this word anymore, it’s amazing!). See, Matt is particularly particular about what type of music he feels like right this second.

For me, I choose my music based on my mood. If I’m pumped up and excited about the weekend, then my ipod play list features the likes of Gaga, the Ting Tings and the Black Eyed Peas. If I’m more mellow and relaxed, I’ll move to the Avett Brothers, Counting Crows or Dave Matthews. If I’m in between moods or undecided about my mood, I’ll go for something with a bit of an out of the box sound like Modest Mouse.

All of these choices seem pretty basic and self-explanatory to me. If you break it down, I pretty much find songs that fit the beat of my mood.

But, Matt is infinitely more complex in his music choices. What mood he’s in is important, but it is certainly not the only ingredient when he mixes his cocktail of “music I’ll listen to right this second“.

Nope, he has to make it all complicated and therefore he has to make my life complicated because inevitably I’ll pick the wrong music and be forced to find an acceptable alternative.

From what I can gather, Matt’s music falls into many categories and in order to get the right music you must have taken courses in advanced library sciences in order to figure out the appropriate cross-references that will lead to the perfect song or artist right this second.

First of all, the music must suit the season. There are summer songs and winter songs. Now, you’d think this is simply his aversion to listening to Katy Perry’s California Gurls* in November or his hatred of Here Comes Santa Claus in July. But no, the seasonal categories are deep and scientifically cataloged. Unfortunately, I can’t even find my way through the Dewy Decimal system let alone Matt’s catalog of seasonally appropriate music. He has entire albums and favourite songs that he only listens to for 4 months of the year.

So far, I’ve discovered that Weezer is most certainly summer appropriate. After that, I’m lost.

But, it doesn’t end there. Once you’ve nailed down the summer/winter schism then you have to cross-reference with the weather. Is it raining? Is it sunny? Is it humid? Are we about to get a thunderstorm? Are we in the middle of a thunderstorm? Yes, I bet the music for pre-thunderstorm weather is different from the music for mid-thunderstorm weather.

Finally, you have the time of day to fit into the shakedown. Is it early? Too early for raucous rock music? Or is it just the right time for some loud wake-me-up jams? Is it mid-afternoon? Dusk? Midnight? Do you want the music that will keep you awake while driving or are you awake enough but it’s just that right amount of dark outside that it’s time for some relaxing Simon & Garfunkle?

Gah! How’s a girl to navigate such a minefield of no that’s not quite right? Does anyone else pick their music like this? I know one of Matt’s brothers is the same way but the other brother picks his music more like I do – based only on what he feels like listening to.

How do you pick what to listen to? Is it half as complicated as this?

*Why do people do this! Why do they spell things incorrectly on purpose. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s certainly not witty. In fact, it makes you look like a schmuck. I think Katy and the owner of the Krazy Karpets down the street from me need to review their word lists more carefully.

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4 Responses to “Music meltdown”


  1. 1 Ronnica July 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I like your system between driver/passenger. I’m with you though, I pick music based on mood as well. Matt’s system is too complicated!

  2. 2 Erin July 6, 2010 at 12:43 am

    “Gurls” makes me cringe. But I must admit that I did have a “kewl” stage, so I guess I’m not really one to talk.
    I do music binges. I fall in love with a particular artist or a particular song and I listen to it over and over again until everyone around me likely wants to beat me over the head with whatever device I am playing it on.

    • 3 clairesuzanne July 6, 2010 at 9:51 am

      I also do music binges. I work hard to avoid the repeat button when I’m driving with others. But, it takes a lot of effort.

      • 4 Kate July 7, 2010 at 11:01 am

        The Repeat button is the best button! A must have when listening to Waka Waka!

        Personal I relate music to the time of year I first heard the song – based on this, and where I live, anything that has come out in the past 5 years is summer music.


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