Don’t ever ask anyone “What type of music do you listen to?” First of all, if you’re asking this, you are probably talking to a woman at a bar who is enduring your proximity for five minutes in exchange for a $7 Cape Cod. Second, unless the response is oddly specific (“I only listen to Gangnam Style twenty times a day, but never the video”), you are beginning a predictable conversation. 90% of the time, the conversation will go down one of two paths (which is actually the same path).

  1. I listen to everything except Country.
  2. I listen to everything except Rap. You know, the hardcore stuff with all their ‘bitches’ and ‘hos.’

Now you’re in a conversation about music you don’t like.

A curious phenomenon– people who don’t like Rap feel the need to explain the exclusion. Also, they don’t find it necessary to update their response to “I don’t like Hip-Hop” since they haven’t listened to anything new since it was actually called “Rap.” For the record, Outkast is neither HipHop nor Rap, but a substance unto themselves. Outkast owns its own subgenre called Outkast. People who don’t like Country know their response needs no such explanation. Persuading someone into/out of enjoying Country music is more difficult than changing someone’s perspective on abortion. “You should try it out” just doesn’t get it done.

The answer to “What type of music do you like?” is different from “What type of music do you listen to?” Usually, the music you are listening to is someone else’s choice. If you are listening to your radio on the way home from work, someone else’s choice is probably Adam Levine or Maroon 5. Technically, if you listen to DC101 or 107.3, Adam Levine’s computer-ish voice is is the music you listen to. His track on “Stereo Hearts” is such a hook– I’m not sure if I like it, but the only cure to getting it out of my head is to listen to it fifty more times. Ugh. “My Humps” faded from memory; this will too.

Which songs you like is a better conversation than which music you like. This is why everyone should look at whatever device everyone is using to store music and look at your Top 25 Most Played. This list is literally the answer to “Which songs do you like?” I am not surprised my list is mostly wildly upbeat, high energy songs. What did surprise me is that I’ve listened to “Oh Yeah” 43 times and is my 5th most played song. You hear it when Ferris Bueller opens the garage to the Ferrari– it’s the “chicka-chickahhh” song.

Look at your own list first, then cast stones. I could write pages on why “In Da Club” and “Sledgehammer” are brilliant, layered, and complex– but I’m not going to.

Also, some error analysis– Zep, Pink Floyd, Beatles won’t make the list because they are either on the radio constantly or I’ve heard every song hundreds of times before I bought my iPod. M.J and Weird Al Yankovic would be on the list except I youtube the hell out of their videos. Also, had I not gone through a 7-year CAKE phase before I bought this iPOD, CAKE would own more spots.

1 In Da Club (50 Cent) 102

2 Sledgehammer (Peter Gabriel) 53

3 Get Back (Ludacris, not Beatles) 46

4 Too Young To Fall In Love (Motley Crue) 45      Not a love song.

5 Oh Yeah (Yello) 43

6 Break Ya Neck (Busta Rhymes) 41

7 Around The World (Daft) 40

8 Party In The USA (Yes, Miley Cyrus) 40    Shuddup. This song is awesome.

9 What’s My Name (Snoop) 39

10 The Distance (Cake) 37

11 The Shores of The Cosmic Ocean (Carl Sagan) 37     An Episode of Cosmos I like to fall asleep to.

12 My Time Is Now (John Cena’s entrance music) 36      I play this on speakers when I walk into work sometimes.

13 Make Some Noise (Beastie Boys) 35

14 Seduction Mix Tape 31     Ok, let me explain. With GarageBand, I made a 60 second recording of back-to-back 5 second clips of corny/ hilarious love songs for a woman who almost wanted to go on a date with me. I mashed up “Take on Me,” “More Than a Feeling,” “I Touch Myself,” “Ice, Ice, Baby,” and more. I recorded this on her voice mail and she eventually called to tell me I am both idiotic and attractive. Apparently she laughed hysterically and solicited opinions from friends. “You have to go out with this weirdo,was their response. “Who does that?” Go big, friends.

15 Kickstart My Heart (Motley Crue) 31

16 I’m The Bomb (Electric Six) 30

17 Hey Ya (Outkast) 30

18 Bombs Over Baghdad (Outkast) 30

19 Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (Beatles) 29    I would NEVER say this is the best Beatles song. iPod proves it’s my favorite.

20 Da Funk (Daft) 29

21 Heavy (Collective Soul) 29         According to VH1, Collective Soul received more radio play in the 90’s than any other band. “Shine,” the most played song. Seems strange until you realize “Shine” was played on both rock and Top40 stations. ANYWAY, “Heavy” is straight– heavy.

22 Yeah! (Usher, Luda, Lil Jon) 29

23 Little Deuce Coupe (Beach Boys) 29       Again, how can this be my favorite Beach Boys song? Empirically– it’s my favorite.

24 Verdis Quo (Daft) 28

25 Twisted Transistor (Korn) 27

Dr. Dre was involved with three of my Top 10, there’s a solid spread of metal, and (old) Daft Punk gets plenty of headphone time. The tendency towards wildly upbeat songs suggests I either

  1. Want to be happy all of the time
  2. Am happy all of the time
  3. Or the total opposite is true and I’m actively fighting off apathy throughout the day

I hope to have this exchange one day:

“Alex, what type of music do you like?”

“You know the one song– chicka-chickahhh?”

“From Ferris Bueller? ‘BOW-BOW… chicka-chickahhh…’”

“Yes! That and John Cena’s entrance music is apparently what I like.”

“You are so f***in’ interesting.”

“Yes. Yes I am.”

This will never happen. If anyone asks me what music I like, I’ll just slide over my iPod and headphones (always on my person). Anything to avoid talking about what music someone else likes.