Friday, April 25, 2008

iRorschach: The Game Show

All In All - My Friend Steve (mp3)

Common People - William Shatner (mp3)

"You sure do love your whiners." --
One of my oldest and most trustworthy friends in the whole world has said this in regards to my musical preferences.

In my previous post, I asked the following question: Do the characters with whom we identify shape who we become, or do we simply identify with whom are destined to be?

Megan G. is slightly overweight -- maybe "big-boned" -- and had hair bordering on black. It wasn't naturally that color. If she didn't dye it, her hair would be what my mother lovingly describes as "chicken-s#!t brown." She streaks it every month or so, mostly pink, but occasionally lavender or blue to mix it up and remind everyone of her originality. She'd like to convince you that her weight and her hair aren't the two most important things to know about her, but in the back of her mind, she kinda fears that they are.

Megan was mostly in the loop in her middle school years but started to fall out of the center of things by high school. Maybe she had some serious acne problems. Possibly she had a bad experience with a boy while out with a group and drinking, possibly experimenting with drugs. Whatever the case, although she held onto her love of that cheesy music she adored in her younger years -- "Forever Your Girl" and "I Saw the Sign" -- by the time she got to high school, her musical tastes got angry and aggressive. Lords of Acid and Limp Bizkit, Rob Zombie and Sevendust, and plenty of Drowning Pool thrown in for good measure.

Her family was middle-class, and only to the degree that I can claim to be 6-feet tall even though I'm only 5'10". Her dad, who left when she was still that happy middle school kid, got Megan an iPod Nano for her 17th birthday. Megan wasn't all that obsessed with music. She enjoyed listening to it, but mostly as an afterthought or to stave off boredom, not because she constantly hungered to experience it.

She hated high school. Hated. It. It was everything that's wrong with this country, wrong with this world, from adults who only show up to get paid to peers who only show up to get laid. Everything about high school boiled down to sex, which only served to constantly remind her that she wasn't all that physically appealing. And being reminded of it only served to start her down the vicious cycle of bitterness and pasty-white pudginess.

Megan got her first tattoo at the end of her second semester at Chatt. State. She got more attention and comments from classmates about that one goddamn tattoo than she'd gotten about anything in, like, her whole life. She had three more by the end of August. But just like any fix, the return on investment went downhill quickly, so that fourth one was her last.

In late October, she traded her Nano at McKay's. She had bought an iPod Touch with the money she'd saved up working 30 hours a week while taking classes at Chattanooga State. The purchase was more of an impulsive, rebellious act than anything. She was sick of seeing others around her buying shit they couldn't afford, and she wanted to know what it felt like.

* * * * *

When my wife told me she wanted an iPod Nano for Christmas last year, I went out and got her a used one at the local Used Pop Culture Valhalla we call McKay's. When I got it home, I discovered it still had the previous owner's collection of 400 some-odd songs.

Of those 400, a quarter of the songs were by three artists: Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Nirvana. Although these pointed to a male owner, I'd bet the farm the previous owner was female. She had 10 Tori Amos songs from two different albums. She also had "Ice, Ice Baby," and a healthy portion of Ace of Base and Paula Abdul.

Of the two males I have ever known who owned more than one Tori Amos album, both were gay, and neither would have been caught dead listening to Marilyn Manson.

With just her iPod Nano -- named "Megan" -- I constructed a rudimentary psychological profile of this former owner. My creation kinda depressed me. So I returned the iPod Nano to McKay's 10 days after Christmas and got my wife a refurbished one, a green beauty exorcised of all previous-owner's musical demons.

But I kept 100 or so of Megan's songs. Can't really explain why. But Marilyn Manson's version of "Tainted Love" and Limp Bizkit's version of "Faith" both should be nominated for "Worst Cover Songs Ever" consideration.

* * * * *

There should be a new game show where 10 people hand over their iPods, and the first 100 songs that play on their SHUFFLE are listed off. Two contestants would face off to try and match up the playlist with the 10-person panel. Each person on the panel would give a 1-minute bio about themselves, including the crucial stats -- age, marital status, hometown, current town, etc. It would be a mix between "What's My Line?" and that Penn Jillette gameshow "Identity."

Then again, I'm not sure I want to know the biography someone would predict for me based on the if someone looked at the first 100 songs that emerged from my SHUFFLE.

"You sure do love your whiners..."

"All in All" by My Friend Steve is the whiniest of all the whiny songs I've ever loved. "Common People" by William Shatner w/Joe Jackson is the most kickass song ever recorded by an over-the-top melodramatic actor slash icon. The former can only be purchased on their used CD, "Hope and Wait." The latter is worth every penny to buy it on iTunes.


Bob said...

Billy, this is really very cool. Great post.

Joker said...

Whiny white boy music is the actual term of art I used. The music makes the man.

Billy said...

OK. I make a decent post, you get to see the Plant/Krauss concert. I somehow think you still end up ahead.

BUT, thanks for the compliment. How about I treat you and your wife to dinner tomorrow night?

Bob said...

Sure, and since Robin won't really be drinking much, if any, wine, you and I can share her portion to help Scott "make the wines work out." Oh, we'll work them out, all right.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, Billybob. Don't get too excite about sharing a two way with that wine. Ann's a no-show so I'm Paco's date. I believe Robin's wine is going to experience a three way.