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What I’ve Been Listening To: Better-Off-Without-You Edition

I recently read a collection of Nick Hornby’s “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” essays for The Believer.  Of course, this has inspired me to try a similar “Stuff I’ve Been _____ing” exercise.  I’m not _____ much of anything a lot of the time, but, thankfully, this format poses few difficulties for the shiftless and noncommittal.  I could fill in that blank with any number of participles: Eating, Smelling, Becoming Annoyed At – just a smattering of the few _____s I usually do manage to accomplish every day.

This inaugural WIBLT just by happenstance has several pleasantly screw-you songs in it that have reminded me sometimes that part of the story is more satisfying than the love part.

My mother gave me a few albums recently that included Lady Antebellum’s “Better Off Now (That You’re Gone)” and Michael Bublé’s “It’s a Beautiful Day.”  Also on that Michael Bublé album is a duet of “Something Stupid” with Reese Witherspoon, but that made me remember that I actually like this version with Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman much better, probably because of the video:

She & Him videos are also pretty irresistible.  With the release of their Volume 3, I am excited to see them live this summer and have been doing a lot of dancing around to “I’ve Got Your Number, Son,” plus everything else they’ve ever done.  I’m a little bit obsessed with Zooey D. (in particular, with her hair) and a lot in love with New Girl.  Fans of the show will recognize Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen” from a pivotal moment a few episodes ago.

Also on tv, Nashville has been kind of fun to get into.  One of my favorite scenes was sweet-sounding Lennon and Maisy covering “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers.  Last summer, I saw The Lumineers in concert, just before the radio started playing them and they got bigger than both acts they were opening for.  One of those, Josh Ritter, is probably on my all-time-favorites list, and when I saw him live again recently, he sang “Galahad,” which I found myself listening to on repeat at work recently, in a large part because of these lines: “In heaven there’s no lamb chops, / Queen Guineveres for hand jobs, / marijuana, Kenny Rogers, or ecstasy, / no pillaging, no rape – perhaps / you’ve come by some mistake to me.”  I’m not sure whether those specific things are in heaven or not, but I enjoy that the plotting angel in this little story-song claims their absence as enough reason to avoid the place.

Since the CD player in my car has been broken for over a year, I listen to the radio, which means a lot of pop music, which even I can’t stand after a while.  I was glad to hear Tegan and Sara’s “Closer” and “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities on recent commutes, and have now added them to the “Music!” list on my iGadgets.  This now 1400+ song list is what I listen to whenever I’m walking anywhere.  Since walking is both my method of exercise and my preferred mode of transportation, it’s on a lot.

A somewhat-ironic-but-nonetheless-excellent walking song is “C’mon Let Me Ride” – Skylar Grey and Eminem.  I haven’t quite figured out whether Eminem is animal, vegetable, or mineral, but the song is so fun and ridiculous and really pumps me up so that for all of its three minutes and forty seconds I think, Yes!  I am going to stop eating so many Mike and Ikes and totally wear a bra top with shorts this summer!

Finishing out on the “better off without you” note, something I haven’t been listening to much because it’s so heartbreaking is Delta Rae’s “If I Loved You.”  It was a good reminder that I never, ever, ever, ever, x100 evers want to be either role in a relationship like that one.  I’ll take endlessly driving around to insufferable pop music in congested traffic over that every time.

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