Non-Celebrity Playlist

I read an article today about an actor’s “Celebrity Playlist,” and even though the parameters of assigning songs to the Playlist were a mystery (Is it favorite songs of all time? Songs with the most sentimental value? Who knows) and even though I am not a celebrity, I made one too. So here it is.

My parameters were that I am too lazy to actually sit down and think about what should be on my Celebrity Playlist, so my list was compiled by scrolling through what is currently in my iTunes cloud and looking at the songs I listen to the most, which is a quite a bit for someone who doesn’t listen to music all that much.

Antony and the Johnsons – Cut the World

I just discovered Antony Hegarty a little over two years ago, and I love him. Very operatic, moody, reflective, and inspiring, with an unusual voice and some interesting lyrical perspectives. The video for “Cut the World” that I linked to above has a violent scene in it, so be warned (but it also has Willem Dafoe, which can never be a bad thing IMO). But it’s an interesting piece and a beautiful song.

CocoRosie – Gallows

“Freak Folk” that utilizes everything from children’s toys to kazoos to harps to make really strange yet pretty music. Bianca Casady’s scratchy voice often raps over the melodies of her opera-trained sister. Their first album was recorded in a bathroom, I believe, but they’ve moved into the studio since then while maintaining the weird beauty that attracted them to me in the first place. Cool videos too – I’ve linked before to their video for “We Are on Fire,” which I find visually inspiring.

Dr. Wu – Steely Dan

I love Steely Dan. My favorite band, hands-down. I had a hard time choosing which songs to put on my playlist, but I chose this one because I my first pet, a little rat terrier, was nicknamed (among other things) Dr. Woo, and I would often sing parts of this song to him (are you with me,  Dr. Wu…). Great saxophone in this song.

Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr. – Be Blessed

A gospel song a friend of mine sent to me the day my grandmother died; I was feeling so terribly low, and I really didn’t know this person very well, but she sent me a link to the song and I listened to it over and over while I cried for my lost granny. I don’t listen to gospel music, and I’m not particularly religious, but this song touched my heart at a time I really needed solace, and I still listen to it often, especially when I’m feeling down or frustrated (when they sing “I see you in the future/and you look better” well, it always gets me just a little).

Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights

I love Kate Bush. I could put loads of her songs on this list,  but Wuthering Heights sums her up so well, I’ll just stick with this one. The song, the video – it’s all so seventies and perfectly cheesy and fabulously dramatic. Love love love her.

The Flaming Lips – Feeling Yourself Disintegrate

I’m a fickle Lips fan, primarily loving The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, which probably makes me uncool, but they were two excellent albums. And I once had a cat named Yoshimi –  sadly, she only lived five years. Feeling Yourself Disintegrate is a lovely song about mortality and one’s need to accept it in order to appreciate the beauty of life. Great stuff. (life/without death/ is just impossible/to realize…)

Peg – Steely Dan

It’s Steely Dan. This song makes me so happy I want to bash my head against something every time it comes on. I will be that woman humiliating herself by dancing ecstatically in her car on the freeway if I hear it while driving. Best groove ever, with a killer bass.

Bodhisattva – Steely Dan


Joe Henry – Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation

OK, now I’m getting all moody again. “Scar” is a bluesy, jazzy, gorgeous album, and this song, with its long, mournful Ornette Coleman alto sax solo, is six minutes of sublime. Fabulous title, too.

Old 97s – Big Brown Eyes

The Old 97s were the pride of Dallas back in the 90s. I always expected them to break and become huge, but it never happened. Their early albums were part of the alternative country wave that eventually burned out, and they temporarily turned away from the scene and started recording poppier stuff. I lost interest, and never got into them again when they returned to writing songs more in their original style. They’re still around, but for me their first 2 or 3 albums are still the best ones.

Richard Thompson – 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

In my humble and non-musically educated opinion, one of the best folk ballads I’ve ever heard. Richard Thompson is one of hell of a guitarist; I love him overall but for me this song sums up why more than anything.

Rufus Wainwright – Sonnet 20

Rufus Wainwright playing setting Shakespeare’s sonnets to music and singing along? (A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted/ Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion) Sign me up. I actually like his Sonnet 10 better, but couldn’t find a decent video recording of it.

Tom Jones – It’s not Unusual

Another song that makes me so happy I want to smash something; after listening to all the apparently depressing stuff  I like (never realized it until making this list) it’s no wonder I need a song like this every now and then. Must stop and dance every time I hear it no matter what I’m doing. My friend Candace and I spent one summer day years ago driving around town, getting out of the car in weird locations and doing the “Carlton” dance to this song (from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air); we filmed the whole thing and put it into a video with this playing. I’ll have to dig that up from wherever I stored it and let you all see it. We danced at a putt-putt golf place, a library, a fire station…all over town. It was a blast.

Tom Waits – Tom Traubert’s Blues

I guess there are better Tom Waits songs, but this has always been my favorite. Sad and pretty and rather depressing while still melodic – which seems to be a trend with me.

FM – Steely Dan

No static at all. I dunno, just had to end with another Dan.








6 thoughts on “Non-Celebrity Playlist

  1. This is a great idea. I am unfamiliar with most of these but love Steely Dan, of course. I will listen to your selections — I am always up for new music to put on my iPod. We went to see Tom Jones in concert a few years ago when he came to LA because Geoffrey and some friends wanted to see him. At the time I was unenthused by the prospect, but that guy really performed his a** off and I realized how much of his music I really do enjoy. I hope he lives forever.

    • I would love to see Tom Jones! Some of these old dudes have been performing so long they can just do it in their sleep but still entertain. i saw John Fogerty a few years ago and was amazed at his energy and how long he performed. Also like you, I didn’t realize how much of his music I knew and liked. I’m not a huge music person, mostly I prefer silence, but I still have some favorites.

      • We went to see Fogerty too! At the Greek Theater in LA. I am forgetting where we saw Tom Jones but in a similar place. They must have been making the rounds. Same with Fogerty, I had forgotten all his great music. We also went to see Erick Clapton and the Eagles. Geoffrey is into all that stuff and I tag along, dreading it and then loving it. I love the Eagles. Gotta drag that iPod out of my purse. Just talking about this reminds me that I like to clean with it on…

  2. Surprised, so few “comments”. Well I’ll try a big add on. Your choices, wonderful. I liked best
    Old 97’s and the Gospel chorus. The others , specially Steely Dan , very simpatico. So if you
    will indulge me, I’m making a “list” and ask , if you wish, to take a quick look via You Tube of course.
    1950’s Lester Lanin Steady Steady
    1950’s >> 1970’s Rock , plus so so many more.
    1970 Suzi Quatro Mama’s Boy
    1980 Rodney Crowell Telephone Road
    1990 Old 97’s –Great –plus
    Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors 10 Nothing Like A Woman
    and so many more in this genre
    Lene Lovitch Lucky Number
    2000 JJ Cale / Eric Clapton Call Me The Breeze (Crossroads Guitar Festival 2004)
    Firewater Three Legged Dog
    Sheryl Crow & Eric Clapton “Tulsa Time”
    Broken Bells “Control”
    Lastly, for some laughs , COWBOYS DANCE COUNTRY SHOW (Texas !!!)
    Thanks, as always.

    • Yeah, this post was pretty much a bust, huh?! LOL. No matter.

      Thanks for your list! It is late and I’m shuffling off to bed, but I have a fairly relaxed day tomorrow so I will definitely take some time to listen to these and respond. 🙂 Thanks again!

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