Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Joshilyn Jackson: Song Dunce Gets an iPod

I don’t like songs.

I’m a word person, so I sometimes like lyrics. If a song comes on the radio, and IF it has played enough for me to absorb some of the words, and IF I like the words, I will sometimes say, “OH! I LIKE THIS SONG!” and warble tonelessly along in what others assure me is an entirely different key than the one the actual band is using.

When I say “OH! I LIKE THIS SONG!” I do not mean that I, Song Dunce, feel any sort of emotional or even much aural response to the notes coming out of the radio. It’s just convenient shorthand for, “HEY! I KNOW THESE WORDS AND I AM GOING TO QUASI-SING THEM NOW, VERY LOUDLY, IN ORDER TO EXPERIENCE MILD PLEASURE. ALAS! MY AWFUL SINGING IS CERTAIN TO HINDER YOU IF YOU ARE TRYING TO EXPERIENCE MILD PLEASURE. BUT YOU CANNOT STOP ME, BECAUSE IT IS MY CAR.”

I include, “It is my car” in the translation because my car is the only place I currently have a radio or other song-delivery device. I think my husband has a stereo somewhere because sometimes I hear songs going in the house, but I am not sure where this object resides.

All the above being true, even so, even so, after I post this, I am going to willfully and with malice of forethought drive over to Tar-jay or Best Buy, whoever is cheaper, and hand them a greasy fistful of dollars, and in return, they will hand me an iPod. (I am bitter that iPods do not come in ORANGE, unless I want to shell out 150+ for the NANO. I do not. So I will make a humphing noise and settle for a lime green shuffle.)

My main purpose is to get cheap audio books. The shuffle costs under 70 dollars, less than I would pay for two unabridged, new release audio books on CD. I listen to at least 10 – 15 audiobooks a year, more if I am traveling a lot. Once I HAVE the shuffle, I can get these same audio books at audible for under 15 bucks a pop, and the first three are under ten bucks. (!!!!)

SO last night my husband says to me, “Do you want to put any songs on your iPod?”
And I looked at him blankly and said, “Why? Won’t that take up valuable BOOK ROOM?”
He said, “Not really. Songs are small. And sometimes, the book you are listening to is inappropriate for people under 12. Sometimes, indeed the audiobook you are listening to is inappropriate for people under 30 who are not sailors. Or porn stars. Since you often drive a couple of people under 12 all over tarnation, you might want to have some songs you like…”

SO we sat down together and tried to think of some songs I like.

Me: What songs do I like?
Him: I don’t know. None, really.
*Long pause. We stare at the iTunes store*
Me: OH! I like that one about the guy who has breakfast with the other guy and reams him out.
Him: …
Me: You know, it’s a song and I like it and the one guy, he reams the other out at breakfast? And it’s sad?
Him: How does it go?
Me: …
Him: Never mind. Silly question. So these two guys go to breakfast---
Me: Maybe they aren’t at breakfast.
Him: …
Me: Well, *I* think they might be, but I am not sure if the song says so explicitly. But it seems to me the one guy would take the other to breakfast to have this talk. I would. It’s a hard talk to have, because the other guy is in serious deep hot cheese, maybe drugs, something really deadly and awful, and I would at least buy my friend some eggs, you know, if I was about to unload a last-shot-now-or-never-come-to-Jesus on my friend.
Scott: *lightbulb goes off over his head* IS THIS IT?

That was it.

Scott REALLY likes songs, and he is an awesome song detective. I remember one time I came into his office and I said, “I ACTUALLY LIKE A SONG! Not just the words. I like all the parts of it. Even the parts that are MUSIC.”

This was big news. But I couldn’t tell him what song it was. Or where I had heard it. Or what it was about. Just that I had heard it somewhere a long time ago and I liked it and it was BOUNCY and DRUNKEN and possibly Irish or Scottish or Islesy of Walesy.

He said, “Can you remember ANY of the lyrics?”
“They share out a cocktail? One drinks the gin and the other drinks the tonic? And then there is a long part that goes LAR LAR LAR or BOP BOP BOP, not words, just a string of cheery yelling. It sounds like a song that comes from a place where they have PUBS instead of bars,” I said, and added in plaintive tones, “I wish I could hear it again.”
Then I promptly forgot about it.

About a week later, when my friend Karen called my cell phone, my RING TONE had magically changed…instead of the default T-Mobile dododo-DO-do, this bouncy drunky pubbish music came on and The Fratellis sang,
“And hey flathead don't check me in
Well hers is a tonic and mine is a gin
They don't come much more slick than you!”

I am about to be an ipod owner, and as it turns out the place I had originally heard FLATHEAD was an ipod commercial…

He found FLATHEAD from just that little conversation and made it my ring tone on the sly, and now I have bought more than one FRATELLIS CD and it almost seems like I may actually like a whole BAND. Add them to the Indigo Girls, and that makes two.

SO last night we played this FIND THIS SONG game for more than hour, with me saying some things about a song and him figuring it out. We found nine songs I like, and he only got frustrated ONCE, when I said, “There’s this unhappy guy in it doing something with a chair? And there are a lot of instruments in it. Or just one instrument maybe, but it sounds rich, like there are a lot of instruments, but it may just be one guitar. Or one piano. Or one something else…” and he said, “Does it remind you of hedgehogs? Because if it reminds you of hedgehogs, I probably know which song that is.”

Finally I remembered I had heard it while watching Shrek with Maisy, and Scott pulled it up. It turned out to be Rufus Wainwright’s cover of HALLELUJAH, which, ironically, contains these lyrics:

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?

No, Rufus, I do not.
Even so, this is now my THEME SONG. Also, please note it DOES have a chair in it. He gets tied to it. I SAID it had a chair. SHEESH.

Scott won every round, save one.
There is one song I vaguely remember REALLY liking, and he could not get it.
If YOU like songs, maybe you can do better.

1) If the Fratellis and the Indigo Girls had a baby, it would sound a lot like this song. WEIRD BUT TRUE.
2) The singer is all GROWLY and fierce like Demi Moore when she played that coked out chick in Saint Elmo’s Fire.
3) The song has an evil dog in it. I think it is a dog? Some kind of bad animal. A bad dog or animal she is scared of but it is sexy and attractive, too? I suspect the dog of being a metaphor.
4) The song sounds very THUMPY. There are thumpy drums or something.

GOOD LUCK! If someone actually figures out this song, I will send that person a prize. How about an audio book, in honor of my still hypothetical but soon to be realized and disappointingly un-orange ipod shuffle? I will send you the book on CD, though, because I have NO idea how to send someone a download. I think I am out of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING audios, but I have BETWEEN, GEORGIA on CD. Or if you prefer, you can have a hardback signed first edition of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING in good old fashioned paper form.

First person to find the song and tell me the band and title or put a link to the song in the comments wins.

Only one song title or link per person please.

In other words, you can’t win by listing every song in existence that has an evil dog or animal in it, mostly because that will cause someone to put ME AND YOU AND A DOG NAMED BLUE up, and, yikes, no one wants THAT. Also, I truly don’t want to listen to 7 or 9 or 100 evil dog songs per comment to find if the SINGLE LONE ONLY ONE evil dog song I like is in there. Because? Say it with me…

I don’t like songs.

Bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson lives in Powder Springs, Georgia with her husband, their two kids, a hound dog, a scurrilous Boggart-thing, a lone and lonely geriatric gerbil, and a twenty-two pound, one-eyed Main Coon cat named Franz Schubert. She wishes their neighborhood was zoned for goats. Both her SIBA award winning first novel, gods in Alabama, and her Georgia Author of the Year Award winning second novel, Between, Georgia, were chosen as the #1 BookSense picks for the month of their release, making Jackson the first author in BookSense history to have Number 1 picks in consecutive years. Her latest, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, is now in bookstores!


PamS said...

I am like you...I heard a song, know that I liked it...but have no idea as to what the name is. So my guess for your song title is that I have no guess. But I did read the blog all the way through.

dynaknit said...

Okay, I knew the first one was "how to save a life"! yay! of course they are at breakfast.

So, is the other one KT Tunstall's Big Black Horse? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYEU91d8ngc

Pamela said...

How about "You can bring your dog" by Tori Amos?

Heather said...

Joss, I have NO idea. But you are funny :)

dustmouse said...

Maybe it could be Goodnight Moon? The version I have is by Shivaree.

"There's a blade by the bed and a phone in my hand,
A dog on the floor and some cash on the nightstand..."

It's pretty thumpy.

Gail (but you can call me G) said...

My guess is also Black Horse and a Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall. Thumpy, growly, great song. In the chorus it says No, no - no, no, no, no, I said no, no, you're not the one for me . . .

Is that it?

Tina Cuchina said...

How about Melissa Etheridge's Late September Dogs?
Here's a rhapsody link:

Mir said...

Dude, I have NO IDEA what song you're talking about, but I would just like to nominate Scott for sainthood. ;)

Beth said...

Is it Tracy Bonham's "Bulldog" from the Burden of Being Upright?

Beth said...

Let me try that again with a tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/b3vx6h

Anonymous said...

Heh, the FEW things you like are not my style of music at all, so I have no clue. It's gotta be either a golden oldie or something REALLY thumpin' like Linkin Park. By the way, isn't that "Me and You and a Dog Named BOO"? - Brigitte

rams said...

Christmas Shoes?

But lamb, get the orange nano. I'm pretty sure (though Scott's silence wobbles my confidence) that the Shuffle is so-called because that's what it does. And unless you want to hear your books in a very post-modern scramble, I'd trade up. If I'm wrong, you've still got your orange nano.

(Hope this doesn't double-post -- the cosmos seems to have swallowed my first one. To save me from public shame?)

jmlk said...

I have no idea about your song. Scott is all kinds of good at that game.

My husband is a mishearer of lyrics. He thought The Fray was singing about How to Say Goodnight.

jenifer said...

When you say gravelly voice, my first thoughts (okay, first and second) are Lucinda Williams and Brandi Carlile, but I don't know their songs well enough to know if any are the one you're looking for.

And I might recommend you reconsider the orange Nano for three reasons:

1) It's delicious. Santa brought me one for Christmas, and sometimes I just pet it and stare, because it is so pretty. Yay orange.

2) The Shuffle has no display screen, making it rather difficult to choose which track you want to listen to. It's intended purpose is to load it with music and let it shuffle as it plays, but that's not nearly as much fun when the tracks are from audiobooks.

3) With the Nano, you can also put TV shows and movies on (and video podcasts).

Okay, so can you please share the names of books that are only okay for over 30 sailor porn stars? They sound pretty interesting.

Jill W. said...

Yay! I figured out Hallelujah from: "There’s this unhappy guy in it doing something with a chair?" I love that song. So does my 4yo thanks to Shrek (and Scrubs- it is on the Scrubs sountract, too.) It is a little disturbing to hear her sweet little golden curled self singing:

Well, maybe there is a God above,
But all that I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.
It's not a cry that you hear at night,
And it is not somebody who has seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah.

As a side note- the version in Shrek (and Scrubs) is actually the John Cale version, which for some reason sounds a little edgier and darker (and , IMHO, better) than the Rufus Wainwright version.

rams- LOL on the Christmas Shoes reference. : D

Anonymous said...

You're funny, Joshilyn, and your husband is quite talented. Good luck with the dog song.

Rams - your suggestion of Christmas Shoes made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the *only* version of Hallelujah that counts as actual music is k.d. lang's.

Jill W. said...

Oooh, anon., I do love the k.d. lang version as well. I pretty much love the k.d. lang version of anything.

E.C.Shelburne said...

I just wanted to second the comments of a few posters: i think you'll be really sad the day the shuffle starts blaring out the end of the book you only just started. It's called a shuffle for a reason--and it ain't kidding!

Susan said...

"If you're gonna jump" by Natasha Bedinfield? (http://tinyurl.com/arr6q4)

Madame Rubies said...

I wish I was good at this, since Swimming is the ONLY of your books I don't have a signed fist edition of. Feel free to take pity upon me and mail me one. LOL! I SUCK at music tho. Especially if it is newer, like, say, it came out after I left high school. LOL.

alala said...

Yeah, I'm gonna second those who cautioned you on the Shuffle. I have one, and I love it, but I do not use it for audiobooks. I use it for Stanford history lectures, which only have one chapter each.

Pamela said...

Could your song by Morningside by Sara Bareilles?


Loved this blog - Scott is awesome.


Roxanne said...

I have NO idea the song for which you are searching, but as I read the comments to see if someone else did, that RAMS totally cracked me up.

Christmas Shoes.

Gah!!! I laughed.

Lal said...

Yups - KT Tunstall fits the bill for the Fratellis mixed with the Indigo Girls, and the thumpy. Great track. and I'll side with everyone else about the shuffle - not good for audio books at all at all. Unless you can live with the story turning higgledy-piggledy every few minutes, like a "choose your own adventure" someone with a very very high mental-illness number is in control of.
Just sayin. I think you can possibly tell it *not* to shuffle, but it's a hidden option - Scott could probably find it for you. Not sure if this is true on the newer ones or not though.

Judy said...

I didn't think Me and You etc was thumpy at all!

Anonymous said...

WOO HOO! (thump thumpity thump) WOO HOO!

Megan said...

Why would anyone want to listen to any version of Hallelujah that was not Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah?

I am very impressed by everyone's song guessing abilities though. I am infamous for mishearing lyrics and remaining convinced that my wrong lyrics are right for years and years.

Gillycat said...

Josh, you are the first person i have ever met ( well unfortunately not met met, but known in some way or another) who wants an MP3 specifically for listening to books. (Although that doesn't surprise me about you.)
seriously though, ipod is not the best choice for audiobooks.
Sansa fuze does not have orange but it does have a lovely PINK one. Creative also has a cute pink player (mosaic)
By the way, I am listening to The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble. Wonderful.

Lindsey said...

You can definitely make a Shuffle NOT shuffle if you want....I've got two, an old style one and a new style one. It's not a hidden feature at all! My new one is a vibrant green - matches my posh Mommy diaper bag;)

Anyway, as an owner of two Shuffles, if I were going to listen to Audiobooks, I'd probably want a Nano or something, just so you can see a list of the files and pick whichever one you like. Especially helpful if you are going to have a little ones in the car and need to switch to music, instead of sailor-blush-inducing audiobooks!

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