Friday, February 15, 2008

McCain's campaign song could be pretty good

I haven't done a "songs I've been listening to" feature in a while -- and will probably do one soon. But not only am I the occasional dispenser of musical playlists, I'm also huge fan of them. In fact, the main way I've been expanding my music collection lately is checking out other blogger's playlists and, if they have good taste in music (meaning we have the same taste), I will download all of the songs they listed that I don't have.

One of the better playlists I've seen recently comes, somewhat surprisingly, from Meghan McCain, the 23-year old daughter of the presidential candidate. She has been documenting the campaign on a blog that has been getting a bit of buzz. So I checked it out -- it's mostly just captioned pictures from her dad's campaign events -- but I noticed she does playlists too, and when I gave them a look , I was very impressed. (I think it was the sweep of The Dandy Warhol's Bohemian Like You, PB&J's Young Folks, CCR's Run Through The Jungle and Jeff Buckley's Eternal Life on her first mix that grabbed me.)

As Meghan McCain realizes, the key to a musical playlist is mixing genres and eras -- while going light on radio hits, but not completely ignoring them -- in a way that establishes your music cred. The movie -- and I assume the book -- High Fidelity explores the embarrassingly high level of self-consciousness that anyone who has compiled a playlist for public consumption knows goes along with the process of picking songs.

But talking the talk when it comes to music is a lot easier now than it was when High Fidelity was written. For these days the quest for the right kind of music knowledge no longer has to go through the kind of know-it-all, clannish record store snobs High Fidelity depicts, as the Internet has put just about all the music and music criticism ever created a click away.

More and more, I've been meeting people whom I wouldn't think would know much about music -- outside of what they hear on MTV or the radio or from the jam band of the day -- but do. While I've always considered myself highly educated on non-classical music, I would freely concede I have discovered many, many more new bands over the last few years sitting behind my desk than I ever did going to shows or discussing the best new (and old) thing with fellow afficionados during my pre-Internet era.

If you do check out Meghan McCain's playlists, you might notice you can't actually listen to the full songs. But if your father isn't running for president, you can plug the songs' -- or any song's -- titles into a website like Hype Machine and stream and download to your heart's content.

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