What Are You Listening To?


A Random Mixtape

Human curiosity is…curious. I, for one, find myself becoming more and more interested in the methods by which people engage with their music. In the past, purchasing music was somewhat of a ritual: You heard about your favorite artists upcoming album, you saved your money for it, waited for it’s release date, went to your local record store, and bought a physical package that contained the music. Now, one can download and be listening to Michael Jackson’s entire discography within a matter of minutes and share it between multiple devices in an instant. As Det. Thomas ‘Herc’ Hauk once said, “Isn’t technology the bomb?”

Recently, while I was riding the metro into work, I looked around at the various co-zombies on my train. Most everyone was connected to some sort of mobile device and most everyone had headphones on. I wondered: what are all these people listening to? I suppose as a musician myself I am curious about people’s listening habits. That same morning I came into the office and randomly asked some co-workers what song they just finished listening to.

So I came up with the idea to shoot around an email asking people, “what was the last song or album you listened to?” I sent it out to some co-workers as well as some friends (not that the two can’t overlap). The first thing I found interesting (and that I predicted) was that the majority of people responded with a song vs. an album. The second thing I found interesting was that only one of the responses contained a musical genre that fell outside of what I call the “pop music” realm. In other words, no jazz, blues, classical, world music,  zydeco, etc. made the list. The third thing I found interesting was that people really have unique and unpredictable musical tastes. That dude in the leather jacket, long hair, ripped jeans, and biker boots sitting across from you on the bus? You probably think he’s rocking Metallica or something like that, right? Would it surprise you to put on his headphones and find him listening to Coldplay? What about that guy in the business suit reading the Wall Street Journal. Would it shock you to find out he’s listening to Lady Gaga? I caught my dad tapping his foot to Wilco recently. Go figure.

Below is a list of the responses I received from my inquiry. Enjoy the randomness.

  1. Beam Me UpCazzette
  2. Say Goodnight Eli Young Band
  3. Mountain Sound Of Monsters and Men
  4. Puttin On The RitzTaco
  5. 99 ProblemsJay Z
  6. HowlFlorence & The Machine
  7. WannabeThe Spice Girls
  8. HappySister Hazel
  9. Graveyards of Empires (album)Evans Blue
  10. Poetic Justice (Kendrick Lamar cover)Elli Ingram
  11. Knocking On Heaven’s Door Bob Dylan
  12. This Is How We Do It Montell Jordan
  13. Every Rose Has It’s ThornPoison
  14. People Hear What They See (album) Oddisee
  15. Beat the Devil’s TattooBlack Rebel Motorcycle Club
  16. Feel Like a StrangerThe Grateful Dead
  17. Oak TreeLethal Bark
  18. Moonlight Mile The Rolling Stones
  19. Outshined – Soundgarden
  20. Old Friends (album)Simon & Garfunkel
  21. Good Kid: Maad City (album)Kendrick Lamar
  22. Maggie May  – Rod Stewart
  23. Heart of MineNorah Jones
  24. When The Levee Breaks (Led Zeppelin cover) – Great White
  25. Sonata No. 59 in E-Flat MajorJoseph Haydn
  26. Inevitable and IHarvard
  27. Divine Fits (album)Divine Fits
  28. Blunderbuss (album)Jack White
  29. Beyond the Realms of Death – Judas Priest
  30. Giving Up The Ghost – DJ Shadow



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