Chris of Mixing Memory claims that you can make accurate personality assessments about a person just from listening to ten of their favorite songs. OK, let’s play that game. Here are ten songs I like.

That wasn’t an easy list to assemble. Only ten? It can’t be very representative. There ought to be some David Bowie and Annie Lennox and Tori Amos and Björk and Patti Smith on there, and some days I feel like Flogging Molly or Pearl Jam or Kraftwerk or Lords of Acid or even, dare I admit it, Enya … but for that moment when I skimmed through my iTunes library, those up there jumped out as pretty darned appealing.

I’m not sure what anyone can determine from that list, though — it looks like it’s largely the “Intense and Rebellious” category in Chris’s list, with a little of the other three categories tossed in.


  1. #1 Brad
    March 12, 2007

    The thought of a fifty-year old (happy belated birthday by the way, sorry no poetry from me today 😉 ) listening to Busta Rhymes, Pink Floyd and Lords of Acid warms my undergraduate heart.

  2. #2 Zeno
    March 12, 2007

    I’m a few years older than PZ, so all I can say about his list of songs is … “Who the heck are those people?” and “Do you know where my warm shawl is? And my mug of hot cocoa?”

  3. #3 aiabx
    March 12, 2007

    You used to be cool, man. Now you are dead to me. Elvis Costello didn’t make your top 10.
    The rest is pretty cool, though.

  4. #4 Blake Stacey
    March 12, 2007

    I got my first two traffic tickets (driving on the wrong side of the road and driving around a police barricade) while listening to The Cure’s “Lullaby”. Good times.

    If you swapped the Prince track for Mary Prankster’s “Mercyfuck“, PZ’s list would describe me pretty well too.

  5. #5 Barry Leiba
    March 12, 2007

    Zevon: From the “Excitable Boy” album, I rather prefer “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner”, “Tenderness on the Block”, and “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” to the title song, good as the title song be.

  6. #6 Bill Dauphin
    March 12, 2007

    Oh, by the way… is nobody here a Tom Lehrer fan?

    “There’s antimony, arsenic,
    Aluminum, selenium,
    And hydrogen and oxygen,
    And nitrogen and rhenium…

    These are the only ones
    Of which the news has come to Harvard,
    And there may be many others,
    But they haven’t been discahhhvard.”


  7. #7 PZ Myers
    March 12, 2007

    I’ve got a fair amount of NIN in my iTunes library, too.

    Zevon’s Excitable Boy resonates a little more with me. I had this roommate, once, who I nearly drove into a nervous breakdown because of my little cat, Snowball.

    Didn’t you know, Bill, that Roy Zimmerman is the new Tom Lehrer?

  8. #8 Bill Dauphin
    March 12, 2007


    Why would I run anyone off for liking Tull or Yes? I like ’em myself.

    I guess I was being overly defensive. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of hearing sneering comments about “dinosaur rock” from people who imagine themselves (probably correctly) hipper than I. I should’ve realized that here, of all places, “dinosaur” anything would be welcomed with open tentacles.

    As for Led Zep, was there a high school dance anywhere during the entire decade that didn’t end with “Stairway to Heaven” (and/or “Freebird”) as the final number? The classic slow-dance/fast-dance/too-sweaty-to-dance-anymore finale. Then off to the cars for beer and heavy petting. Ah, youth!

  9. #9 DaveX
    March 12, 2007

    Stuff like this is disturbing. Is music just some sort of identity extension, or do any of you appreciate it as art anymore? As for my last 10.. well, I’ve been previewing albums, so it would hardly be representative of my listening habits. Instead, here’s my last playlist, and a link for downloading the broadcast. I figure I owe PZ for the blogroll add, eh?

    Here’s the download link for this show: here

    Phil Hargreaves, Glenn Weyant — Do Not Sing
    Kylie Minoise — Hot Teens Hooked on Cosmetic Surgery
    Kylie Minoise — Torn By Jaws and Claws
    Kylie Minoise — Fear Swept the Poolsides
    Kylie Minoise — Automatic Incineation
    George Korein — Quiet Now
    George Korein — Writhe, Sally, Writhe
    George Korein — Squelch the Whelp
    Costes — Avis aux Imitateurs
    ~Ore~ — Modular II
    The Painful Leg Injuries — In the Haze, You Can See So Much Everything It’s Nothing
    Chie Mukai — Untitled
    Mystified — Hot Hot Heat
    Rabbit Girls — Vespers
    Mystified — From Deep
    Ctephin — Nimitta
    Mystified — Trolls on a Wire
    Mystified & Plexus Instruments — Never Left
    Tom Nunn — Skatchmat
    Tom Nunn — Skatchrod
    Jeff Sampson, Eric Wallack, Bret Hart — Res Cogitans Uber Des Extensa
    Jeff Sampson, Eric Wallack, Bret Hart — The Map Is Not the Territory
    Dimitri Voudouris — Praxis
    Nihilist Spasm Band — Hesitation
    Nihilist Spasm Band — What About Me
    Nihilist Spasm Band — Indecision of the Night
    Nihilist Spasm Band — Function

  10. #10 Norman Doering
    March 12, 2007

    Stuff like this is disturbing. Is music just some sort of identity extension, or do any of you appreciate it as art anymore?

    Are you talking about the lyrics I posted when you say “disturbing”? You haven’t seen anything yet.

    Here’s a snatch from Marilyn Manson:

    Mother Inferior Got Her Gunn

    You spoonfed us saturday morning mouthfuls of maggots and lies
    Disguised in your sugary breakfast cereals
    The plates you made us clean were filled with your fears
    These things have hardened in our soft pink bellies
    We are what you have made us
    We have grown up watching your television
    We are a symptom of your christian america, the biggest satan of all
    This is your world in which we grow,
    and we will grow to hate you

  11. #11 Thinker
    March 12, 2007

    More Tom Lehrer:

    Do whatever steps you want if
    you have cleared them with the pontiff
    everybody say his own
    Kyrie Eleison
    doing the Vatican Rag

    Other than that, this whole discussion has me thinking of Nick Hornby’s book High Fidelity, where the guys in the record store are constantly making lists of music…

  12. #12 Loren Michael
    March 12, 2007

    No Radiohead? That’s disappointing. My favorite Radiohead song (There, There) has “Just ’cause you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s there” as the chorus. What better ode to reason and nontheism could there be?

  13. #13 gecko1
    March 12, 2007

    Flogging Molly Rocks. So I’m guessing in you’re a fan because of the lyrics to “Cruel Mistress” right?

    “Next time out to sea
    Bring enough soil to bury me
    For I don’t want my final jig
    In the belly of a squid “

  14. #14 Steve_C
    March 12, 2007

    Radiohead “You And Whose Army” is brilliant. Very intense live.

    Come on, come on
    You think you drive me crazy
    Come on, come on
    You and whose army?
    You and your cronies
    Come on, come on
    Holy roman empire
    Come on if you think
    Come on if you think
    You can take us all on
    You can take us all on

    You and whose army?
    You and your cronies

    You forget so easily
    You ought to know
    You ought to know
    Oh so sad
    Oh so sad
    Oh so sad
    You ought to know
    You ought to know
    I’m so sad
    I’m so sad
    I’m so sad..

    An interesting take of the song… Video taken from Kingdom of Heaven

    Live: opening their show at Berkeley last year

  15. #15 [MAC]
    March 12, 2007

    I recently discovered The Delagados, and love them. Oddly enough, I encountered one of their tunes while watching the anime series “Gunslinger Girl”. Their “The Light Before We Land” from the album “Hate” is the title sequence tune. I was also chuffed to learn they’re also from Scotland; so I confess, as a Glaswegian, to being biased in their favor.

  16. #16 laurelin
    March 12, 2007

    “Is music just some sort of identity extension, or do any of you appreciate it as art anymore?”

    Well, a lot of the motivation behind making art is striving to communicate with other humans. Whatever you may have been taught growing up, ‘real artists’ do not express themselves in a vaccuum- a lot of the joy in art is affecting someone else, even if it only ends up being a few people.

    It makes a lot of intuitive sense that music made by a specific type of person will strongly affect certain people, and that these people will share characteristics and be bonded together from love of similar music. We like shared experience.

  17. #17 Mike
    March 12, 2007

    I only get something in common if I mix two – Warren Zevon doing Raspberry Beret on Hindu Love Gods (with Berry, Buck and Mills from REM). Maybe it’s that I’m exactly one year older to the day.

    I tried to make a list of 10 but can’t get it under about 30, even by the metric of ‘Won’t get up to change it if it is on repeat and it’s already played a dozen times’.

  18. #18 tikistitch
    March 12, 2007

    I took the online version of the test someone linked to, and it didn’t turn out much more accurate than my horoscope.

  19. #19 Flex
    March 13, 2007

    Ribozyme wrote, “FLEX you should give a try to Telemann, Biber and Buxtehude. I bet you are going to like them (if you don’t already).”

    Thanks for the tip. I’m familiar with Teleman and Buxtehude, and own some recordings of their work. I’m not familiar with Biber, although looking at the list of compositions I may have heard some of his work listening to CBC2. (Which I get in the Detroit area.)

  20. #20 mothworm
    March 13, 2007

    In no particular order:

    1. The Cure – End
    2. Add n to (x) – Revenge of the Black Regent
    3. Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
    4. Oneida – Changes in the City
    5. Simon & Garfunkel – America
    6. Velvet Underground – Sister Ray
    7. The Birthday Party – Mutiny In Heaven
    8. Pink Floyd – Grantchester Meadows
    9. LCD Soundsystem – Yeah (crass version)
    10. Animal Collective – We Tigers

    Of course, come back tomorrow and it’ll be different.

  21. #21 Steve_C
    March 13, 2007

    Ouch. You said Loverboy.

    Best live shows…

    Radiohead (august 2001 in liberty state park)
    Bauhaus (first reunion tour 97?)
    Echo & the Bunnymen (last tour of original members (1990)
    Sigur Ros (2005)
    U2 (1987)
    Depeche Mode (1988) and (1991)
    Black Sabbath with Ozzy (1998?)
    Arcade Fire (2005 in central park – encore with Bowie)

    I gots lots.

  22. #22 sinned34
    March 13, 2007

    When it comes to music, I can’t help but toss in my two cents (may be less with the Canadian exchange rate):

    1) “Embracing Emptiness” – Crowbar
    2) “Stinkfist” – Tool
    3) “Walk” – Pantera
    4) “The Drapery Falls” – Opeth
    5) “Judith” – A Perfect Circle
    6) “To Live Is To Die” – Metallica
    7) “I Am The Highway – Audioslave
    8) “Regulator” – Clutch
    9) “It’s All About The Pentiums” – Weird Al
    10) “Tomorrow Turned Into Yesterday” – Nevermore

    “Top ten” songs is so incomplete, however. I could compose a top ten list of Tool, Opeth, or Weird Al by themselves. Then there are days where I’ll listen to nothing but stuff like Strapping Young Lad. Other times I’ll punish myself with mindless crap like CCR, Ra, or KMFDM.

  23. #23 mothworm
    March 13, 2007

    OK, if we’re doing shows…

    The Cure, 1991 Wish Tour
    Moe Tucker, 91 or 92
    Animal Collective, Bar, New Haven, CT sometime after Sung Tongs came out
    Sleater-Kinney, various NY venues, All Hands on the Bad one and One Beat tours
    Tom Waits, Orpheum, Memphis, TN 06
    Pixies, NY reunion show
    Flaming Lips, Toads, New Haven, CT, Soft Bulletin tour
    Of Montreal, Tallahassee, FL, Gay Parade Tour; NY, Knitting Factory, Satanic Panic Tour
    Mercury Rev with Sparklehorse, Bearsville, NY, Deserter’s Songs era.
    Camper Van Beethoven, various reunion shows
    Stereolab, NY anytime between 2000 and 2006
    Yo La Tengo, Tallahassee, FL, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As one tour (possibly the loudest concert I’ve ever been to)
    Pink Floyd, Miami, FL for Division Bell
    Oneida, Hi-Tone, Memphis, Tn, 2006. They have, hands-down, the best drummer I’ve ever seen.
    Landing, CT, various dates between 2000 and 2006
    Le Tigre, Polish Dancehall, NY for Feminist Sweepstakes
    The Microphones, tiny little house party, New Haven, CT 2002
    Smashing Pumpkins, Saginaw, MI, Mellon Collie tour

  24. #24 Keith Douglas
    March 15, 2007

    From my iTunes, produced by hitting next in shuffe mode 10 times:

    Love Theme from the TRON soundtrack, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Star Trek: First Contact from the soundtrack to Star Trek: First Contact, the extended version of ST:TNG’s “The Inner Light” theme, China by Tori Amos, Silent All These Years by Tori Amos, a piano solo by Chopin that has lost its identification somehow, A New Tron and the MCP from the TRON soundtrack, Guardians from the Marathon (the game) soundtrack, and Clair de Lune by Debussy.

    Hmm, no Jarre or Vangelis this time …

    bernarda: I listen to Enigma and Jean Michel Jarre, both of which sometimes produce somewhat multilingual work … does that count?

    40 bones for a Weird Al hoody? The guy’s a genius, for sure, but that price is outrageous.

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