The Daily Eudemon
"The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life."
Samuel Johnson, The Idler, 4/5/1760






Home
  • Favorite Quotes
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • TDE Lens

  • archives
  • April 2019
  • March 2019
  • February 2019
  • January 2019
  • December 2018
  • November 2018
  • October 2018
  • September 2018
  • August 2018
  • July 2018
  • June 2018
  • May 2018
  • April 2018
  • March 2018
  • February 2018
  • January 2018
  • December 2017
  • November 2017
  • October 2017
  • September 2017
  • August 2017
  • July 2017
  • June 2017
  • May 2017
  • April 2017
  • March 2017
  • February 2017
  • January 2017
  • December 2016
  • November 2016
  • October 2016
  • September 2016
  • August 2016
  • July 2016
  • June 2016
  • May 2016
  • April 2016
  • March 2016
  • February 2016
  • January 2016
  • December 2015
  • November 2015
  • October 2015
  • September 2015
  • August 2015
  • July 2015
  • June 2015
  • May 2015
  • April 2015
  • March 2015
  • February 2015
  • January 2015
  • December 2014
  • November 2014
  • October 2014
  • September 2014
  • August 2014
  • July 2014
  • June 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • March 2014
  • February 2014
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • November 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • August 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • December 2006
  • November 2006
  • October 2006
  • September 2006
  • August 2006
  • July 2006
  • June 2006
  • May 2006
  • April 2006
  • March 2006
  • February 2006
  • January 2006
  • December 2005
  • November 2005
  • October 2005
  • September 2005
  • August 2005
  • July 2005
  • June 2005
  • May 2005
  • April 2005
  • March 2005
  • February 2005
  • January 2005
  • December 2004
  • November 2004
  • August 2004
  • July 2004
  • June 2004
  • May 2004
  • April 2004
  • March 2004
  • February 2004
  • January 2004


  • syndicate this site
    RSS Feed
    RSS 2 Feed
    Atom Feed
    My Yahoo!
    Comments RSS

    Send Eric Scheske an E-Mail


    Wednesday

    Music Man

    It’s summertime. That means it’s party time. And where there’s a party, there’s music.

    Unfortunately, I’m repeatedly unimpressed by people’s inability to come up with a good song selection. I’ve been to many parties where (assuming there’s music at all) the music is absolutely horrible. Back in the 1990s, for instance, I hosted a bunch of people older people at a remote location. Most of my guests ranged from age 22 to 55. The place had no music, so a friend brought his CD player and his CDs. His selection for the night? The Who’s Quadrophenia. Now, I love The Who. I’ve been a fan since age 15. But it was about as appropriate for the crowd as a transvestite stripper. When I asked if he might consider changing the music, he replied, “It’s a good album.”

    And therein lies the problem. When selecting music for a party, quality really doesn’t matter. Quadrophenia is a good album, so is Steve Martin’s Wild and Crazy Guy, as is that home-made collection of you and your friends making up dirty lyrics on a karaoke machine. None of them, I submit, make good party music.

    I would also point out that what is “good,” musically-speaking, is remarkably subjective in this context. I don’t contest for a moment that there are great pianists and mediocre ones, great singers and bad singers, great music and amateur music. Moreover, I’d be the first to admit that I’m the last person to pass judgment on such things. I’m not, you might say, musically inclined. I have a passing acquaintance with the piano and harmonica, I can read simple sheet music, but that’s it. I’m tone deaf and not talented.

    Fortunately, the ability to select good party music doesn’t require musical taste or ability. It doesn’t require you to discern what’s good and what’s bad. It just requires you to keep in mind a handful of rules, which I’ve divided among two lists: the do’s and the don’t.

    First, the do’s:
    1. Figure out who’s at the party. Select music for that generation. If your generations are mixed, gear it toward the older crowd. The reason? Simple: The older crowd rarely likes the younger crowd’s music, whereas there’s quite a bit of the older generation music that the younger generation likes. Elvis died when I was in middle school, but I grew up listening to Elvis, so I always liked Elvis . . . and Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and Roy Orbison. I’m not saying you shouldn’t mix in a few newer songs for the younger generation, but overall, gear it toward the older one.
    2. Avoid songs that you know some people will hate. If you have mixed generations with younger people in the audience, look for mainstream songs from the older generation. Don’t pick out a bunch of “Do You Remember These?” songs and one-hit wonders that only the cognoscenti keep in their iPod.
    3. Pick songs that meet either or both of these criteria: it’s well-known and/or has a good beat.
    4. Be sensitive to the environment. I prefer “You Shook Me All Night Long” to “You’re So Vain,” but Carly makes a better selection at 4:00 in the afternoon with a mingling cocktail party. On the flipside, AC/DC is what you need after the booze is flowing and people are revved up.
    5. For a safe pick that reaches across generations, grab tunes that have appeared in movies over the past ten years. I like the Four Seasons (see below) and I’m thinking that I want to play some of their music at my daughter’s upcoming graduation open house. What should I select? It’s obvious: “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” which Heath Ledger made legendary among today’s teenagers in 10 Things I Hate About You. Similarly, I dig the Velvet Underground. Their “I’m Waiting for the Man” appears in Men in Black 3. It’s going on my list. “Sweet Jane” aint.
    6. Throw in something off the wall once in awhile, just to keep everyone on their toes. “Because I Got High,” “Copacabana,” “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo,” and “Jessie’s Girl” are all good selections in this regard, but keep them rare. In my experience, these selections bat about .300. If a friend looks up from his drink, laughs, and says, “HA. I can’t believe you’re playing this,” you got a hit.

    Now, those rules only take you so far. In order to get a good selection, there are a lot of “don’ts” and things to avoid:
    1. Never select a song because it brings back special memories. They’re your memories, not everyone else’s.
    2. If you recently saw a particular artist in concert, be suspicious if you think his music will be a good choice. People tend to get star-struck, even in mild forms, thereby losing objectivity. I recently saw Jersey Boys and I have a party coming up. I’m thinking a lot of Four Seasons would be appropriate. I need to think again.
    3. Avoid songs that require everyone to shut the hell up so they can hear the lyrics.
    4. Similarly, avoid songs that are funny (Adam Sandler’s “Ode to My Car” cracks me up every time, but it’s not appropriate for group listening).
    5. Avoid (like the plague) music out of the mainstream. I like Bossa Nova and I think it makes great background music. Unfortunately, few people even know what Bossa Nova is, so if I’m going to play it, I need to limit it to the very beginning stages of the party where music is in the far (far) background and the volume low. Other things to avoid: heavy metal (unless it’s heavy metal that has made it into the mainstream, like select songs by KISS and AC/DC), rap/hip-hop, divas with all emotion and little beat, that little-known regional performer, anything your teenage daughter “looooooves,” and anything released in the past 12 months (it’s just too new and very few people will recognize it). Needless to say, these “don’ts” may have to be modified, if you have a unique crowd (if everyone at the party is a 15-year-old girl, I respectfully submit that dad shouldn’t be making the music list in the first place).
    6. Never play songs by the same artist back-to-back, unless there’s a reason to. Also, never play the same artist more than once an hour. This type of rule, incidentally, makes the “shuffle” feature problematical. Consider creating your playlists in certain orders. I’ve done it that way for over twenty years. It’s a lot more work, but the enhanced environment is worth it.

    Last year, I assembled a three-hour playlist for my son’s high school graduation. Later in the evening, Alex walked up to me and said, “My friends are really digging the music.” That was high praise. I knew my friends were digging the music, and they were the ones paying the graduation announcement invoices, but when the teenage boys said they were digging it, I knew I had become an expert of sorts.

    It’s not hard. You can be an expert, too. Just follow those twelve hints, and you can’t go too terribly wrong.

    Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList

    7 Responses to “Wednesday”

    1. Kevin Says:

      You can never play to much Sinatra.

    2. Steve Nicoloso Says:

      Oddly enough, what one might call white peoples’ rock, more or less disappeared over the past 20 years. The only white peoples’ music with any mainstream appeal left is country. Correspondingly country has blossomed with its own clear genres of hard rock and alternative. Turn on CMT and you’ll see that the Eagles, Molly Hatchet, Lynrd Skynrd would all be classified as country simpliciter today.

      I say all that to say that few folks under 30 even seem to have “their own” music anymore. I taught a Confirmation class (grades 9-10) a couple years ago, and all the kids (at least among those who had any opnion at all) liked the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Who, and Led Zeppelin. My eldest son (20) likes U2, REM, and quite enjoys the Wall (from 1979) and my eldest daughter (17) enjoys swing dancing.

      I therefore second the motion for biasing it to the older group. They alone may have actually had something like a common music culture.

    3. dean Says:

      well done weedhopper.

      I would only add:

      No rap ever if any guests were born before 1973. Even then in extreme moderation.

      Never more than 1 Sinatra song per party (and that may be pushing it–sorry Kevin). Actually, no more than one song prior to Bill Haley’s 1954 Rock Around The Clock per party unless your crowd has many Octogenarians or the party is actually a piano recital (in which case Mozart and Bach are a must).

    4. MikeL Says:

      If you still have that 3 hour playlist you made for your son’s graduation party, I’d love to see it!

      dean: one possible exception to your Rock Around the Clock rule might be some of the songs on Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive album 😉

    5. Kevin Says:

      It must be an east coast thing ( Italian ) , but we love our Sinatra.

    6. Rob Sisson Says:

      Eagles, Jimmy Buffet, Gordon Lightfoot, Allison Krause, Sarah Evans for afternoon bbq’s.

      Doors and Skynyrd for revving up the crowd.

      Diana Krall and Pink Flamingo for ‘cocktail’ parties.

      Whatever the music, just keep it low enough so people can converse. Nothing worse than going to a party, and not being able to talk with people because the music (especially live performers) are too damn loud.

    7. dean Says:

      Amen to Rob and the conversing point. Good conversation always trumps good music.

     

     

    Enter Amazon here, buy something, and get me a kickback.


    "The Daily Eudemon is the sort of thing that Chesterton or Mencken would be doing, if they were alive today. It's what, in saner times, was called journalism. In the writing and in the reading, it's exactly the sort of leisure we should want at the basis of culture."
    Mike Aquilina, Author of The Fathers of the Church and TV Talk Show Host.

    "Literate Catholicism-urbane, witty, engaged-is alive and well! If you can read, you should be reading The Daily Eudemon!" David Scott, author of A Revolution of Love: The Meaning of Mother Teresa

    "If you like your blogs pithy, nimble, pointed, high-spirited, and waggish, then bookmmark Eric Scheske's The Daily Eudemon. Ooops! You want prolixity, density, meandering, dull, and sober? Then run (do not walk!) to the blogs of the major news outlets. They have just what you want. Honestly they do." John Peterson, Editor, G.K. Chesterton: Collected Works, Volumes 12 and 13.

    "Eric Scheske's web site is full of information and insight.  Always worth a read."  James V. Schall, Author of Another Sort of Learning.

    "Eric Scheske has one of the few indispensable sites in an overcrowded blogosphere." Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Ph.D., New York Times Bestselling Author and Author of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.

    links
    Abbey-Roads
    Acts of the Apostasy
    After Abortion
    Aggie Catholics
    All Manner of Things
    Belinda’s Brain
    Bethune Catholic
    Betty Duffy
    Book Reviews and More
    Catholic Blogs
    Catholic Exchange
    Catholic Fire
    Charlotte Was Both
    Chesterton and Friends
    Crossroads
    Decent Films
    Digital Hairshirt
    Dyspeptic Mutterings
    EWTN
    Fathers of the Church
    First Principles
    Get Blogs
    Gilbert Magazine
    Godspy
    Happy Catholic
    Mark Shea
    Mere Comments
    Michelle Reitemeyer
    More Last Than Star
    National Catholic Register
    New Advent
    Phat Catholic
    Pillar and Fire
    Post Modern Papist
    PowerBlog
    Pro Ecclesia
    Quaffs and Quibbles
    Reasoned Audacity
    Reconnaissance of the Western Tradition
    Roman Catholic Info
    Ruri et Orbi
    Scholium
    Shadow of Diogenes
    Signs of the Times: Salvo Blog
    Some Have Hats
    St. Blog’s Parish Blog Digger
    St. Blog’s Parish Directory
    St. James Journal
    St. Peter Canisius Apostolate
    Standing on My Head
    Stella Maris
    Stony Creek Digest
    Streams of Mercy
    Stupid Scholar
    Suicide of the West
    Summa Minutiae
    Taki
    The American Conservative
    The Blue Boar
    The Cafeteria is Closed
    The Crescat
    The Curt Jester
    The Dawn Patrol
    The Drunken Dollar
    The Impractical Christian
    The Inn at the End of the World
    The Michiana Blawg
    The Muniment Room
    The Radical Academy
    The Reticulator
    The Saint Wannabe
    The Scratching Post
    The Snoring Scholar
    The Summa Mamas
    The Waffling Anglican
    The Western Confucian
    Things and Stuff
    Thursday Night Gumbo
    Uncovering Orthodoxy
    Victor Lams
    Video Meliora
    Vita Mea
    Vox Nova
    What's Wrong with the World
    With Both Hands
    Within the Garden
    Without Having Seen
    World Wide Words

    the bloghorn
    Abbey-Roads
    Acts of the Apostasy
    After Abortion
    Aggie Catholics
    All Manner of Things
    Belinda’s Brain
    Bethune Catholic
    Betty Duffy
    Book Reviews and More
    Catholic Blogs
    Catholic Exchange
    Catholic Fire
    Charlotte Was Both
    Chesterton and Friends
    Crossroads
    Decent Films
    Digital Hairshirt
    Dyspeptic Mutterings
    EWTN
    Fathers of the Church
    First Principles
    Get Blogs
    Gilbert Magazine
    Godspy
    Happy Catholic
    Mark Shea
    Mere Comments
    Michelle Reitemeyer
    More Last Than Star
    National Catholic Register
    New Advent
    Phat Catholic
    Pillar and Fire
    Post Modern Papist
    PowerBlog
    Pro Ecclesia
    Quaffs and Quibbles
    Reasoned Audacity
    Reconnaissance of the Western Tradition
    Roman Catholic Info
    Ruri et Orbi
    Scholium
    Shadow of Diogenes
    Signs of the Times: Salvo Blog
    Some Have Hats
    St. Blog’s Parish Blog Digger
    St. Blog’s Parish Directory
    St. James Journal
    St. Peter Canisius Apostolate
    Standing on My Head
    Stella Maris
    Stony Creek Digest
    Streams of Mercy
    Stupid Scholar
    Suicide of the West
    Summa Minutiae
    Taki
    The American Conservative
    The Blue Boar
    The Cafeteria is Closed
    The Crescat
    The Curt Jester
    The Dawn Patrol
    The Drunken Dollar
    The Impractical Christian
    The Inn at the End of the World
    The Michiana Blawg
    The Muniment Room
    The Radical Academy
    The Reticulator
    The Saint Wannabe
    The Scratching Post
    The Snoring Scholar
    The Summa Mamas
    The Waffling Anglican
    The Western Confucian
    Things and Stuff
    Thursday Night Gumbo
    Uncovering Orthodoxy
    Victor Lams
    Video Meliora
    Vita Mea
    Vox Nova
    What's Wrong with the World
    With Both Hands
    Within the Garden
    Without Having Seen
    World Wide Words

    << # St. Blog's Parish ? >> 


    The Daily Eudemon is Copyright 2005 Eric Scheske.

    Design by Aquilina Computer Services.