Posted by: cassymuronaka | January 4, 2010

The iPod Playlist Without Shame

One of the only advantages to getting older is that you just … don’t … care … anymore. This was not always the case, especially in the area of music, where I was, publicly, a rigid rock and roller for many years.

But, behind closed doors, I have always had widely-varying musical tastes. I sang along to my mother’s “My Fair Lady” and Sammy Davis albums, and hummed along with my dad’s favorite, Louis Armstrong. I listened to Tom Lehrer sing the “Vatican Rag” and Bill Cosby complain about his little brother, Russell.

I also adored the Monkees, along with millions of other girls in the 1960s.

Hipster in training that I was, I could not bear for anyone else to know about the latter, so I spent about a decade and a half hiding my Monkees albums from my all of my friends. I simply felt that it was a bubblegum too far.

But one day, I pulled the Monkees albums out and refiled them with all of the other albums. I also danced around to an album by Sonny and Cher that I had purchased when I was 13, when Cher had her old face, and when Sonny was years away from throwing away his fur vest and donning a suit to become the congressman from Palm Springs.

Since that time, I’ve never looked back. Oh yes, I close my eyes when I hear Maria Callas sing the highlights from the opera “Carmen,” and yes, The Who will always hold a place in my heart. But so does a lot of the mindless crap I heard on AM radio when I was growing up.

When my son was about 11, he began listening to popular music. He started out by going to the NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears place, with other Tweens. However at about age 15, when he was cleaning his room, he got a bad case of the hipper-than-thous, as his mother had done before him, and he announced that he could donate all of those CDs to the Salvation Army.

“I’ll take them,” I surprised myself by saying.

Two Christmases ago, I received an engraved iTouch from my son and my husband. I’ve been loading that sucker up ever since. And the wonderful thing about the iPod is that it’s your iPod, and it has headphones, and and there is plenty of room for all those socially embarrassing tunes that you couldn’t possibly justify loving to anyone with any musical taste whatsoever. At the top of that list for me probably is “What is Love?” by Haddaway, which I never hear without visualizing Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan and Jim Carrey, spasmodically jerk their bodies and heads back in forth to club music in the ongoing SNL skit about three lounge lizards desperately searching for a pick-ups.

Some of the other tunes on The iPod Playlist Without Shame:

“Paradise by the Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf
“Y.M.C.A.” by the Village People
“Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush
“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot
“The No-No Song” by Ringo Starr
“I’m in Love with My Car,” Queen
“One Night in Bangkok” by Murray Head
“Tubular Bells,” Mike Oldfield
“Ring of Fire,” Adam Lambert
“El Paso,” Marty Robbins
“Slow Hand” by Conway Twitty
“The Battle of New Orleans,” Johnny Horton
“Bette Davis Eyes,” Kim Carnes
“Cara Mia,” Jay and the Americans
“Down in the Boondocks,” Billy Joe Royal
“Dead Man’s Party,” Oingo Boingo
“Don’t Take Your Guns to Town,” Johnny Cash
“Kicks,” Paul Revere and the Raiders
“I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight,” Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart
“I Want it That Way,” Back Street Boys
“Kentucky Woman,” Neil Diamond
“Hats off to Larry,” Del Shannon
“These Boots are Made for Walking,” Nancy Sinatra
“Love Potion Number Nine,” the Searchers
“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” Gene Pitney
“Break My Stride” Matthew Wilder
“Kiss at the End of Rainbow,” Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara
“Maybe I Know,” Leslie Gore
“Delilah,” Tom Jones
“Can’t Get Used to Losing You” Andy Williams
“Dear Abby” John Prine
“Eddie are you Kidding?” Frank Zappa
“Hot Stuff” Donna Summer
“Gloria,” Laura Branigan
“Kryptonite,” 3 Doors Down
“I Kissed a Girl” Katy Perry
“I Can See Clearly Now,” Johnny Nash
“Memories are Made of This,” Dean Martin

Songs that will NEVER EVER go on my iPod Playlist Without Shame, even if you pull my fingernails out:

“Honey,” Bobby Goldsboro
“Cherokee People,” Mark Lindsay
“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” Kenny Rogers
“Sometimes When We Touch,” Dan Hill
“She Bangs,” Ricky Martin
“In the Year 2525,” Zaeger and Evans
“Can I Touch You There” Michael Bolton
“It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp,” Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson
“Octopussy’s Garden,” The Beatles
“Muskrat Love,” Captain and Tenille
“I Soak Up the Sun,” Sheryl Crow
“Feelings,” Morris Albert
“I Am Woman,” Helen Reddy
“Play That Funky Music,” Wild Cherry
“That’s the Way I Like It,” KC and the Sunshine Band
“Red Red Wine” UB40
“Up and Away in My Beautiful Balloon,” Fifth Dimension
“In-a-Gadda-da-Vida,” Iron Butterfly
“Rico Suave,” Gerardo
“Don’t Worry Be Happy,” Bobby McFerrin
“Beth,” KISS
“Danny’s Song,” Loggins and Messina
anything by John Tesh
anything by Yoko Ono
probably anything by Leo Sayer

and, #1 on the LOATH IT list of any woman I know:
“Having My Baby,” Paul Anka

Feel free to add to either list.



  1. i salute your uncompromising and unapologetic stand on your ipod selections! i was nodding my head in agreement as i read down the lists — ‘paradise by the dashboard light’ (i can belt it out), dino (!), ‘2525’ and ‘kentucky woman.’ however, i might have winced a tiny bit at ‘honey’ and leo sayer before i remembered that it’s a free country.

    i guess my biggest ipod secret is ‘gimme gimme good loving’ by the crazy elephant.

    • Hmm. I don’t know enough about how music is viewed to know which of my favorites should be guilty pleasures, and of course I’m too un-techy to have an iPod, but my burned personal mix cd’s certainly hold a lot of stuff that would make many people giggle! I didn’t recognize a huge # of songs on either of your lists; I’m going to make a list of the ones from the YES list and ask you to make me a cd. (You can send it with the sushi jewelry I neglected to purloin.)

  2. Thank you, thank you very much.

    But NONONONONONONONO, “Honey” and “In the Year 2525” are on the second list, the one that will NEVER make it to the iPod!

    Although I would put “It’s Too Late,” by Bobby Goldsboro on the first list.

    Your comment has caused me to go back and put NEVER all in caps.

  3. oops, my fault; i misread.

    but how do you stand on ‘watching scotty grow?’

    • That ranks right dead between “Having My Baby” and “I Am Woman.”


      • let’s tuck “If I Were a Carpenter” right in there, too.

  4. Hi —

    UB40 did ‘Red Red Wine,’ not U2.

    And look: I don’t know you, you don’t know me, I’m only here because a mutual friend Facebooked this list, but: For the love of Pete I cannot fathom why Zevon’s “Carmelita” — a stone-cold classic — is on a list of guilty pleasures like that. Honestly.

    P.S. My guilty iPod pleasures include “Smoke on the Water” and “You Sexy Thing.”

    • Good catch on the UB40 typo. Thanks. And I probably don’t disagree about “Carmelita,” although I don’t know many other people who feel that way about the song. What probably deserves to be up there more is “Werewolf of London,” but I don’t like “Werewolf of London.”

      At any rate, since I love “Carmelita,” and you love “Carmelita,” and we both like BCT, I’ll take it off the list.

  5. I’m coming over shortly
    Because I am a portly
    You promised you could fit me
    In a fifty Dollar suit

    • is “Big D” Dudley Dursley, or perhaps someone you’re related to by marriage?

  6. I never get tired of hearing this song —

    I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
    I can see all obstacles in my way
    Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
    It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
    Sun-Shiny day.

    I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
    All of the bad feelings have disappeared
    Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin for
    It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
    Sun-Shiny day.

    Look all around, there’s nothin but blue skies
    Look straight ahead, nothin but blue skies

    I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
    I can see all obstacles in my way
    Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
    It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
    Sun-Shiny day.

    • A one-hit wonder, but a great one!

    • Manny doesn’t know it, but that’s the song he and T.I. will dance to for the father/daughter dance at her wedding. (All their lives, he’s wailed it at the girls when inclement weather lifts.) She’s been planning that since before she had boyfriends.

  7. I almost posted a link to an iTunes video of “Muskrat Love” here, but I’d like to preserve our friendship…and my sanity.

    And I’m SO glad someone else on the planet appreciates “One Night In Bangkok”.

    I also agree that “YMCA” is a guilty pleasure.


    • Did you think of David Carradine the next time you heard “One night in Bangkok?” It’s almost creepy how the song lyrics fit him.

  8. Gordon Lightfoot is a very under-rated performer. This always gets me —

    Does anyone know where the love of God goes
    When the words turn the minutes to hours
    The searchers all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay
    If they’d fifteen more miles behind her.

    They might have split up or they might have capsized
    They may have broke deep and took water
    And all that remains is the faces and the names
    Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

    • “For Lovin’ Me” always gets me where I live, too.

      • Especially when feeling bitter & cynical!

    • Gordon Lightfoot isn’t universally appreciated? I didn’t know that, and I’m surprised–I’ve always adored him. I was really surprised when I learned (years ago) that the Edmund Fitzgerald disaster was current (well, it was when I looked it up), not old-timey.

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