iTunesiTunes has changed the way I buy music, at least to a certain extent. I’m still buying the odd CD, but if I know I want just one particular song, I’m buying just that. For $1.69, you can’t go wrong, can you?

(Though given in the US the price is US$0.99, and the exchange rate is almost at parity, it’s fair to say we’re being gouged. Economist Joshua Gans has calculated an iTunes index, similar to The Economist’s BigMac index… or the PTUA’s train ticket index!)

On the up side it’s certainly cheaper than buying whole albums, and I’m no longer in the situation where I end up with a whole CD otherwise full of songs I don’t really like. On the down side, it’s reduced the chances of discovering that I really like lots of a particular artist’s other songs. (Example: Ocean Colour Scene, which I found after wanting July, used on a TV show.)

Not that I’m buying heaps of individual tracks. Maybe one every few weeks, when I feel a particular urge to own a track, though that chocolate for tunes scheme saw me get five in a week.

Here are some individual tracks I’ve bought recentlyish.

American Pie, Don McLean — this is almost as old as I am. I grabbed it on Friday, after reading Kathy’s terrific blog post about using it as a jumping board for teaching her daughters about 60s culture, music, politics, and even a bit of spiritualism. It’s that kind of song, and having been brought up on the music and ideas of the period has me appreciating the many references immensely.

Is there an equivalent song covering more recent events? (No, Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire doesn’t quite do it.)

The song also takes me back to a long taxi ride through Sydney, from Frenchs Forest to the airport, where this song on the radio seemed to run the entire length of the trip — though it probably didn’t really.

Grey in LA, Loudon Wainwright III — heard this on the radio months ago. A great satirical song about Los Angeles, with some commentary on current issues that I’m somewhat sympathetic to:

And I suppose
Laurie David sure knows
All those cars we drive heat up our earth

And sea temperatures rise
And those constant blue skies
And brush fires can sure curb your mirth

She’s a Rainbow, Rolling Stones — I’d love to tell you some great and deep and meaningful reason why I nabbed this song, but in truth I think I got hooked on it again after hearing it on the Sony Bravia TV advert.

Take Five (The Russians Are Coming), Val Bennett — a great reggae track, perhaps better known as the theme tune from the TV series The Secret Life of Machines. After finding it for free (legal) download, I watched this series with the kids recently, and we’ve all ended up with this song on our iPods. Apart from on iTunes, it’s also available on one of the Trojan Records box sets — I plan to track some of them down at some stage, as there is some terrific reggae on them.

Room at the Top, Tom Petty — I remembered this one from way back when it was released. Truth be told I’m not really sure what it’s about, but it sounds positive. I just like the music.

I Don’t Like Mondays, Boomtown Rats — another oldie; what sparked finding this was hearing it at the primary school concert last year! They used it during the traditional (and generally very funny) teacher’s performance at the end.

(As an aside, why are all the lyrics web sites so overrun with ads? Talk about taking it to extremes.)

What songs have you sought out to hear again?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

11 replies on “myTunes”

Love a lot of Don McLean’s tracks, especially American Pie. Madonna’s effort was worthy of a lynching!
Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley is a fav I often revisit on YouTube, anything by The Whitlams, too :)

Your Own Private Idaho, B-52s. Play it first thing in the morning and I almost guarantee you’ll walk out of the house with a smile on your face.

My dad was a DJ so there was heaps from me! but the main ones being:

Slice of Heaven – Dave Dobbyn and the Herbs.
Chasing it for my 21st as it was #1 when i was born and always reminds me of childhood. Couldnt find it on iTunes tho! had to get the CD on ebay.

Wild World – Maxi Priest
always a goodie

Flourescent Adolescent – Artic Monkeys
this is pretty new but a mate had this song on their myspace page and i loved it straight away!

Shut Down – The Beach Boys
have a beach boys CD but it was missing this song – iTunes fulfilled my dreams :)

I actually used iTunes to re-compile a driving mix tape that I really loved. I’d originally assembled it to include some deliberate early 90s tat for laughs and sing along value: such forgotten gems as Roxette’s “Joyride” and Martika’s, “Martika’s Kitchen”. I did use it for the odd good track too, Elastica’s “Car Song” is something no driving mix should be without.

Of course, now I only own a bicycle …

And that Aussie price may be pegged to the UK price of 79 p (which compared to the US 99c is also a gouge).

Loudon Wainwright – one of the few songwriters whose lyrics I listen to intently. A wonderful storyteller.

And not a bad actor either – I just watched the US series “Undeclared” recently and he played the central character’s father. Very funny stuff.

> I’m no longer in the situation where I
> end up with a whole CD otherwise full
> of songs I don’t really like.

Actually I used to find obscure treasures that way.
Starship’s “Hyperdrive” comes to mind.

I don’t know if they have this on the Australian iTunes store, but they generally have 2-3 free songs for promo purposes. Free song of the week, discovery download, and Latin free song (Latin meaning music from Latin America). I check them every week. Sometimes the stuff is pure crap, but sometimes there’s a real gem.

Before it had become a hit, “Love Song” by Sarah Bareilles was a free song of the week.

I enjoy the more offbeat stuff, like the Puppini Sisters who bring a 1940’s Andrews Sisters vibe to modern songe like “Walk Like An Egyptian”. At Christmas, they had Los Straitjackets, a hispanic band with a 60s surf rock feel that did an album of Christmas tunes. “Sleigh Ride” as a surf rock song is way cool.

I also enjoy a lot of their Latin picks which range from more obvious cumbia, nortena, and salsa picks to more universal dance, rock, and ballads with a latin feel.

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