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Getting Out of a Musical Rut

By Amalah

Hi Amy,

Love your columns and blog!

I have a problem. I have officially become old and lame, and I find myself muttering “what are these crazy kids listening to these days, I’m old enough to be Justin Bieber’s mother, WTF?”

Anyway, I try to look cool but I have a dirty secret. My iPhone has no tunes!! (for shame) I haven’t bought or downloaded anything in several YEARS. I am going on a long trip in mid-May and I need some new stuff!! Can you please suggest artists/albums?? I’m mostly in the “alternative” genre, but am open to most things. (Though I have no patience for the “hipper-than-thou” types)

Thanks a million!

Ooh! Ooh! Fun! Fun question! Fun Friday question! Exactly what we all need right now. (Like how I can declare exactly what “we” all need? Gosh, writing for the Internet is just one never-ending power trip.)

First, before I name my favorite artists and albums of the moment (and y’all learn exactly how uncool and lame I am, thus restoring the power balance back to the universe), a few general tips for anyone who is looking to branch out and find new music but can’t stomach the teenaged caterwauling on the radio: start with the iTunes Single of the Week. It’s a free download and I’ve really been impressed with a lot of the choices. Starbucks also gives out cards and codes for free singles. A few times I’ve gone ahead and completed the album, but even without doing that I’ve built a nice eclectic collection that sounds really interesting on Shuffle. And if you do hate something, it’s just a single strike of the delete key and POOF.

And now! Onto the music! My current musical obsessions and favorite albums, with the caveat that my iPod also currently contains no less than 53 tracks by the cast of Glee.

Adele: 19
Think Amy Winehouse with twice the voice, three times the soul and none of the Hot Mess.

Arcade Fire: Funeral
This album takes a couple listens, but then it sort of enters your bloodstream to unite with your soul. IF YOU HAVE ONE.

Ben Folds: Supersunnyspeedgraphic and Way to Normal
Because even if you haven’t bought an album in YEARS, I’m still assuming you own Rockin’ the Suburbs and Songs for Silverman. Otherwise: Oh, honey. You need more help than I can give.

Jill Scott: The Real Thing, Words and Sounds, Vol. 3
Songs for to be feeling the sexy to.

Kings of Leon: Only by the Night
I’m including this one despite the fact that I am sick to death of both of their radio singles, mostly because my husband was probably in the biggest old-person musical rut of all time (try not buying any albums since the mid-90s, people) and now he LOVES THESE GUYS.

Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster [Deluxe Edition]
Oh, just GIVE IN already. Seriously, the last dance-pop album I bought was freaking ACE OF BASE, yet Lady Gaga has gotten more play recently than anything else on this list. It’s fun, it’s catchy, it makes doing the 30-Day Shred infinitely less annoying.

Michael Franti & Spearhead: All Rebel Rockers
We went to Jamaica recently. So. Yeah. This is one of Noah’s favorites.

Panic at the Disco: Pretty. Odd.
You probably heard that Nine in the Afternoon single played to death on the radio, but don’t judge. The rest of the album is really solid.

Rilo Kiley: Uh. All of them. Every album.
Okay, fine. Start with either The Execution of All Things or Under the Blacklight. Or More Adventurous. Or Take Offs and Landings. Or lead singer Jenny Lewis’ solo album Rabbit Fur Coat. It’s all really, really good.

Spoon: Transference
Who doesn’t love Spoon? If you aren’t sure, you probably still love Spoon. If you saw that Will Ferrell movie Stranger Than Fiction and always wondered about that song that plays when he’s in the guitar store and like, it’s indescribably awesome? That’s Spoon, and this is their latest album. You probably love it too.

Vampire Weekend: their self-titled debut album and Contra
People either love or hate VW, but my working theory is that a lot of the haters hate simply because these guys are so young and SO IRRITATINGLY GOOD, DAMN IT. They’re also the polar opposite of the over-produced autotuned madness you hear so much of today.

The White Stripes:Icky Thump
Because I’m assuming you already own Elephant, right? I mean, everybody already owns Elephant, right? Because that was only the greatest album in the world since like, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, right? Okay then. Icky Thump rocks pretty hard too.

Also: anything by The Shins, nothing by Coldplay. I have a lot of Weezer, Flight of the Conchords and an almost inexplicable amount of Duran Duran. I have Kanye and Ludacris and the soundtrack to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (AND the DVD commentary track). In other words: I probably have terrible taste in music and should not be listened to by anyone, ever.

Okay! Everybody else’s turn. Name your favorite artist and album of the moment, or of All Time. Or both! Whatever. It’s Friday and nobody feels like doing any work around here, right?

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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