you never know when you're gonna get your 15 mintues of fame, but if mine came tomorrow, i'd be ready, armed with my celebrity playlist -- just in case the folks down at itunes came-a-callin'. and since i'm a very visual learner and youtube had many of the vids, you'll get an even richer sampling of my treasures. (yes, you are right, i have a lot of free time.) inspired by new favorites and old standbys, here's my list... take it or leave it:
1. andrew bird - imitosis.
andrew bird captured my attention at austin city limits music festival last summer, and his professional whistling and violin talents made me an immediate fan. while imitosis isn't really a proper demonstration of his whistling feats, this is just a good song.
2. dr. dog - ain't it strange.
i can't quite tell you why i love dr. dog so much... maybe it's because they're lo-fi and 70s-ish, or maybe because everytime i hear them i picture a big dopey hound dog trying to run.
3. lily allen - knock 'em out.
if they play this on the radio and you're entirely sick of it, i'm sorry... i haven't followed music on the radio for years. i tend to highly enjoy the musical artists that the motherland is pumping out, and this entertaining little imp is no exception. i hope the radio hasn't slaughtered her yet.
4. i'm from barcelona - we're from barcelona.
i heard this sugary-sweet song in an h&m department store here in hong kong. i pushed pause on my shopping to find a speaker, stand underneath it and memorize some of the lyrics because i loved this little ditty so much. even though they're liars (i don't know if any of them have been to barcelona... they're swedish), these cats are my very favorite 29-piece band from sweden; i want to be them a little.
5. mark mothersbaugh - ping island/lightning strike rescue op.
this one may not be palatable to many of you, and that's okay. my taste is admittedly a little out there. mark mothersbaugh was one of the founding members of devo (remember the song whip it?), and now he does music for movies and television. this song hails from "the life aquatic with steve zissou," a great little film starring bill murray. when you listen to this, think nintendo meets willy wonka. and since this song doesn't really have a legit music video, this is the best i could round up.
6. real life - send me an angel.
my playlist simply would not be complete without a little 80s love on it, and while i prefer the remix of this song, it's still my all time favorite new wave tune. enjoy the video.
7. gwen stefani - cool.
if i could be any rockstar, i would choose gwen stefani, no question. she's one of my big, fat guilty pleasures, from her earlier, angrier days with no doubt when she over-plucked her eyebrows and wore indian jewels on her forehead to her latest ventures into motherhood with her trusty harajuko girls at her side -- i love every bit of her. and this song is totally gwen: cool.
8. of montreal - gronlandic edit.
you've probably already heard of montreal and don't even know it. outback steakhouse did a play on one of their big hits and turned it into a dumb jingle... "let's go outback tonight..." it's unfortunate, but it happens. these flamboyant weirdos are still one of my favorite bands though. this song has got some awesome harmonies.
9. iron & wine - boy with a coin.
i'm a sucker for minor tunes and songs laced with clapping, and this is the perfect combination of the two. the lyrics have a slight political flavor, and i haven't really decided what they're supposed to make me think, but i forget about all that when i watch the video... i wanna learn this dance.
10. priscilla ahn - dream.
could be the hormones, but everytime i hear this song i get so emotional, and i think it's because it makes me realize that i'm not living up to my full potential... life goes by in a blur, and i want to be able to say 'i lived it full and i lived it well,' too.
11. rodrigo y gabriella - diablo rojo.
i don't care who you are or where you're from -- you have to admit that these dublin-based mexicans (true story) have some mean ol' fingers.
12. okkervil river - unless it's kicks.
best song of the year. i can't wait to try it out this summer... fast car, windows down. stick around for the guitar solo at 3:50; you won't be disappointed.
13. meryn cadell - the sweater.
i wish i would've discovered meryn cadell in high school instead of my early twenties... her advice could've spared me a lot of pain and embarrassment.
14. the knife - heartbeats.
feeds my little inner new wave monster, and i dig the tiny hint of asian flair. the video is weird and redundant, but this long-boarding brady bunch makes me yearn for the west coast.
15. ray lamontagne - hold you in my arms.
heartwarming tune, honest lyrics, soulful voice... i'll be listening to this song for years to come. this is the kinda stuff you sing to your babies.
16. spice girls - stop.
now listen, i'm not hoppin' on this latest SG bandwagon; i've been riding this wagon all by myself for nearly a decade now, and the road has been long and lonely. i know all the choreographed actions to this song. i own every spice girls' single ever released. i am the proud owner of a vast spice girls' poster collection. i stood by these guys when their songs wouldn't get airplay on even the worst "best of the 80s and 90s" radio stations. if their tour doesn't get to hong kong before i'm set to leave in april, it ain't gonna be pretty.