And now for Music Mondays

Better known as day one of me deliberately finding ways to create horrible, cheesy alliterative titles for each day’s over-arching theme. That was the compromise I made with myself to help justify any sort of set organizational system. The more you know?

This is the first of many Mondays in One Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0, and the first of many Music Mondays. This was actually one of the first idea-bits that inspired me to revisit this horrible, painful experience.

Right. Moving along.

Jonathan Coulton is to thank or blame for the inspiration that gradually evolved into this first post. I found myself in need of a new CD in my car. I threw together an assortment of songs from my iTunes library, popped a CD in my laptop, and almost forgot to retrieve it before I left for work.

It turned out to be the antithesis of what I was hoping to end up with, so that’s unfortunate. At least that’s how I felt about it until I got to one track in particular. “Nobody Loves You Like Me” from Jonathan Coulton’s CD Artificial Heart. I’m one of many people who were introduced to Coulton’s music thanks to “Still Alive” at the ending of Portal. I could probably go on about why I think his music, overall, is spectacular, but I really want to focus on Artificial Heart. First: if you’ve not listened to Artificial Heart before, I’d suggest taking a moment to buy it, listen to it, and probably fall in love with it.

According to Wikipedia, because I’m forgetful when it comes to details, Artificial Heart is Jonathan Coulton’s eighth studio album. He worked on it with a number of other musicians, and the end result was a special kind of musical sorcery. Each track brings something different to the overall CD. I opted to buy the super-deluxe-giant-robot edition (I forgot the actual name, but I’m thinking something like Stage 4; how does Google work again?), which also included his entire music catalog, t-shirts, and a host of other treasures. Artificial Heart itself was the best part of this deal, though.

The Artificial Heart track-list, screencapped from iTunes because I'm great at using images.

The Artificial Heart track-list, screen-capped from iTunes because I’m great at using images.

The tracks in Artificial Heart have a delightful range, from the happy-to-be sad lyrics of “Nobody Loves You Like Me” (forever my personal favorite, despite complaints that it’s too sad, depressing, etc.) to the madcap silliness of tracks like “Good Morning Tuscon”. It’s the kind of CD made for being played on repeat at least five times (which is just about how long it takes for me to start thinking I need to get a new CD).

Specific tracks that really kept me in love with this CD, in no real order, are “Nobody Loves You Like Me”, “Nemeses”, “Artificial Heart”, and the reworkings of “Still Alive” and “Want You Gone”. I’m about the least qualified person to really talk about any technical aspects of what makes music good or enjoyable, so the best I can do is say why these tracks were enough to make me want to have this CD become a mostly-permanent fixture in my ear-holes.

“Nobody Loves You Like Me” is a delightful, happy-to-be-sad song with fun lyrics that also happen to make me feel like someone punched me directly in the feelings. The lack of musical accompaniment to Coulton’s autotuned (or synthesized, as calling it autotuned makes it feel cheap and awful) voice only serves to make this track that much stronger. It’s just the right length, down to the very second, so that the track doesn’t linger.

“Nemeses” features John Roderick, and I’m fairly comfortable saying anyone who doesn’t enjoy this whimsical, delightful duet may actually be a cold, unfeeling monster trying to pass as a human. Coulton and Roderick’s voices go together like the peanut butter and chocolate of a Reese’s Cup (a comparison that’s both damning evidence of my eternal status as a fat kid as well as proof that my brain is not all here tonight). Having watched the music video for it only made me love this song more.

While my plan is typically going to involve choosing music that has inspired my creativity in some way, I can’t say any writing has suddenly happened after listening to Artificial Heart. That said, it is easily one of my favorite CDs I’ve ever purchased, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Five out of five arbitrarily chosen units of rating.

Ninety-eight days remaining.

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