Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Celebrity Playlists

My sister posts a question of the day over at The Personal News Network. Today she asked about dream jobs. As in, "What's your dream job?" I have always maintained that working with Ira Glass in any capacity on This American Life would be my dream job.

But today as I answered her question I had an epiphany: My dream job is to manage the Celebrity Playlists on iTunes. That's what I want to do.

Perusing the lists is always informative. I can tell who I like and who I don't like based on their list. We don't have to have the same taste in music (although it helps) but they do have to have some integrity. Take John Mellencamp's list, for example: Joni Mitchell, Donovan, Rod Stewart--he's telling the truth. He doesn't care if liking Donovan makes him seem old. And when he says he likes Lou Reed, you know he really does. John Mellencamp is cool. He would be on my playlist AND I'd like to hang out with him.

Then you have Rick Springfield's playlist which is basically an apology for being a pop star in the 80s: Nina Simone? Ri-hight. And of course Radiohead! Any mention of Radiohead automatically ups your coolness factor. I'm sorry to break it to you, Rick, but guess who Thom Yorke didn't mention in his playlist? (Unsurprisingly, Yorke's playlist has a bunch of weird shiz no one has ever heard of.) Embrace your past, Rick. You were awesome and have aged remarkably well. Quit trying to impress Thom Yorke because it's never going to happen.

If you don't want to get tears in your eyes and feel amazing pity for Bob Saget then DO NOT look at his playlist. Seriously guys, it's so sad. He mentions Radiohead as #1. And he chose Creep (the only song by Radiohead that everyone knows) and, here comes the saddest part--he chose the explicit version. If that doesn't make you sad, imagine your mom saying she likes a song with swear words in it to try and fit in with teenagers and you'll have some idea. Bob Saget also likes explicit songs by Kanye West, the Beastie Boys, and Green Day whom he claims to "worship." Bob! You make lots of money being your dorky self on Full House and America's Funniest Home Videos. Everybody loves you--including Mary Kate and Ashley. You have nothing to prove. He should have been true to himself and stopped after Don Henley. I believe he really likes Don Henley. And, dudes, there's nothing wrong with Don Henley.

Jessica Simpson surprised me with her unabashed promotion of all things country. Good for her. And Tori Spelling touts her corny taste for loves songs and 80s music. Good for her too! I would buy Tori's playlist and I commend her for listing songs she really likes: Sister Christian, True Colors, Sweet Child o' Mine. I never thought I'd say this, but Bob Saget could take a page from Tori's book. We all could.

One of my favorite playlists is that of Jimmy Kimmel. I've never seen his show but I know that he and I could build a relationship based on our mutual love for Neil Diamond. His pick? Heartlight. What a gutsy choice! Gutsier still is that he leads off his playlist with Huey Lews and the News and Do You Believe in Love. Jimmie Kimmel is cool.

According to the copy that accompanies his playlist, he agonized over his choices. I would love to have been there to talk him through it. When he writes, "There are a hundred great Springsteen songs, many better and deeper than this one, but this is a personal favorite," about Man's Job I know Thunder Road was nagging at him. Because it's better. But his integrity could not be removed from him and he stuck with Man's Job. That's good. That was the right thing to do. I really love Secret Garden, too (even though I know Thunder Road is better).

I think Brad Meltzer sums up my feelings best--both for playlists in general and for Secret Garden specifically with, "Let me be honest here. Every single person who does one of these lists is trying to look cooler than they are. I'm trying as I type this (failed again). But I'm also being honest. There are some songs that get to me. And I kinda hate that this was in Jerry Maguire, therefore ruining my ability to say I loved it first. . . But I did."

I didn't even know who Brad Meltzer was before today. I sensed that we were simpatico through his playlist before I even googled him. Turns out, he's the author of Justice League of America. Zoo-Wee Mama! I told you I could tell. I'm off to his website to bid in an auction to save the house where Siegel and Shuster created Superman. It's my new pet cause! This should be my job.


  1. You can move to that one and I'll take your old spot with Ira Glass.

  2. Working with Ira Glass would pretty much be the coolest thing ever. I would tweak out every day at work. Instead, I'll sit here and hate my job...

  3. Bob Saget is PROFANE. He's famous for his family stuff, but if you've ever seen any of his adult comedy - I guess he's known for being kind of a sicko, so his taste for profane stuff doesn't surprise me.

  4. Ditto what Sue said. Bob Saget is a dirty old man.

    Also, in an attempt to not attempt to look cooler than I am: Ira Glass bugs, and I never listen to This American Life. Am I cool for being honest?

  5. Hi, Kacy—

    You should put your own playlist on your blog, like I did on mine. How would you assess my playlist, by the way? Do I have any hope for the coolness factor? Please say I have at least some level of cool!
    Rusted Ruminations

    Granted, over half of what I wanted to use from wasn't there, but there's still a lot there to use.

    Also note that I didn't include louder songs yet so as not to alienate part of my reading base. I'm going to put a separate playlist with rocking songs in it for those who want to select it. Watch for it in about a week.

    P.S. - I've linked your blog from mine. Not that it's going to help your traffic much, but it makes it easier for me to see when you update.

  6. Sue is right about Bob Saget. I remember seeing Bob Saget do stand up long before his Full House image. It was an HBO special that I was far too young to be watching. Sorry - he's dirty.

  7. Woah. I am so blown away by this Bob Saget revelation that I can't even discuss the awesomeness of Jimmie Kimmel's playlist (Heartlight! Why just today I was asked to pick my favorite Neil Diamond song and I went with Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show. Jimmie got guts).

  8. Anonymous3:53 PM

    Oh my goodness Kacy. Can I just say that I spent 3 hours last week going through the celebrity playlists and my favorites in order (and I am not making this up):

    1. Jimmy Kimmel
    2. Brad Meltzer (who I totally had to Wiki)
    3. Tori Spelling

    I bought a bunch of songs that they reminded me that I LOVED and most had songs that I totally agreed with.

    This is kinda weirding me out.

  9. How can a celebrity decide on just one playlist? I have many playlists, each for a different mood. Doesn't everyone do it that way?

    Maybe they just pick their "trying too hard to be cool playlist."

  10. I am so not cool - I don't even know what a playlist is - or where to find it.

    (I don't have an iPod. Sometimes I listen to CD's in the car - but I walk to work - and since I'm old and feeble, I feel like I have to pay attention to the cars on the road so they don't hit me - music would undoubtedly distract me.)

  11. You would totally love Jimmy Kimmel. It's not just a coincidence that you love his playlist. He's smart/funny.

  12. You had me at Neil Diamond. I couldn't process anything after that. If his name ever appears in front of me in any format I lose all ability to function and am transported back to that magical night when I stood 27 rows back at his concert...salvation. He is Brother Love.

    Guess what would be on my playlist?

  13. Dirty, dirty Bob Saget.

  14. kacy,
    i just sent you an email to your comcast email address? is that still current? if not, send me your email to have a simple question....

    :) cynthia

  15. Did you hear about saving the Superman house on KUER? (Because that's where I heard it.) I wouldn't know anything if it weren't for NPR...

  16. oh yes, I heard the same thing about Bobby-boy. That he is one of the dirtiest comics around. But also the funniest (?) Totally surprised me.
    And yes, I would probably watch him for a few minutes to make sure all these people aren't lying. hee hee

  17. Instead of blog profiles, we should just have playlists. What do you think?

  18. Wow. I got here too late. Everyone beat me to saying that Bob Saget is profane!

  19. Neil is coming in December. You going?

  20. My favorite American Life Podcasts are "The Super" and the Break up one with Phil Collins.

    Have you been listening to the Moth? We are loving them here at our house. But you need to look for clean ones because they can be as profane as Bob Saget.

    And I'm thrilled to see grannybabs as a commenter here. I've never been here before but I can see why you were recommended to me. Ira Glass doesn't know what he's been missin'.


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