As opposed to our favorite songs, or songs we'd like to think define our listening habits, taking a look at what a person actually listens to can be far more revealing. With that in mind, every week we ask an artist to take a look at the most-played songs in their iTunes libraries and share with us the results. We do this on the honor system, and we ask our subjects to share a few words about each song.
In May, along with longtime band Garbage, rock drummer and acclaimed 57 year-old producer Butch Vig released the group's fifth studio album, Not Your Kind of People, their first since 2005's Bleed Like Me. A cleanly produced work carrying the band's signature industrial synths and gritty beats, the record shows that seven years hasn't slowed Vig's instinctive sense of what makes the dark side of pop so intriguing--he was, after all, the producer of grunge classics from Nirvana's Nevermind and Sonic Youth's Dirty to Smashing Pumpkins' Gish and Siamese Dream. We recently caught up with the taste-making icon who sent in these "songs I've been rocking on my iPod." With a hand in the successes of so many of his contemporaries, it's no wonder he's worked with a few here himself.
Garbage plays the Showbow SoDo with Screaming Females tomorrow (9/26) at 7 p.m.
"Star Machine," Bob Mould: So great to have a new album from Bob Mould. This is more Copper Blue than Husker Du, and roars with an epic intensity. He hasn't lost his edge.
"Madness," Muse: The wobbly synths and spare production give a lot of headroom for Matt Bellamy to get in your face, and he makes the most of the moment. His singing is a tour-de-force, and like most Muse songs, very melodramatic.
"Melt," Phil Roy: Like a lot of great singer-songwriters Phil Roy is able to paint vivid pictures and emotions with his lyrics. In "Melt" he taps into the possibility of a Hollywood ending, even though he knows it will never happen.
"Marked," EMA:This is the dark stuff. Like Nico and the Velvet Underground, when Erika Anderson sings "I wished that every time he touched me left a mark" I find it quietly optimistic, that she's made peace with her demons and is slowly rising into sunlight.
"Sixteen Saltines," Jack White: Jack does it again. A monster classic rock guitar riff. Nuff said!
"You Were Never There," Diego Garcia: Even though the subject in the song has
broken Diego's heart, this is the perfect accompaniment to blast while cruising
down the Ventura Highway, with the wind in your hair and sun on your face.
"Blue Jeans," Lana Del Rey: I don't care about the bashing she's taken in the press, her Born To Die is an absolutely brilliant debut album. When I hear this song I think of David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive". She's the anti-pop girl, the ying to Katy Perry's yang.
"Avalanche Girl," The Emperors of Wyoming: Spoiler alert: I'm a member of this band. This song is about a fling I had with a "femme fatale" when I was sixteen. The Avalanche Girl was beautiful, wild, and scary. True story.
"Stereo," IAMDYNAMITE: When I hear the "ah ah ah ah, ahahahahah" I recall the Dave Clark Five. Anthemic power pop at its best.
"20th Century Boy," T. Rex: Some of the new songs on the latest Black Keys album remind me of T. Rex, and they inspired me to get back into Marc Bolan's wonderful world of glam. "20th Century Boy" sounds as timeless as ever, a party anthem for the 21st Century.