So What Do Those 15 Favorite Songs Say About Us Anyway?

Okay, so the 15 Favorite Songs thing. It happened. I freaked out a little (a lot) picking my selections, but it was a fun, in a self-aggrandizing way.

I wrote yesterday that it was nearly impossible to do what the event asked: come up with 15 songs that you love above all other songs. I maintain that point -- my playlist included no local music (technically, one of my songs was recorded in Chicago by a guy who lives here now, so that might count), no Fleetwood Mac, no Lou Reed or VU, no Elvis Costello, no Boston, no rap, or metal. So if you were to ask me if my list "summed me up musically," I'd have to say no.

But that isn't going to stop me from doing exactly that -- musically summing up the participants based on their song choices. I know it isn't fair (especially because I don't even have complete lists for everyone), and I know that these songs can't fully represent the entirety of a person's musical taste. But so what? That's why events like this are fun. The judging. Oh man, the judging.

Here we go:

Jessica Hill (Phoenix New Times, X103.9 FM)

1. No Doubt, "Just a Girl" 2. Incubus, "I Miss You" 3. Coldplay, "Trouble" 4. Brand New, "Okay I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don't" 5. A Perfect Cirlce, "Three Libras" 6. The Format, "Tie the Rope" 7. Jimmy Eat World, "Hear You Me (May Angels Lead You In)" 8. Counting Crows, "Color Blind" 9. Taking Back Sunday, "Number Five With a Bullet" 10. Incubus, "Warning" 11. Paramore, "Misery Business" 12. Lydia, "This Is Twice Now" 13. Muse, "Hysteria" 14. New Order, "Bizarre Love Triangle" 15. Something Corporate, "Konstantine"

Thoughts:Hill was our poptimist -- not afraid of "unfashionable in the critical world" groups like Something Corporate, Counting Crows, and Paramore. I admired that she didn't try and play it "cool" -- but I did breathe a sigh of relief when I heard New Order. A man can only take so much Incubus. Hill pointed out that her songs included a lot of piano, especially the last one, a Something Corporate jam that played for 45 minutes (I think?).

Best song: No Doubt, "Just a Girl"

Worst Song: Something Corporate, "Constantine"

Jason Woodbury (Phoenix New Times)

1. Replacements, "Bastards of Young" 2. Paul McCartney, "Smile Away" 3. Richard Swift, "Songs of National Freedom" 4. Karen Dalton, "Something is on Your Mind" 5. My Bloody Valentine, "When You Sleep" 6. Todd Rundgren, "Couldn't I Just Tell You?" 7. Vince Guaraldi Trio, "Christmastime is Here" 8. Bo Diddley, "Doing the Crawdaddy" 9. Bruce Springsteen, "Rosalita" 10. Abner Jay, "Depression" 11. A Technicolor Yawn, "Get Out Alive" 12. Starflyer 59, "Do You Ever Feel That Way?" 13. Nick Lowe, "I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass" 14. Big Star, "Back of a Car" 15. Van Morrison, "St. Dominic's Preview"

Thoughts: Looking for common themes here, I notice a lot of statements and questions as titles. SF59 (and to a much less degree, Richard Swift) point to a youth spent listening to "Chrindie," or "Christian Indie." No strictly local music -- which is pretty sad. Also, though going with the studio version of "Rosalita" in the end, I did bring a vinyl bootleg version of the song. The recording is muffled, and at times unintelligible, but I wanted to be cool, despite the terrible sound quality. So add "pretentious douche" to the "Youth Group Rocker" tag.

Best song: Vince Guaraldi Trio, "Christmastime is Here"

Worst Song: Vince Guaraldi Trio, "Christmastime is Here"

Overlap: My Bloody Valentine with Lanning, Guraldi Trio with Miranda.

Kimber Lanning (Stinkweeds, Local First AZ)

1. My Bloody Valentine, "Soon" 2. Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On" 3. Dirty on Purpose, "Car No Driver" 4. Ida, "Tellings" 5. Fela Kuti, "Jeun Ko Ku" 6. Belle & Sebastian, "Song For Sunshine" 7. Vetiver, "Sister" 8. Al Green, "Let's Stay Together" 9. Breathless, "Compulsion" 10. Tinariwen, "Mano Dayak" 11. Peter Gabriel, "My Body is a Cage" 12. Tom Waits, "Downtown Train" 13. Simon & Garfunkel, "The Boxer" 14. Red House Painters, "Teksty"

Thoughts: I may have missed one here, but I was still fairly sober at this point and taking what I believed to be excellent notes. That said -- if anyone caught a song I missed, feel free to hate-mail the song title to me. Here, Lanning proves why she owns an indie record store with stuff like Ida, Belle & Sebastian, and Vetiver, proves she's likes world stuff with Kuti and Tinariwen, and proves that like Hill and myself, she likes to save beautiful, depressing shit for last. What a lead in for the next DJ! Lanning also proved she was crazy busy, jetting the moment Mark Kozelek finished his breathy moaning. Best Song: "Downtown Train," by Tom Waits

Worst Song: Belle & Sebastian, "Song For Sunshine"

Overlap: My Bloody Valentine with me. Paul Simon with Miranda.

Lindsay Cates (Stinkweeds, various local bands)

1. Wye Oak, "I Hope You Die" 2. Yo La Tengo, "Green Arrow" 3. Kathleen Edwards, "Buffalo" 4. Uncertain here... 5. John Prine, "In Spite of Ourselves" 6. Ween, "Piss Up a Rope" 7. Silver Jews, "New Orleans" 8. Not sure what this one was... 9. Stills, "Lola Stars and Stripes" 10. Plants & Animals, "Good Friend" 11. Blonde Redhead, "Water

Thoughts: Though a few beers deeper, I was still taking good notes here. Cates only played 11 songs, I'm sure of it. Though I didn't know two of them, it was fantastic to hear Ween's "Piss Up a Rope," and "In Spite of Ourselves" was hilarious, too. Cates played music with humor, but also the world's saddest, most haunting Yo La Tengo song, which made me want to fall asleep. Cates doesn't take herself too seriously, and doesn't care what other people think. Hell, she started her set with a song called "I Hope You Die." A rebel and a loner, she didn't even finish her countdown. Take that, Phoenix. Best Song: Ween, "Piss Up a Rope"

Worst Song: Plants and Animals, "Good Friend"

Dario Miranda (Stinkweeds, various bands around town)

1. Paul Simon, "Late in the Evening" 2. Vince Guaraldi, "Skating" 3. Uncertain... 4. Steely Dan, "Deacon Blue" (First sax solo of the evening!) 5. Don't know... 6. Timber Timbre, "Lay Down in the Tall Grass" 7. Aretha Franklin, "Running Out of Fools" 8. Midlake, "We Gathered in Song" 9. Microphones, "I Want a Wind to Blow"

Incomplete from then on...

Thoughts: Miranda described the process of picking out his songs as an exercise in the "Zen art of fuck it," but his mix was solid. Miranda revealed he likes a specific warmness to his songs, and a strong '70s aesthetic (maybe those are the same thing). He played another Peanuts jazz tune, which was great, and the crowd loved. I think that the jazz of Vince Guaraldi is some of the first jazz a lot of us listened to, as kids, and it just sort of resonates your whole life. The fact that it reminds everyone of Arrested Development doesn't hurt, either.

Best Song: The Dan tied with Midlake (I forgot how good that Van Occupanther album was.)

Worst Song: Clearly one of the songs I missed.

Overlap Paul Simon with Lanning, Vinny G with myself.

So what did we learn about ourselves? Very little, I think. But I Miranda and Hill (both who have actually done radio) proved to be the most exciting jocks, both showing off excellent radio voices. Lanning's songs proved why she's a tastemaker, and Cates brought in some much needed levity. Next 15 songs gig? The staff of The Vig. After that, I'd love to see the folks of Stateside fumble with this one.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.