Friday, December 12, 2008

Carmelo and Lebron love Barry: What's on your iPod?

Believe it or not, LeBron James listens to Barry Manilow. But he's a little fuzzy on the crooner's first name. In the Cavaliers' locker room yesterday, the Cleveland superstar was informed that his longtime friend and U.S. Olympic teammate Carmelo Anthony of Denver admitted last year that he had Barry Manilow's music on his iPod. James said his iPod probably had some Manilow, too—though he said "Brian Manilow." After teammates laughed, James corrected his mistake and joked that he was referring to Barry's cousin the first time. He searched his digital music player and came up with the Manilow tunes "Copacabana," "Mandy" and "I Am Your Child." Read more...

I love the much-maligned iPod culture.

Despite popular wisdom, it's never been easy to pigeonhole the followers of musical artists and genres. But the iPod, and with it iTunes, has made it even easier to be an unlikely fan. Free digital downloads and 99-cent songs mean you can own that one country or metal or soft rock tune you secretly love...and no one has to know. In the old days, a hip hop head might have to actually walk up to the counter at Musicland, hiding her Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits behind the new Grandmaster Flash album. Now, with the click of a mouse, "I Write the Songs" downloads quickly and quietly between the more acceptable titles in your collection. Plus iTunes' cool little features, such as Genius and Just For You, encourage the exploration of new music (OK, they're really just encouraging you to spend money.). I always said I didn't much care for country music, but now my iPod has 145 country songs on it. How did that happen?

I don't think many people would be surprised at the tunes in my digital music collection; I've always had ecclectic musical tastes. My iPod has everything from ABBA to Zeppelin, and in between: Blackstar, Feist, The Shins, AC/DC, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Ray LaMontagne, Odetta and Pinetop Perkins, Dolly Parton, Beyonce, The Kooks, Aretha Franklin, Coldplay, U2, Britney Spears, the Eagles...and, yes, Barry Manilow and more.

Maybe the most surprising thing, for those who read my liberal rantings here, is that I own some songs that don't quite pass the gender and racial equality smell test. But, hey, sometimes you just want to groove. I can nod my head to "In Da Club" by 50 Cent and ignore the insipid and predatory lyrics. And I can crank "Sweet Home Alabama" and tune out that line about Birmingham loving the Governor (George Wallace).

So, tell me, what would people be surprised to find on your iPod (or in your music collection)?

I've got lots of Brandi Carlisle on my iPod, but I don't have her cover of "Fortunate Son," which she seems to sing a lot in concert. I'm holding my breath for an "in concert" album. In the meantime, enjoy...


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