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Semi-Charmed Life and the Art of the Song-That-Everyone-Knows

Posted on 12 September 2010

So for the second time in a week, I’m posting something I wrote for my music blog. I’ve decided I’m only going to do this for posts that I feel fit here as well as there– straight-up music posts are staying there, but things that go a bit deeper go here, too. Here it is:


“Semi-Charmed Life” – Third Eye Blind (amazon, itunes)

Went to a house party yesterday where the host was kind enough to let others have input into the songs being played. Plugging my iTunes playlist into someone else’s soundsystem is as close to DJ-ing as I’ve ever gotten, but one thing that I’ve learned is it’s cool to start out with new/hip stuff, as the night goes on you need to start pulling out the classics. And when I say classics, I mean the stuff that everyone knows, and not necessarily the stuff you would normally admit to having on your iPod. Blogger Pitchfork Reviews Reviews says it well:

in my experience the best public listening moments i’ve ever had have been hearing the first notes of a song that i would never put on on my iPod but i know every word to it, or at least the melody, like songs that were or are so deeply embedded in the popular culture consciousness that they are, like, above subjective judgments of quality, you know what i mean?

the first thing i learned about DJing was that people are just trying to get drunk and dance, not be educated on your exquisite taste and the extensive reach of your knowledge, you know?”

Some artists, like Justice and MGMT manage to be both these things, but there are others that are purely the 2-am-get-everybody-out-on-the-floor artists, like Haddaway and Spirit of the West and especially Neil Diamond. These are not things I would ever play on my radio show, but they are staples of my communal music experiences, because like it or not, everyone knows them, and at a certain point people stop caring about being hip and just enjoying the music.

Third Eye Blind is a new one for me, I first realized the potential of this song when I saw the band Maurice cover it at an after-party for Coldsnap. It’s not a song I had heard for a few years, but it was all over the place a few years ago and it’s insanely catchy, so everyone knows it, even if they don’t ever think of it or put it on best-of lists. I wasn’t sure how it would go over, but it wound up being well-received enough that I’ll definitely try it again. I’m also sneaking it into this playlist, and maybe you’ll realize you like it, too.

Filed under: music

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