Three Songs to Define You.
If you had three songs with which to define your tastes in music… what would they be?
Let me wind things back a bit.
The other week, Sony invited me to a rpess launch in Sydney, with the hashtag #SonyMDR. The MDR in question stood for ‘Music Deserves Respect’, and the entire event was basically a launch of a metric buttload of swish new toys, all of which were evidently lovingly crafted to make music sound as good as possible. And seeing as how I adore playing with shiny things, music and free snacks, I said yes. Actually, I yelled ‘WHEEEEE!’ down the phone to the Sony rep who invited me, which might explain the plethora of odd looks thrown my way when I sauntered into the joint.
The Ivy on George Street in Sydney is a velvetty, opulent place at the best of times. My date and I (yes, I was dumb enough to take a date to a product launch) snatched a goblet of fantastic sangria each, and began to wander about the place. Here’s what became readily apparent: audiophiles take events like this very seriously. Lanyard-drenched tech-heads were bobbing between stalls bearing speakers, headphones and sound systems, feverishly twiddling dials and taking notes. And if my opening preamble made it sound like I’m a flippant journalist with no business being amongst such ardent fans of Sony, rest assured I felt suitably guilty, and resolved to take the entire event as seriously as possible.
After a solid hour of perusing the products being shown, I arrived at a handful of conclusions. First: my headphones suck. The fidelity coming from some of the higher-end headphones here, most notably the MDR 10R model, was exceptional. I may or may not have pawed at them longingly for an entire Fleetwood Mac song, before being told politely by a Sony rep to ‘stop being so damned creepy’. We drifted from display to display, nodding knowingly and getting into the swing of things, taking our own notes and enjoying being judgemental over various renditions of Crowded House songs.
Then, the weirdest part of the evening: we wandered into a Lynchian cubicle, in which sat a sound system in a kind of DaDa-esque living room setup: a large fern lurked in a corner, and an oil painting of fruit hung in a strip of disconcerting shadow. We sat down, along with a handful of vaguely innebriated press, and the curtain was drawn. In came a Sony rep, and two middle aged Japanese men, who stood back quietly as the Sony rep explained who they were: the men who actually designed the sound system we were about to listen to. In my mind, I imagined the enormous speakers coming to life like in the beginning of Back to the Future, with everyone being blown out a window and falling to our deaths on George Street. I resolved to lay off the sangria.
The room was then gently subjected to three songs: Something So Strong by Crowded House, Happy by Pharrell, and Smoke on the Water (live) by Deep Purple.
These songs were followed up by meaningful looks from the Sony representatives, who, it should be noted, spoke at bewilderingly low volumes, mumbling spartan arrangements of words from pursed lips whilst the room was bombarded by ambient party noise. Ignoring, for a moment, the irony that people whose careers revolve around the conveyance of sound seemed incapable of producing any themselves, the display was… Mildly impressive. But it did get me thinking.
They had three songs to impress us. Three songs really isn’t much, and my date turned to me afterwards and asked me which three songs I’d choose; not to display the engineering prowess of my new high system (I don’t own any, let alone a new one), but to sum up everything I care about musically. To impress someone. To floor them, and, if I’m lucky, arouse them.
And after a week of thinking, I’ve come up with my three songs, to be played (ideally) at a very loud volume in a suitably off-putting room.
First: la ritournelle - Sebastian Tellier.
Secondly: I Want You (She’s So Heavy) - The Beatles.
And finally: Baker Street - Jerry Rafferty.
And even though I’m thoroughly pleased with my choices, I’m still wound up in knots. Three? Just three songs? It’s simply not enough to encompass me as a person. And that’s the real issue here: many people define themselves by way of the things they like, which is why the mixtape is such a charming gesture: we can succinctly boil down our hopes, dreams and desires, and have other people sum them up far better than we feel we ourselves could. Three songs? Three songs isn’t a personal, intimate getting to know you through music session over drinks in a dimly lit bar, three songs is a handshake. A nod from across the room. A furtive glance.
But maybe that’s why I - and presumably now you, too - want so desperately to make those three songs count. Because first impressions matter, especially when you’re letting someone else do the talking for you.
Once the evening wrapped up, keynote speeches and all we sauntered out, thoroughly impressed. But that question, those three songs, ate at us all night. So, dear readers, I ask you: what three songs would you play for someone?
Can you asinine fucks stop saying you’ve been waiting for a gifset your entire life. What even is that you stunted hormonal sharts