What is Seattle listening to?

Have you ever wondered what’s coming out of those ubiquitous white buds hanging out of all the ears in Seattle? On the 43 bus to UW, it’s a sea of white wires and the occasional bobbing head. I surreptitiously leaned to my left to pick up a little bit of the escaping sound from the guy next to me. Sounds like an accordian – something French, maybe? Tracks changed, and a slow, expressive violin solo carried over. I was so close to interrupting him to ask what it was, but I couldn’t bring myself to cut in to such a beautiful soundtrack to a dark fall morning. The young man across from me had his eyes closed, and I wanted to know if he was just grabbing an extra five minutes of shut-eye, or if he was happily drowning in an orchestral sea.

A man got on a crowded elevator here at work. He had a venti latte in one hand, and his CD player in the other. He had large, padded headphones on instead of the popular little earpieces. Some serious rock music was coming out of it – probably circa 1985 from the sound of it, and the volume was up to 11. We squished in to fit, everyone doing their best to stay out of anyone’s personal space, as we do here. And the beat went on. And the man closed his eyes. And then he started to take deep breaths through his nose, and slowly let it out as if in a relaxation exercise. To him, I’m sure it was the most inconspicuous personal moment of zen – but the rest of us were wide-eyed, and a couple people were starting to look uncomfortable. I brazenly broke the tension (completely unbeknownst to the breathing man) by saying, “I wish I had a gigantic coffee and my favorite music this morning!” And everyone laughed – but not loud enough to disturb his meditation.

So, what’s being piped in to you this week? If I saw you on the bus and had the nerve to ask you what you were listening to, what would you tell me?

19 Comments so far

  1. TonyD (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 10:00 am

    I’m a self-styled anti-gadget luddite, but I recently got an iPod shuffle as part of a free promotion. Now I’m getting addicted to podcasts!

  2. josh (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 10:05 am

    Here’s a guess at what people in Seattle are listening to –>


  3. C Ro (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 10:13 am

    This morning on the bus (37) I was listening to a mixed cd that my friend made as a tribute to Big Star and power pop.

  4. Pop Astronaut (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 10:23 am

    I’m on shuffle at moment, so…

    “yflmd” by Giant Drag, “I Heard About Your Band” by Brakes, and “Love Goes Home To Paris in the Spring” by The Magnetic Fields.

  5. Colleen (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 10:38 am

    Cool link, Josh.

    I’m always on the lookout for the awesome anomaly, though… I bet half the people on the bus were listening to something I’ve never heard of. (Or maybe I’m idealistic, but wouldn’t it be more interesting if it were true?)

    Maybe we’re too hip for that, though?

  6. samantha (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 11:21 am

    My walk to work this morning was all about Bon Jovi and Billy Idol. I’m not ashamed.

  7. Kelly (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 12:37 pm

    Let’s see, this morning (49) I was drowning myself in a mix playlist called “A Thousand Tears”. Post-teaching blues rule. (Blah.)

    I think I probably listened to Rufus Wainright (Hallelujah), Allison Kraus (It Doesn’t Matter), Alana Grace (Black Roses Red), Sarah Brightman (Il Mio Cuore Va) and Cowboy Junkies (A Horse in the Country). That’s roughly the right length of time to get from the Hill to UW.

  8. Michael Hanscom (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 1:43 pm

    Related to Josh’s link, here’s my personal recent playlist. A lil’ bit of everything in there…

  9. josh (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 1:52 pm

    in the interest of disclosure: on the walk to my office this morning I was listening to Broken Social Scene and Death Cab For Cutie. Like the rest of Seattle, I guess.

  10. samantha (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 1:56 pm

    Full disclosure: I’ve spent the day at the office listening to Death Cab for Cutie and Minus the Bear, with a little bit of Arcade Fire thrown in.

  11. Colleen (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 2:06 pm

    I suppose it’s not really fair of me to leave out what I’m listening to: Midival Punditz and Shiva Sound System – I’m all about the Asian Underground right now.

    Samantha: You made my day, and inspired another post. :)

  12. Paul (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 3:48 pm

    On the 45 this morning my ipod shuffled through The Ramones, UB40, Bob Marley, Midnite, Celtic Cross, Elvis Presley, Keb Mo and Har mar Superstar. If the ipod had a radio I’d also be listening to KEXP.

  13. samantha (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 4:12 pm

    Awesome. I do what I can.

  14. Karen (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 7:52 pm

    My iPod nano is playing the audiobook version of Terry Pratchett’s Carpe Jugulum, read by Nigel Planer. Audiobooks are dangerous…you forget to get off the bus at your stop.

  15. dw (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 8:32 pm

    This week I made a mix CD of Husker Du, Doves, Mountain Goats, Sufjean Stevens, and Uncle Tupelo. That’s what I’ve been listening to in the car.

    Next week I’m back on the bus, so the 9500+ song iPod will dictate the soundtrack.

  16. Cat Nilan (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 9:29 pm

    I keep fantasizing about a new iPod feature that would allow you to share what you’re listening to with someone close by. So if you chose to have this enabled, you would get 10 or 15 seconds of their music and vice versa. You could have some sort of privacy screen, of course, but wouldn’t this be a great way to flirt or otherwise socialize with random strangers?

    As to what I was listening to today: Soul Coughing, Nusrat Ali Fateh Khan, Bonobo, and Boards of Canada. Kind of a downtempo day.

  17. TJ (unregistered) on October 15th, 2005 @ 3:53 pm

    If it was me you’d be overhearing the new Boards of Canada CD (but not until Monday)

  18. King Kube (unregistered) on October 15th, 2005 @ 8:21 pm

    I too am adicted to Podcasts…Specifically The Car Cast (http://chriscochran.etumos.org) but on the music side I have been listening to Louis Armstrong 1934-1936.

  19. Steve (unregistered) on October 16th, 2005 @ 10:41 am

    Okay, I’m listening to music all the time on the 79 to downtown and the 72 back home. I’ll be honest, I’m listening to my own little Internet only radio station called http://www.Steve.FM. Really checking for wi-fi reception along the way. Gotta love the new technology. Sometime though I will opt for earplugs to keep out the folks who think everyone should hear their conversation. Silence is nice sometimes.

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