Sunday, October 15, 2006

Traveling in Stereo

I just returned from a conference in NYC; hence the dearth of blogging. One good thing about traveling by plane (other than, you know, getting where I’m going) is that it gives me an excuse to listen to my iPod with earphones, something I rarely do otherwise. Some songs sound best through earphones because they take full advantage of stereo sound – by playing different instruments for each side, creating the illusion of movement by having sounds move from one side to the other, or positioning the listener in the middle of a dialogue created by different voices. These effects are not nearly as obvious when the song is played with regular speakers, because both your ears can hear both speakers’ output. Some of my favorite songs to listen to with earphones include:
“How We Operate” – Gomez
“Such Great Heights” – The Postal Service
“Everybody Got Their Something” – Nikka Costa
“Tennessee” – Arrested Development
“Missing” – Everything But The Girl
“Closer” – Nine Inch Nails
“We Used to be Friends” – The Dandy Warhols
Have suggestions for songs to add to the list? Put them in the comments. I have another conference in November...


Schatzi572 said...

Big kudos to you for the Nikki Costa & NIN song. I can really get into those. I have a remix version of Closer I think you'd really dig.

Some other songs that sound great with earphones:
"The Power of Love" - Huey Lewis & The News
"Jesse's Girl" - Rick Springfield
"Vision of Love" - Mariah Carey
(actually any of her songs with the way they record the vocals)
"Lose Yourself" - Eminem
"Love Song" - 311 (cover)
"I Wear My Sunglasses At Night" - Corey Hart
"All She Wants to Do Is Dance" - Don Henley
"PS I'm Still Not Over You" - Rhianna
"Far Away" - Nickleback
"The Longest Time" - Billy Joel
"High" - James Blunt

There are more, but that's all I have time to list right now.

I selected these songs for various reasons. Some played with bouncing sounds back and forth between the left and right audio. Other songs that featured instruments, like the guitar, really intensified the dynamics. And some just sound great turned up so you can fully immerse yourself in orchestral and vocal bliss. (Love the ones with a funky beat!)

Joel Bernstein said...

Spiritualized - "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space"

Meghan Stevens said...

Good choice on the music. I also recommend the slightly less well known Postal Service song "The District Sleeps Alone."

Jeff Brown said...

Squarepusher: Greenways Trajectory (off Go Plastic)

Aphex Twin: Windowlicker, Bucephalus Bouncing Ball (the latter is from the Pi soundtrack)

Pink Floyd: a lot of Dark Side of the Moon

King Crimson: anything; try Lark's Tongue in Aspic Part II, or Thrakk

The Guitar Trio's self-titled album. (This is John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucia, and Al diMeola, all vying for place in the stereo spectrum because they want you to know who's playing what, yet they don't want to stay still.)

Much of Radiohead's album Kid A, particularly the first two tracks

Steven Horwitz said...

All of Neil Peart's drumwork on *Moving Pictures*, esp. the drum breaks in YYZ.

"Bohemian Rhapsodoy" of course.

dgm said...

i'm late to this one, but i'll throw in beck's "girl" and led zep's "ten years gone" and "the immigrant song."

Anonymous said...

Definitely agree on "Everybody got their something".
"Candy"-Mandy Moore
"Starry Eyed Surprise"-Oakenfold (the diet coke ad song--for the part where the guy whispers and his voice comes out of different sides)
"For what it's worth"-Buffalo Springfield
"Sympathy for the Devil"-Rolling Stones

(felt the need to respond, seeing as how I'm supposed to be studying)

Glen Whitman said...

Thanks for all the great suggestions! Interestingly, I already had most of the suggested songs, but I hadn't realized their stereophonic qualities. Jeff, however, gets the prize for most songs/artists that I'd never heard of. At some point I'll get around to tracking them down and giving them a listen.