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Wednesday, 29 January 2020


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I'm pretty sure you broke your one cup of coffee rule on this one.


(no pun intended)

Maybe we should apply the advice of Warren Buffett aka "The Oracle of Omaha" to music also.Narrow our choices or genres to five categories and ignore the rest.

That was a very enjoyable tour of the extremes of music. I'd also enjoy a tour of photography's extremes as well in the interests of expanding horizons.

I do have a modest contribution to your list courtesy of my late father-in-law. A little Johnny Mercer gem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Thfg7F7ZyIo

But the Lawrence Welk version of "One Toke over the Line" is a priceless classic.

That was fun, thanks!

Uhoh...there goes my YouTube feed.

Mike said "I don't even like all the songs on The White Album."

I concur, sir.
I even have several CD's I only like ONE song on!

But I do have a Vera Lynn album of world war 2 songs, and an Edith Piaf album bought specifically for "Non, je ne regrette rien"
And 'Carmina Burana' is one of my favorite pieces of music.
I have some trad jazz records and some classical records.
I listen to Rock and Roll every day, but I can't listen to Rap or Metal.
It would be a boring old world if we all liked the same thing!

I think someone woke up on the pedantic side of the bed this morning. :)

"I like everything" is generally a shortcut for "I like (some) things in (almost) all genres; I am not a single or even a dual genre person."

"I like a little bit of a lot of things."

"I like some of everything."

"I like more than nothing of most things."

"I like everything."

Those are equivalent, social convention-wise. Like answering "Fine" to a "How are you?" question, regardless of whether you're fine or not.

So, no, I don't think anyone needs to stop saying it.

(And, really, who does like all the songs on the White Album?)

[But I addressed what you're saying in my first two paragraphs.... --Mike]

*standing ovation*

Holy cow. I do like nearly everything.

I even put on "Metal Machine Music" now and then.

This post was filled with a bunch of really great stuff, most of which I hadn't heard before. Thanks, Mike!

I dearly love Lou Reed in both his solo and Velvet Underground work. That said, Metal Machine Music was banned by the Geneva Conventions as a crime against humanity and probable torture device.

More seriously, a better example would be "Berlin". It's unremittingly harsh and by the time it's done most listeners are depressed and suicidal; OTOH, it is a real artistic work and contains some amazing moments. Lady Day, the title track and The Kids for example - it's just that those moments are perhaps the most depressive I've run into in pop culture. It would do a test of someone's catholic tastes...

So, did you have fun with this? It just seemed a bit over the TOP for me.

At first blush seeing the premise of the question I was tempted to respond as you did. But, Oh Lordy, you did it far beyond anything I could have mustered. Your knowledge is deep and profound. I am not worthy. I am not worthy.
(But hey, you didn't even get to Jim Nayder and The Annoying Music Show. He's gone but not forgotten.)

I deleted my comment to the original thread (yes, it did contain the lowercase catholic). I found it hard to avoid banality in my first pass.

Interestingly, I heard an interview with Don Byron on the radio yesterday. His body of work is all over the place but he sees it all as jazz, which for him isn't music per se but rather an approach to music - an idea I found interesting.

He also gave props to Lawrence Welk. He said he was impressed by anyone who could make instrumental music popular.

There is a scene in the film Straight, No Chaser which I'll never forget. Thelonious Monk is asked what kind of music he prefers, and he responds, "I like all music." The interviewer responded increduously with something like "so, do you like Country music?" which made Thelonious grimace. "I said I like all music."

If you think about it, any example of music that is terrible, or boring, or hard to listen to can be a learning experience vis a vis Byron's statement about the nature of Jazz. It is the same with photographs. You can learn something from bad photographs as well as from good ones. I like all photography, even vernacular photography (selfies, old family photos, mug shots etc). But when I look at say Koudelka's work, I constantly see and learn something new. Some work has more staying power - which is a combination of objective merit and personal taste.

Just as Thelonius liked and presumably listened to Country music, he didn't spend most of his time doing so. The trick is being open while at the same time staying focused - which is harder than it seems, especially in our culture of constant distraction.

Speaking of Gamelan, you should really watch the cover of Gang of Four's "Not Great Men" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K19jPwpP5XY.

Can't help but recall these immortal lines from The Blues Brothers:

Elwood: What kind of music do you usually have here?

Claire: Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western.

You are right: if you really care about music at all, you can't like everything. But you can give everything a listen to see if you might like it. It is possible to like Arvo Pärt and Ray Stevens. It is possible to like Hildegard von Bingen and Veggie Tales. It is possible to like bluegrass music from the Appalachians and gamelan music from Indonesia. It is possible to like Judy Garland tunes and dislike Rufus Wainwright singing Judy Garland tunes.

One of the tragedies of mortality is that we cannot hear all the music that we might enjoy, and even love.

Oliver Sacks has done a great job
of exposing (and maybe explaining)


His bottom line is that music goes directly into the brain, many parts of the brain. No one knows WHY.

For me, I do indeed like all music, but ONLY FOR A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TIME. Some music, only 1 second is enough, for other music, a lifetime is not long enough.

Let’s have some love for The Shaggs!

The Zorn link made me chuckle. I actually like a lot of Zorn, but also hate a lot as well. He is a paradox. I far prefer him as writer/arranger than as a performer as I just can't deal with screechy sax. I love his work with the Dreamers though as well as the Gnostic Trio.

Whenever I hear someone say that they like "everything," I do a little self introspection and ask myself if I'm too opinionated and connoisseurish. I get incredibly narrow with my "like" list, sometimes. Sometimes I'll make a slight adjustment but most of the time, I stay pretty true to that narrow focus. And I certainly never get to "everything."

As a general rule, I like most classical music but definitely not all of it. When we narrow it down to baroque, I like a higher percentage but still not all of it. If we pick a specific composer like JS Bach, that percentage moves up a couple more points but it's still not 100. Even if we narrow it down to a very specific subset of Bach works — let's say organ pieces in minor keys — I still can't get to 100%. I love the "Little" Fugue in G minor. I'm not as hot on the "Great" Fugue in G minor. Bach's normal genius at counterpoint falls apart because it's *too* complex. There are portions of that piece where there is just too much going on and it kind of grates on my ear. Certainly not as much as the Teletubbies or William Hung but it's not what I'd really "like" to be listening to if I had my druthers.

In music, there's also the performance to think about to. Artistic interpretations of pieces composed centuries ago can vary wildly. And I find that sometimes what I "like" in this regard can even change based on my mood. This happens with violin pieces a lot. Sometimes I like the precision and cleanliness of a Jascha Heifetz. Sometimes that can seem cold and I'll prefer the emotion of an Itzhak Perlman. It all depends. "Like" can vary one day to the next.

Like all art, I at least try to cultivate an appreciation for styles of music I don't normally listen to. Can I appreciate where some of this stuff comes from and what the artists are trying to achieve? I try. I'm not always successful. Even when I do achieve appreciation, though, there's still a pretty good chance that I won't "like" it. My focus is just too narrow to like much of anything, let alone everything. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

There must be a law somewhere that says you can't mention William Shatner's singing and not give equal air time to Leonard Nimoy's the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins:


Also, there is this, if you just can't get enough of Nimoy & Shatner singing: https://www.amazon.com/Spaced-Out-Leonard-William-Shatner/dp/B0000089JE/

You are welcome!

I'm not sure I get this. I commented No on the last post, for the simple reason that the premise was entirely too narrow and un-nuanced to be meaningful to me.*

I don't like everything.

I don't have A favorite, composer, or performer.

I have many composers, individual pieces and performers that I love. I suppose one might call them joint favorites?

That doesn't seem weird to me. It seems like a reasonable, human and enjoyable way to relate not just to music, but to the world.

For example, I think Tom Waits is a genius, but don't really like listening to him perform his songs. But then Holly Cole, an otherwise perfectly fine jazz singer with her own combo, comes along and treats 15 of his songs to deep, sensuous, gorgeous performances.

But that's just one album; I can't make that my favorite. And then, what is the favorite, song writer or performer?

Where does Laurindo Almeida performing Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, with the MJQ fit? A favorite of mine.

I might even have A favorite theme and variations composition, and performer, Prem Joshua's Raga Taranga. Never heard of it? I find it fabulous.

But that's only one, narrow category. And I have to say I really enjoyed George Lopez' live performance of Bach's Goldberg, in an ex-swimming pool converted into an lovely intimate concert venue. He sounded fine in the deep end, and didn't mumble!

Spice of Life Moose

(That would be the other George Lopez.)

* OK, I get the tongue in cheek aspect, but perhaps not why.

I know this piece is teasing us, but I've never heard anyone say they like "everything" ... lots who say they like "all sorts of stuff" though

good grief that's funny.

And one of my favorites, the LP edition of the "Flying Lizards". Also spoken word set to jazz, Ken Nordine. Sorry, no Lawrence Welk.

Apropos of your blog in general, and this post in particular, way I see it, people fit into several broad categories. (Note: I make no claim this list is exhaustive).

a) The unreflecteds. They like what they like, but never bother to analyze why they like what they like. They do not care about what you like, or whether or not you like what they like. They are -- face it -- dull, but easy to get along with at the casual level.

b) The reserved/measured reflecteds. They can articulate why they like what they like, but are generally reserved about articulating them. They care somewhat about why you like what you like, but not whether or not you like what they like. They are pleasant enough company.

c) The reserved/measured critics. They spend a lot of time analyzing why they like what they like, and like to share that with you, because they are proud and sure of what they like. They care about what you like, but are generally tolerant of why you like what you like, even if what you like is not what they like. They are interesting company.

d) The aggressive, self-anointed connoisseur. They obsessively analyze why they like what they like. They enjoy this analysis as much as, if not more than, the object of their analysis. They care about what you like, but are dismissive of why you like what you like if what they do not like what you like. They will try to convert you, turn you against what you like. They are annoying company.

I say this without a trace of finger-pointing or condescension, because, whereas I see myself as a measured (if not exactly reserved) critic, I am afraid others see me as a notable specimen of the fourth category.

As they said, YMMV!

The tunes linked in this post reminded of the look on my family’s face when I first played them the Frank Zappa tune, Montana. I tried to point out how great the guitar part was but they just said, that was the worst part. I was in high school at the time and had recently heard the song while sitting in my buddy’s basement, cranking his home-made speakers, and exercising a Toker II. Come to think of it, the Toker II may have contributed to my initial appreciation of Frank but I still love some of his stuff which is odd, considering rock “n” roll tobacco isn’t legal in my state. Nostalgia I guess.

I’m gonna buy me a horse
Just about this big
And ride em all along the border line
With a ...pair of Heavy duty...zircon-encrusted tweezers in my hand
Every other wrangler would say, I was mighty grand
By myself...I wouldn’t have no boss
But I'd be raising my lonely, dental floss

Well I might ride along the border
With my tweezers gleaming in the moon-lighty night
And then I, get a cup of coffee, and give my foot a push
Just me and the pygmy pony, over by the dental floss bush

I never thought to go looking for a worst album list. I’m too focused on trying to find the very best. Your mention of a worst list reminded me that I have an old DVD containing the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of Manos: The Hands of Fate which is purported to be one of the worst movies ever made. My reason for this wild diversion is to relate a great MST3K photo related quote about the movie.

"Every frame of this movie looks like someone's last-known photograph".


Pro-tip : you can listen to the normal-speed and quarter-speed versions of MMM simultaneously.
Gives some kind of deeper sound with more staging, but I guess it's actually some king of easy-listening cheat.

Otherwise, I'd just throw in Pavel Haas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8R2p0rG9PI and Glenn Gould (singing) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB76jxBq_gQ : more music to love.

Oh, and I forgot Dälek https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obSq2L9lLEE and some inescapable classic/rock fusion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xriCZzyaC7Q

But Mike I love,I mean ADORE Metal Machine Music.
Have you listened to the orchestral version?
Ulrich Krieger transcribed "Metal Machine Music" for chamber orchestra - The mind boggles to think of writing chamber orchestra sheet music for that.

The full hour and seven minute version performed by ZEITKRATZER
There is a particularly nice piano and cello bit starting at 37 minutes in followed by clarinet and french horn

And here is a trio including Lou and Ulrich Krieger who transcribed it performing an improvisation based on it live - you know that pert that sounds like a saxophone? You should hear what it sounds like on a saxophone!

This is a nice excerpt by the CalArts orchestra
( Oh speaking of Gamelan music and CalArts, my studio at CalArts was just down the hall from two complete gamelan room which owing to gamelan music's intense popularity at the time were booked 24/7. Gamelan is sweaty work apparently , especially if you aren't very skilled yet and subscribe to the "if you can't make it good make it loud" theory, so all the doors were wide open and boy was that ever loud.

BTW the vinyl lp is vastly superior to the CD , I think MMM is probably the worst case scenario for CD audio.

I like just about everything on the list with the possible exception of Celine Dion.

BTW , everyone ought to read Frank Zappa's

    Edgard Varèse: The Idol of My Youth


You missed opportunity to mention Holger Czukay's "Photo Song"

Just brilliant. Still laughing hours later.

Great article Mike! Enough material for the rest of the year or even to start a parallel T.O.M. site.
- Captain Beefheart is one of my heroes. Trout Mask Replica is a record that I play when I want boring visitors to leave.
- I think I am a well trained listener. For example: I can easily tell one classical violinist from the other after I’m familiar with their playing. Also I remember most music after playing it three or for times, but Gamelan music does not stick in my brains even after playing it over and over again. So only one album is enough. Sounds like new every time I play it.
- There is music that I dislike but that I still consider as very good. Charles Ives for example. Cold as ice. But I love the late Mr Trololo Eduard Anatolyevich Khil:


I dunno, the William Hung cover of Achy Breaky Heart is so much more sincere than the Billy Ray Cyrus version, much better in my opinion.

Boy, I hadn't thought of Manos: The Hands of Fate in 40 years. Back then the student film committee booked it, I think it came for free with carnival of souls, and there was this consensus that I was a dead ringer for Togo. Someone put up a sign "I am Torgo. I take care of the place while the master is away."

Oh, and Mike, you really need to make your peace with opera - just saying

Ooh! Piano roll music!

Now, more than ever!!!


William Shatner has more than one album? Good God, I'm uneducated.

Fantastic. Mike at his best!!

In defence of Screaming Lord Sutch: The album was rubbish but the stage show was brilliant.
I went to a show where he was the warm-up act for the Beatles. The highlight was his song "Jack the Ripper" which he acted out with camp drama. The Beatles were a massive disappointment on the night. They did not have any stage act, the just stood like stunned choir boys and, even though I know from the albums that they could sing harmonies, on stage they were boring and the harmonies were dodgy. Luckily they could not be heard after a while as the girls screaming drowned them out.

I often think, in a Douglas Adams way, that I don't like music at all.

There are 600 or 700 CDs sitting on the shelves next to me, and some of them I love more than is reasonable.

But, if you took that number and divided it by the number of albums I absolutely despise or am plain ambivalent to, the result would be so close to zero as to make no difference.

That said, it does amuse me sometimes that I have Fudge Tunnel albums sitting next to Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, or Lynyrd Skynyrd next to Obituary. It's occasionally eclectic, but it's a long way from way everything.

Atonal Music. Wonderful, I am still laughing :-)

People who like everything should be able to survive Adam Neely’s 7 Levels of Jazz:


Are you making fun of William Shatner's singing?

Hmm. After reviewing the comments, I find that most of the musical tastes run to what I'd call "high-tone." Even the rock. I mean, recommended for people with good taste, which leaves a whole world of music out there.


Be aware that the actress in this video is also a porn star, although she remains fully clothed in this music video. Also be aware that once yov've seen it, you can't unsee it. Mildly NSFW.

You have probably seen this already, but just in case you have not,,,,,


This is one of the best renditions of Rocket Man.


[That's actually Bowie's "Space Oddity," but it *is* a wonderful video. --Mike]

Still laughing. May I add (a) Sister Janet Mead's "Lord's Prayer", which I still cannot believe made to to No. 3 on the Australian charts in 1973, and (b) John Cage's 4'33'', being his 1952 experimental three-movement composition for any instrument or instruments, and consisting of whatever background noise is to be heard for the entire four minutes and thirty-three second duration of all three movements, as the score instructs the performers not to play their instrument/s for the entire piece?

Wow, Leonard Nimoy and the Shaggs have both been mentioned already! I used to own a copy of Metal Machine Music...it was the best for clearing a dorm room of people in record time.

A very entertaining post.

Just this week I went (on purpose) to a concert of Cage’s Sonatas for prepared piano and greatly enjoyed the evening. I saw him perform with Merce Cunningham in 1969 and it changed the course of my life.

And I have to concur with an earlier comment. The performance of “One Toke Over The Line” is the most hysterically funny moment of the Lawrence Welk Show. They introduced it as a new gospel song.


Not Kenny G please (and that is a real please.) And do not get me started on country. There are 5 country songs with 700 different lyrics. Trust me on this.

"Next up on our concert tour—Teletubbies!!"

A Teletubbies mash-up with music by Joy Division is one of the most otherworldly, mesmerizing, dream-like experiences one can have without psychedelic drugs. With almost 4 million views on YouTube:



Back in the nineties I spent months searching for a vinyl copy of Metal Machine Music - I had to complete my Lou Reed collection. I never did make it through one side of it.

Three responses:

1) Soeme people are astonishingly narrow in their music interests. Saying "I like everything" is usually a response to them saying "I like x"--which is sort of like announcing they are narrow-minded. The only polite response is to wave the required response away with a kind "I like everything."

2). You could apply your method to any sub-part of music: "I like rock." You do? (Followed by a whole list of weird and odd rock albums). You can just name one musician and then apply the method to just that musician's work.maybe even apply it to a single song? You do? An then critique every *note.*

3) Oh, Shatner! I used to not "get" Shatner's appeal but I think I do. He walks this fine line between seeming to be serious and maybe seeming to be funny. His singing and with his acting. He's *Shatner* and his legacy will outlive us all.

Just for the record, I like all the songs on the white album.

(Also for the record, the real name of the white album is "The Beatles")

Loved the Atonal Music. You need to be slightly familiar with John Cage's music, or lack of it, to get the joke there. Well done!

Gee, now that you mentioned it I guess I don't like anything! I'm shattered, shattered...

In small doses even bad music has the power to transform loneliness into solitude.
In my salad days I was a regular prowler of cut out bins. Hard to believe but even Harry Partch and Enoch Light can take you out of yourself for a few minutes. I'm not sure if that's genius or just misery loving company but it worked for me.

You've name-checked almost all of my heroes. You forgot Conlon Nancarrow.


How about The Highway Code sung by a choir?
It was recorded in the '60s in the style of (I think) a monastic chant.


Jacques Loussier is simply a pleasure. No need for guilt.

"Everything". of course, has to be understood in the context of Sturgeon's law.

And I'm surprised that there's no mention of Schwitter's Ursonate.
This is one of the better performances:

Trailer for the Jandek on Corwood doc: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n-taad7jms

Tough to argue against the case you made :-).

But I'm opposite of the person who likes everything: I only like Nick Drake, more or less, and only one of his three albums: Pink Moon. I keep saying to myself, "what else is there?"

Uh oh. I actually like a bunch of these! (Curious if you would be fine with Zorn's ensemblle named Masada...) A few more to try: Melt Banana's album "Scratch Or Stitch?" It goes by quickly. Tony Conrad's "Early Minimalism I?" Put the needle down wherever you like! And what? No Royal Trux?!? And also Laurie Anderson's opening track to "Big Science" is perfect for our times. Today is all about De-evolution, predicted years ago by those guys from Akron, OH.

Sorry, my 90s closeted avant/noise/experimental/spaz/eclectic music listener just got drawn out by this post. Created a bit of nostalgia for the "post fideliity" loves of my youth.

[I loved Big Science and I've heard a lot of Masada. Don't know the others but could be I've heard them. --Mike]

OMG! It's The Stuffed Owl of music, not just of the classics, but truly wide ranging. Mike, you must like everything.

So Mike,

I like all kinds of photography


Oh, Mike - you've outdone yourself. There is a name for this type of humor where you just keep going and going and going - way, way past. It's awesome. I loved the post and the pointers. Some of the comments for those YouTube videos were nearly as funny. Can't remember which one had the comment: "I see no reason this shouldn't be our national anthem" - made me laugh out loud. Made my afternoon - thanks.

Liking or disliking a particular piece of music can also be affected by location and context. Anyone who had had young children or grandchildren who continually plays what is often a simple, generally pleasant and inoffensive song can be driven to anger. Shortly after it was revealed, a few years ago, that the CIA found music by Barney the purple dinosaur, from the children’s TV show “Barney & Friends” was as effective for torture as ‘death metal’ music, I had a visit to a Disney park and developed a similar feeling for what is normally considered to be inoffensive Disney music which was piped to every corner of the park. There was nowhere you could find to escape it, to get a few minutes peace and quiet.

Hi Mike,
One last thought, that occurred to me at 1am, after settling our toddler.
You’ve inadvertently overlooked a whole pantheon of music, that some would say embodies your point.

Therefore, I’ll see your entire post, and raise it, with a single word...


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