I'd been working on the same product at Microsoft for four years, and it had come time to change the scenery. My team was migrating from Media Center to work on this new music project called Zune. A friend of mine, Ian, was already over there, and was able to give me some preliminary info on what it was all about. Sometime before I'd made the switch Jessica and I were going on a trip (to San Francisco, I think) and Ian lent Jessica his Zune device for the duration.
Preloaded on the device was a number of surprisingly decent tracks. One of which was "The Mating Game" by Bitter Sweet. There was a big full sound to the band that reminded me of Supreme Beings of Leisure. So naturally I liked them immediately.
If "The Mating Game" was the entry point, "Overdue" quickly became the favorite. I love the stilted groove of that song. It hits so raw and hard with this odd collection of sounds that don't really map to instruments in my head. It's then swapped out for this super relaxed MMW-esque organ groove and excellent silky vocals. But it keeps coming back to that sublime groove. Love it.
However if we're picking the song based on sheer number of memory connections then it has to be "Dirty Laundry". One of the cooler things they did at Zune was commission these animated music videos to represent the brand. I don't think it did much good, but the videos were pretty consistently awesome. The one for this song, titled "Moodbot", was no exception.
I also remember recommending the album to a friend who ended up putting together a brilliant burlesque number to it. So I have not one but two visual aids for this song, one with robots and one with explosions of glitter.
And now I'm realizing that we're starting catching up to reality. Because around a year after this point I went to see a Bitter Sweet show and blogged about it here.
We'd already been listening to Portishead for awhile, but there was a bit of a rebirth of Portishead around this time. And none of it more than this song.
Damn this song is sexy. It crawls, it bumps, it slides. But I'm amazed at how this live recording manages to carry more weight than the album recording. I guess that's what happens when you bring a 35-piece orchestra to your live show.
My cousin Kelly got married some years before this. Halfway into their traditional first dance she and the groom broke into a surprise swing routine. It was highly entertaining, and provided the inspiration I needed to finally cave into Jessica and get some dance lessons.
So some time after that Jessica and I started partner dancing together. And then some time into that we started trying out west coast swing. It was at that point that we truly discovered the song that is "Brick House".
It's so perfect for a laid back sloppy west coast. It is impossible for this song to come on and for Jessica and I to not to dance to it. I couldn't even count how many times we've danced to this song, yet it's still awesome. It's a staple at most weddings, and there's a reason.
I've already mentioned here all sorts of music and rhythm games. Singing to Karaoke Revolution; drumming to Donkey Konga, and strumming to Guitar Hero. I even once threw a party where we had all of the above available at the same time. Thankfully someone else thought this was just as awesome as I did, because Rock Band was released and made the world a better place.
While working on Zune my team played plenty of Guitar Hero during breaks. When Rock Band came out we got a full kit for the office and kept the tradition going. The addition of drums was the newest most exciting element since they were obviously many steps above the crude bongo drums of Donkey Konga. A couple times before I had sat down in front of a real drum kit and felt immediately lost. But making a game out of it enabled me to grasp the basics.
Once I grasped the core it was possible to really feel the difference in performing various beats. This song became an absolute favorite, and one where people would fight over who got to play the drum part. It's exactly the sort of song I never would have a relationship with if not for Rock Band. It's total pop fluff, but I've had so much fun playing the song (all parts of it, even) that I unquestioningly turn up the radio when it comes along.