Aural Euphoria




November 21, 2022

These are the liner notes for the Aural Euphoria playlist. I put this playlist together for my students, advisees, and colleagues who were all, to paraphrase Emo Philips, “born at a less comfortable distance from the apocalypse.” This playlist is composed of a sample of songs that were a part of my musical education. It is by no means exhaustive, and I am sure I have omitted songs that should be here.

You should be able to find these gems on most music services, but there may be some that are lacking. I know that Garth Brooks is not available on Spotify.

The Early Years (Record 1 – Side A)

As with any musical education, the artists and songs that resonated with me early on were a function of what my parents (especially my dad) listened to. This consisted of old country music, early R&B, folk, and a lot of Elvis. My sister and I were weaned on the old 45s of Sam Cooke and Elvis. We also were exposed to a lot of old country music, learning songs by Tammy Wynette, Hank Snow, Charlie Pride, and Tom T. Hall, to name a few. But, by far and away, the two groups we heard the most of were Peter, Paul, & Mary (my first concert at the ripe old age of three) and The Statkler Brothers (still might be my favorite band).

  • Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke; 1962)
  • I Like Beer (Tom T. Hall; 1975)
  • (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear (Elvis Presley; 1957)
  • Puff the Magic Dragon (Peter, Paul, & Mary; 1963)
  • Thank You World (The Statler Brothers; 1974)
  • Tijuana Jail (Kingston Trio; 1959)
  • I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever) (Stevie Wonder; 1972)
  • Tiny Dancer (Elton John; 1971)

Honorable Mention

  • Elvira (Oak Ridge Boys; 1981)
  • The Gambler (Kenny Rogers; 1978)
  • Kiss An Angel Good Morning (Charlie Pride)
  • Could I Have This Dance (Anne Murray; 1980)
  • House At Pooh Corner (Loggins & Messina; 1974)
  • The Mosquito Song (Douglas Wood; 1980)
  • Grandma’s Feather Bed (Live) (John Denver; 1975)
  • Mr. Tambourine Man (The Byrds; 1969)

Junior High (Record 1 – Side B)

As a bonafide product of Gen-X, I have a soft spot for early 80’s music. This was the era where I got my first cassette tape (Weird Al Yankovic’s Dare To Be Stupid) and started to listen to things my parents didn’t approve of. I think I wore out several of these early cassettes, rewinding to replay a loved song over and over. Some of my favorites were Culture CLub’s Colour By Numbers, Prince’s 1999, the Crüe’s Theatre of Pain, The Boss’ Born In The U.S.A., and of course, Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

  • That’s The Way (I’m Only Trying to Help You) (Culture Club; 1983)
  • Beat It (Michael Jackson; 1982)
  • Glory Days (Bruce Springsteen; 1984)
  • Little Red Corvette (Prince; 1982)
  • Smokin’ In The Boys Room (Mötley Crüe; 1985)
  • Glory of Love (Peter Cetera; 1986)

Honorable Mention

  • Only You (Yazoo; 1982)
  • Foolish Beat (Debbie Gibson; 1987)
  • Manic Monday (The Bangles; 1986)
  • Cum On Feel The Noize (Quiet Riot; 1983)
  • I Wanna Rock (Twisted Sister; 1984)
  • We’ve Got Tonight (Kenny Rogers; 1983)
  • Next Time I Fall In Love (Peter Cetera & Amy Grant; 1986)

High School (Record 2 – Side A)

The music I listened to in high school was far more heterogeneous and eclectic. Around this time is when rap and hip-hop started to trickle into my reportoire. Hair bands, synth pop, and early 90’s country music dominated the radio, and what kind of teen would I be without a high dosage of emo?

  • O.P.P. (Naughty By Nature; 1991)
  • Friends In Low Places (Garth Brooks; 1990) – Needs to have the extended verse
  • Patience (Guns N’ Roses; 1988)
  • Misguided Angel (Cowboy Junkies; 1988)
  • It’s Tricky (Run-D.M.C.; 1986)
  • The Promise (When In Rome; 1988)
  • Friday I’m In Love (The Cure; 1992)
  • King of Wishful Thinking (Go West; 1990)
  • Bed Of Roses (Bon Jovi; 1992)
  • Good Old Acappella (The Nylons; 1991)

Honorable Mention

  • Going Back To Cali (LL Cool J; 1989)
  • Every Rose Has Its Thorn (Poison; 1988)
  • Walking In Memphis (Marc Cohn; 1991)
  • Wipeout (The Fat Boys; 1987)
  • If I Had A Boat (Lyle Lovett; 1988)
  • It Takes Two (Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock; 1988)
  • The Dance (Garth Brooks; 1990)
  • Blame It On The Rain (Milli Vanilli; 1989)
  • Angel From Montgomery (John Prine & Bonnie Raitt; 1990)
  • Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A.; 1988)

The College Years (Record 2 – Side B)

College was a time of continued growth and and finding “new” music. During this time I also worked at The Electric Fetus in St. Cloud, and was exposed to all sorts of different artists. Grunge, a lot of indie artists, female bands, and Brit rock dominated the scene in this era.

  • Yellow Ledbetter (Pearl Jam; 1991)
  • Fade Into You (Mazzy Star; 1993)
  • Hook (Blues Traveler; 1994)
  • Common People (Pulp; 1995)
  • Hobart Paving (Saint Etienne; 1993)
  • Black Gold (Soul Asylum; 1992)
  • It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) (R.E.M.; 1987)
  • I’m On My Way (Proclaimers; 1988)
  • She Don’t Use Jelly (The Flaming Lips; 1993)

Honorable Mention

  • Stay (Shakespeare’s Sister; 1992)
  • Rooster (Alice In Chains; 1992)
  • Bizarre Love Triangle (New Order; 1986)
  • Foolish Games (Jewel; 1995)
  • She’s Electric (Oasis; 1995)
  • Go West (Pet Shop Boys; 1993)
  • Say It Ain’t So (Weezer; 1994)
  • Independence Day (Martina McBride; 1993)
  • Feed The Tree (Belly; 1993)
  • Spin The Bottle (The Juliana Hatfield Three; 1993)

Teaching High School (Record 3 – Side A)

I taught high school math from 1998–2002. During this time period, I listened to a lot of soft rock (think Matchbox 20), harmonic female country acts, and dance oriented pop and hip-hop. I also got into U2 during this time for some reason. On the radio, teen pop got big.

  • You Were Mine (Dixie Chicks; 1998)
  • Because I Got High (Afroman; 2001)
  • Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely (Backstreet Boys; 1999)
  • I Want You To Want Me (Letters To Cleo; 1999)
  • Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of (U2; 2000)
  • Ride Wit Me (Nelly; 2000)
  • No Frontiers (The Corrs; 1999)
  • My Baby (Lil’ Romeo; 2001)
  • The Bad Touch (Bloodhound Gang; 1999)

Honorable Mention

  • Lucky 4 You (Tonight I’m Just Me) (SHeDaAISY; 1999)
  • MMMBop (Hanson; 1997)
  • Never Ever (All Saints; 1997)
  • Power of Goodbye (Madonna; 1998)
  • What’s Your Fantasy (Ludacris feat. Shawna; 2000)
  • Jump Jive An’ Wail (The Brian Setzer Orchestra; 1998)
  • Hard Knock Life (JAY-Z; 1998)
  • Sk8er Boi (Avril Lavigne; 2002)

Graduate School (Record 3 – Side B)

Moving to the Twin Cities for graduate school, I went to a lot of live music (back when a cover charge to most shows was $5). As such, I got into a lot more indie and alt-country music (although I still don’t like Wilco). I also started listening to a lot more 70’s era rock.

  • My Generation (Part 2) (Todd Snider; 1994)
  • Fields Of Gold (Eva Cassidy; 1998)
  • Never Going Back Again (Fleetwood Mac; 1977)
  • I’ll Be Damned (Slobberbone; 1997)
  • Baby One More Time (Travis; 1999)
  • Say Yes (Elliott Smith; 1997)
  • Amie (Damien Rice; 2003)
  • Read ’Em And Weep (Junior Brown; 1998)
  • Round And Round (Bob Schneider; 2002)
  • The Cover Of “Rolling Stone” (Dr. Hook; 1972)

Honorable Mention

  • One Toke Over The Line (Brewer & Shipley; 1970)
  • Fuck Her Gently (Tenacious D; 2001)
  • All I Know (Art Garfunkel; 1973)
  • Piss Up A Rope (Ween; 1996)
  • Shooting Star (Bad Company; 1975)
  • Everything Sux (Descendents; 1996)

Teaching at UMN (Record 4 – Side A)

The music that has been with me since I started my career at the University of Minnesota is more of the same genres that have been with me earlier. As I age, I definitely prefer songs and artists that are more melodic (no autotune!). I also have a penchant for more acoustic versions of songs.

  • Teach Your Children (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; 1970)
  • Denzel (Stephen Lynch; 2019)
  • Ripple (Grateful Dead; 1970)
  • Sin City (The Flying Burrito Brothers; 1969)
  • Let’s Duet (John C. Reilly & Angela Correa; 2007)
  • The Aeroplane (Tim Minchin feat. Asmara Feik; 2023)
  • Emmylou (First Aid Kit; 2014)
  • Challengers (The New Pornographers; 2007)
  • Piece of Clay (Marvin Gaye; 1972)
  • Where The Night Goes (Josh Ritter; 2015)

Honorable Mention

  • Shambala (Three Dog Night; 1973)
  • Lullaby (Josh Groban & Ladysmith Black Mambazo; 2006)
  • Strike The Bell (The Fisherman’s Friends; 2018)
  • Million Dollar Secret (Lucius; 2018)
  • Time To Move On (Hi Ho Silver Oh; 2011)
  • Fuck All The Perfect People (Chip Taylor & The New Ukranians; 2012)
  • Every Feeling (Ezra Furman; 2020)
  • I Will Talk And Hollywood Will Listen (Robbie Williams; 2001)
  • Betty (Taylor Swift; 2020)
  • Gonna Make You Happy Tonight (Tripod; 2006)
  • Crowded Table (The Highwomen; 2019)
  • Sweet Baby James (Steep Canyon Rangers; 2020)
  • Fields Of Athenry (The High Kings; 2010)
  • Dancing On My Own (Robyn; 2010)

A Love Letter To Minnesota Artists (Bonus Content)

These are some of my favorite songs from the bands that have called Minnesota home.

  • The Arms Of Orion (Prince; 1989)
  • Surfin’ Bird (The Trashmen; 1963)
  • Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely (Hüsker Dü; 1986)
  • Cartoon (Soul Asylum; 1988)
  • Stupid Boy (Gear Daddies; 1990)
  • Is There Rock ‘N’ Roll In Heaven? (Slave Raider; 1988)
  • Blue (The Jayhawks; 1995)
  • Love Untold (Paul Westerberg; 1996)
  • What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy) (Information Society; 1988)
  • Funkytown (Lipps Inc.; 1979)
  • Toolmaster of Brainerd (Trip Shakespeare; 1989)
  • DUI (Har Mar Superstar; 2004)
  • Love Is The Law (Suburbs; 1984)
  • (I Wanna Drive The) Zamboni (Gear Daddies; 1990)
  • Can’t Hardly Wait (The Replacements; 1987)
  • Bruise Violet (Babes in Toyland; 1992)
  • Until You Came Along (Golden Smog; 1998)
  • Closing Time (Semisonic; 1998)