NPR logo The Day In Songs

The Day In Songs

I'll be the first to admit that I don't usually listen to music all day. Sometimes it's hours before I'll put a record on, fire up the radio or open my iTunes and make a selection. Often, it's not until I get in my car that music first reaches my ears — and even then, it's sometimes talk radio. Truth be told, entire days go by without me hearing an entire song. Those, I've realized, are sad days indeed.

Yesterday, however, I thought I'd try to determine what the day in songs would sound like. I put on music intermittently throughout the day, from morning until night, each song providing the soundtrack to my various quotidian tasks. Here's how it all went down:

First thing in the morning: Magnetic Fields, "You Must Be Out Of Your Mind."

Maybe not the best message with which to greet my day, but here's something important to remember: Songs are not written about you. Plus, the tune is catchy, I always sing along and it never fails to make me laugh. I think I need something semi-sweet in the early hours of the day — nothing too gentle or cloying, but I don't want anything jarring either.

Post-breakfast, second cup of coffee: The Bats, "Calm Before The Storm."

So I went from a song about a nut job to one about an emotional respite before everything falls apart. Apparently, I see each day as a personal Armageddon waiting to happen.

Writing, procrastinating: Alice Cooper, "Public Animal No. 9"

This one was a distraction. It derailed my work and sent me over to YouTube.

First car ride of the day: Joan Jett, "Do You Wanna Touch?"

Ever since seeing The Runaways movie, I've been listening to a lot of Joan Jett. (Okay, I've also been spending time at Cherie Currie's chainsaw-carving Web site. Best quotes from the site include:

"When I look at a piece of wood — a log — I see an image. A mermaid, a bear, a dolphin."

"I don't recommend you go running out and buying a chainsaw to try this yourself."

"Notice the bandannas on my ankles? No, I'm not a gang member! I use them to keep the sawdust out of my boots."


If I'm near Chatsworth, Calif., this summer, I want to commission Cherie to sculpt my dog out of wood. Will he be reading a Bible? Totally up to her.

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, Joan Jett:

Back to work, mid-afternoon: Love, "Bummer In The Summer"

Another upbeat song that belies the fact that the subject matter is kind of a drag. But I'm realizing that if I have music on in the background, I'm not really listening to lyrics. Instead, the songs are providing the momentum. Everything today has been medium to fast tempo.

Making dinner: Neil Diamond, "Sweet Caroline"

Once you start listening to Neil Diamond, it's hard to stop. Also, I need to class up the music to compensate for what will likely be bland food. And, well, this guy is pretty classy:

Last song of the day: Todd Rundgren, "I Saw The Light"

I don't know what my problem is; this is the song that should have started my day.

What would your day sound like in songs? Please share in the comments section.