Monday, May 2, 2011

What’s On Your iPod?

by Suzie Johnson
 I know not everyone has an iPod. I don’t. But I thought it sounded much better than, “What’s on your iPod, CD player, cell phone, or other listening device?”

All of my music is on a tiny micro SD card and I use my old cell phone as a listening device. While it doesn’t work as a phone any longer, it’s great for music and hooks right into my car stereo. The micro card also fits into the smallest thumb drive I’ve ever seen. It holds so much music, I’m able to pop it into my computer at work and never listen to the same song twice. It’s the perfect way for me to keep stress-free and stay in touch spiritually while I work. I do, however, use headphones while I’m at work so I don’t disturb my co-workers.

Headphones have another purpose: to keep them from hearing my varied collection of music and wondering what it says about me. I’ve heard it said that you can tell what a person is like by the music they listen to. If that's true and someone happened to come across my memory card, what would they learn about me?

The first most important thing I hope they would see is that I love to sing praise and worship songs to my Lord. I’d say more than 80% of my music is Christian praise and worship music, from Audio Adrenaline, Chris Tomlin, Sanctus Real, Switchfoot and everyone in-between.

Next, they’d find a very odd assortment of secular music. Fats Domino, Bette Midler, Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles and Rod Stewart, and many others in-between. But does that really tell people who I am? I’m not so sure it does. They might think I’m a little old-fashioned. Maybe I am. But being old-fashioned isn’t the reason I listen to Roger Miller or the Everly Brothers.

It’s because of my dad. He loves music and instilled that same love in me at a very young age. I’d be willing to bet he has every record recorded in the 40s, 50s and early 60s. My dad put all of his records on reel-to-reel tapes, and it was rare for there not to be any music playing at our house. It was also rare for a day to go by where he wasn’t dancing around the house. His favorites – Marty Robbins, Roger Miller, and the Everly Brothers. I am, in fact, named for an Everly Brothers’ song. I’m sure you won’t have to think very long to figure out which one.

Some of the songs take me back to those wacky fun days of my childhood. Others remind me of when my husband and I were dating. We used to go on long drives, and his favorite cassette tapes were John Denver, Jimmy Buffett, and Gordon Lightfoot. Some of the other music is reminiscent of summer days during junior high and high school. Sheryl Crow reminds me of how good I feel when the sun is shining.

None of these are things you could tell about me from the type of music I listen to, so I have to disagree that you can tell what a person is like by the music they listen to. I asked my fellow Inkies what they listen to, and I was so happy to learn they are just as varied in their music tastes as I am.

What the Inkies are listening to...
Barb: Classical Music to Read By
Jennifer: Newsboys, Weird Al, Glee, Meatloaf, Amy Grant, 80s music, and movie soundtracks.
Lisa: a bit of everything, including books on tape
Gina: Toby Mac, David Crowder Band, Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, Glee, and various praise and worship songs
Dina: Red, Flyleaf, Barlow Girl, Evanescense, U2, Skillet, Switchfoot, Jars of Clay and Kari Jobe
Deb: a variety from the 70s up, and a playlist just for instrumentals and movie soundtracks
Susanne: Jeremy Camp, Needtobreathe, Tenth Avenue North, Jars of Clay, and Toby Mac; banjo bluegrass, Glee, Mutemath, Temper Trap, Florence + the Machine, and New Order
Niki: Joan Jett, Carrie Underwood, the Beatles, Metallica, Hillsong, Skillet, Barlow Girl, Audio Adrenaline, the Twilight soundtrack, Motley Crue, Duran Duran, CCR, Pink, UT, Black Eyed Peas, Classical, and “Spa” music
C.J.: Classical - Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi, Horst, the soundtrack to Henry V

Two of the Inkies have artists on their list I’ve never heard of. But there are probably artists on my list they've never heard of. We won't talk about age differences as the reason.

Are there any songs you’d be embarrassed to have people know you like to listen to? I do, and they’re deliberately not on my SD card lest someone find out. I only listen to them in my house when my door is locked and my husband is not at home. They instantly take me back to my pre-teen days. ‘nuff said.

Is there any one song you wish you could download but can’t find anywhere? Mine is Chantilly Lace by the Big Bopper.

The strangest song I have is Chug-A-Lug by Roger Miller, and it might just be the catchiest tune, although Okie From Muskogee by Merle Haggard is another foot-tapping song that's hard to get out of your head once you've heard it.

The music that makes me the happiest are songs that speak directly about Jesus. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to, I’d say Hallelujah Jesus by Monk and Neagle.

What about you? What’s on your Ipod? What’s your favorite? What’s the strangest? Which one makes you the happiest? Do you have one you’d be embarrassed to have someone else hear?

Suzie Johnson has won several awards for her inspirational novels (writing as Susan Diane Johnson), including the Maggie, Lone Star, Heart of the West, and Beacon awards, as well as finaling in the Touched by Love, Finally A Bride, Linda Howard Award for Excellence, and Virginia Fools For Love contests. She is a member of ACFW, RWA, and is a cancer registrar at her local hospital. The mother of a wonderful young man who makes her proud every day, she lives with her husband and little kitten on an island in the Pacific Northwest. And although the beaches are rocky instead of sandy, lined with Madronas and Evergreens instead of Palm trees, and the surf is much to cold for wading, it is still the perfect spot for writing romantic fiction. You can visit her blog, Suzie's Writing Place at


  1. I really do have a bit of everything, from Big Band swing, to Showtunes, R&B, Rap, Country, and of course Christian music that runs the gamut from MercyMe to gospel choirs. I love it all. I also have a bunch of movie soundtracks that I listen to when I'm writing. It helps establish a mood, and triggers my creative juices, since it's become an auditory signal to my brain that it's time to write.

    Oh, and I download books on tape that I listen to when I grocery shop.

  2. Okay, since we're talking about being embarrassed, I listen to the disc of the songs I wrote a lot. But I didn't arrange or perform them, so I guess I'm not too pathetic. The musicians did a really great job and it's so fun to hear my ideas brought to life.

  3. What a fun post! I have a lot of variety but ruling the roost is jazz. At the moment I'm into treme but its usually trad jazz. Thanks to the popular HBO tv show, Treme, there's a lot more available downloads but still - iTunes is missing out on a lot of great New Orleans talent.

    I have more podcast sermons and Christian audio books on my iPod than worship music - but my worship playlists grow steadily each month!

  4. Thanks, Bex! Have you heard of Pastor Greg Laurie? I podcast his sermons. I just love him. He's very inspiring.

  5. Dina, listening to your own creations is not pathetic at all. I think its wonderful and inspiring. And yes, fun,too.

  6. Lisa, I find that when I'm writing, I listen to a certain type of music over and over depending on what I'm writing. Here's a super embarrassing one: for my second historical novel, whenever I was writing my hero's viewpoint scenes, I listened to Billy Ray Cyrus. Something about his songs really set the mood in my psyche for writing that particular hero.

    Books on tape while grocery shopping? Love it! That is so unique.

  7. Oh, Dina, I meant to say that I truly admire that you write songs. And I do think having someone record them, then listening to them is probably a great way to be inspired to write even more music. You are so inspiring to me, Dina.

  8. I love audio books. I just wish they weren't so expensive!

    Suzie, my husband grew up listening to Roger Miller. He knows all the words to Chug-A-Lug. Did Miller also sing something about "you can't roller skate in a buffalo herd"?

    Besides the Beatles, Beach Boys, John Denver and Peter, Paul, and Mary, my childhood was inundated with the soundtracks from musicals: Cabaret, My Fair Lady, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Paint Your Wagon and Fiddler on the Roof, to name a few. Eventually I'll put those tunes on my iPod.

  9. I have to tell you, my dad's love for music was also passed on to my son, who is so incredibly talented. He can play anything he hears. He has perfect pitch. Tomorrow night he's playing his own show in Indianapolis. I'm so excited for him and so proud. I wish I could be there to hear his performance.

  10. Suzie, it seems my eight-year-old son has inherited whatever music writing gene I have time about 50. I have a video of one of his compositions on facebook right now. So, my house is currently a constant serenade and his music has more of a classical sound.

  11. Suzie, I do the same thing with picking a song/artist/composer to fit what I'm writing. When I wrote my book set in the early 1600's, I listened to the Henry V soundtrack over and over. Very dramatic and medieval feel. For my Regencies, lots of Beethoven with a little Vaughn Williams thrown in.

    I'm now plotting a book set in mid-1800's America. Going to have to think about that one.

  12. Dina, isn't it so wonderful to see that love and talent growing in your children? It just makes my heart so full.

  13. Niki, I love the My Fairy Lady soundtrack. When my son was five and my niece was three, my sister was getting married. We were at breakfast with our family and her fiancé's family and Kirk and Tiffany serenaded them in the restaurant with "I'm getting married in the morning." It was priceless.

    If your husband remembers "buffalo herd" he probably remembers "dang me" and "mama tried" and all sorts of other fun ones.

  14. CJ, I'm glad I'm not the only one who does that. My family thinks I'm crazy. I am positive you'll find just the right music. I don't think you can say, "hey, I think I'll write to this one." I think it just sort of hits you while you're plotting the book. I wrote my second contemporary to Billy Joel.

  15. I've found some freebie audio books online - mostly classics, Niki. And I can get them through my library.

    The problem with the IPod is singing out loud with the music when no one else can hear the music. I swear I sound like Gladys Knight, but I see a lot of eye-rolling going on around here...

    Currently listening to the end of Jane Eyre today. Thanks Suzie!

    oh- I love musicals as well. I bought a bunch for my mother but I've never put them on my Itunes. Good idea!

  16. Good morning, Deb. I sing a lot (never at work-but at home and in my car), and sometimes I forget I'm not alone and do imagine I sound like Bette Midler, until hubby snaps me back to reality when he says, "Will you quit singing? You're scaring the cat." Sometimes it's quite embarrassing.

  17. All of these singing comments are cracking me up! My 4 year old was stung by a bee last weekend and I was holding him and singing a quiet little song. He said, "Mom, will you stop singing. It's making my bite hurt worser." Ha!

  18. Niki, you're right about how expensive audiobooks are. I'll let you in on a secret. I borrow them from the library and download them to itunes. Once I listen to them I delete them. I figure the one time use rule is still in effect I just transfer it to the format that is easiest for me, and then I don't have to worry about late fees.

    Suzie, my stories all have their own soundtrack. Chasing Lady Liberty was an amalgam of Indiana Jones, Night in the Museum, Chronicles of Narnia and a couple others. The Peacock Throne was Pirates of the Caribbean and Prince Caspian.

  19. Bex, LOL! Your poor kiddo. ;-)

    I was really embarrassed last winter. I had to have my vocal cords scoped, and while one doc was holding the scope, one was looking at the monitor, and one was watching me for vitals all standing less than three inches from me, they wanted to trick my vocal cords into moving, so they asked me to sing. It was less than pleasant and I don't care if I ever see any of them again.

  20. Lisa, that gives me a new understanding for your wonderful books! :-) Is "This is Home" by Switchfoot from Prince Caspian? That's one of my favs.

  21. Fun post, Suzie! Now I'm singing Switchfoot "This is Home."

    Oh, I have so many songs I'd be embarrassed to share! I am not ashamed to broadcast that I love "September" by Earth Wind & Fire, however, and it's on my Ipod. It makes me happy!

    So does the Sound of Music soundtrack. But it's not in my Ipod.

    Thanks, Suzie!

  22. Susie, I love "This is Home" so much, I have it as my ringtone.

    You and Lisa mentioning soundtracks today reminded me of two of my favorite soundtracks from when I was a kid: Mary Poppins, and The Wizard of Oz.

  23. Susie- Septemba!! love it.

    THis is the second time today I've heard about the Henry V soundtrack. Because I have a Pandora account for writing I get introduced to a lot of amazing movie scores.

    Hi Bex! It's always great to see you. Sorry about the no-confidence vote from your son.

    Suzie, I had the Mary Poppins soundtrack album as a child.

    We have some very eclectic tastes...

  24. Yes, Deb, we do have eclectic tastes - and I'm glad, because before you all sent me your answers, I worried there was something wrong with me. LOL. Maybe there still is, but don't tell me, okay?

  25. I was just thinking the other day how one of my favorite childhood memories was listening to The Everley Brothers in the car with my Aunt..I still have the cassette you gave me too :)

  26. Oh, Tiff! One of your favorite memories, really? You've brought tears to my eyes, sweetie. I'm so honored to be part of one of your favorite memories. And I'm glad you still have that tape. But do you have something to play it in? I have so many cassettes and nothing to play them in. LOL.


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