dTunes Editor’s Week Day 10: Ashley Davis

[dTunes is a community organized blog showcasing the musical tastes of Destructoid’s users. For two weeks, the editorial team is commandeering the series because, hey, we like music too. To further expand your horizons, make sure to check out the dTunes blog.]

Alright, it’s finally my turn!

Music has always been a part of my life. Back in the 80s, MTV was one of the only pay channels on cable my mother bothered to put money down for. Many of my earliest memories include watching music videos, listening to the radio, and learning to recite the lyrics of the songs on a Black Crowes tape that played infinitely in the car.

Due to my upbringing, I grew to love music very much. So much that I can’t say there’s any type or genre that I absolutely hate. My tastes are wildly varied and sometimes pretty strange, and that made it pretty difficult to pick a small number of songs to show off my tastes here. I finally got it down to 12, but I can cut down my list no further. Phew.

Hit the jump for musical goodness, or at least sound waves that my brain happens to translate into musical goodness.

Grass Land 1 (Kirby’s Dreamland 3) – Jun Ishikawa

Initially, I wanted to make my dTunes nothing but videogame music. I’m one of those weird people who really digs listening to the stuff, even outside of playing games. Its pretty much all I listen to in fact. But I wanted to offer a wider scope of my musical tastes, so I did my best to limit it to one VGM entry that would kind of say it all for me.

If it comes from a Kirby game, I love it. The songs are so intricately weaved together, but still so simple and fun. It perfectly encapsulates the visuals and gameplay of the series. I even like the drastically remixed soundtrack to Canvas Curse, which many fans of Kirby kinda hate. The first stage of Kirby’s Dreamland 3 will always be my favorite, though.


Dandelion – RIP SLYME

I wish I could go into a long dissertation on what this song is and why I enjoy listening to it, but I can’t. All I can say is that RIP SLYME is a Japanese hip hop group, and that my reason for loving this song of theirs is just because it makes me happy. I love the incorporation of acoustic guitars and claps. I love that a rap can be so full of joy. I love!


Li’l Red Riding Hood – Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs

Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs are most well known for the hit song Wooly Bully, but it’s this little number that I’m really crazy for.

I tend to like what sounds good (for lack of a better way to describe it), but another factor I use in deciding my favorite songs is the imagery they conjure up in my mind when I hear them. This song helps me to create one of my favorite mental images ever: a Tex Avery-esque wolf in sheep’s clothing slinking alongside Little Red Riding Hood, tricking her into letting him join in on her walk through the woods.


She is Staggering – Polaris

In addition to being a great television show (my favorite, in fact), The Adventures of Pete and Pete managed to get some really great musical acts to lend their talents to the show. The biggest musical contributor was Polaris, aka Miracle Legion. They have a 12 song album of nothing but Pete and Pete songs.

An instrumental version of this song was often used in the show and during credit sequences. Its sound evokes memories of bus rides, fall leaves, and other things I may or may not have mixed up from the show into my own life (like sticking presidents up my nose). Miracle Legion has a way of making their guitars have an almost dreamlike quality to them that I just love. They’re all echo-y and stuff. It’s hard to explain. This, in addition to legitimately enjoying TV theme songs (The Odd Couple, Newhart, Taxi and Night Court being my favorites), is why I’m not a music expert.


City Hall – Tenacious D

I always love to laugh, even when I’m listening to music. That’s where Tenacious D comes in.

I know a lot of people can’t stand Jack Black or even the D these days, and I can understand that. They’ve gone a bit downhill over the past few years, or so I hear; I’m too scared to watch The Pick of Destiny and have my view of them ruined forever. But back when he and Kyle came fresh off of their HBO show, I absolutely loved the sound of their music (especially how all their songs were like two or three different songs smashed into one) and the sense of humor they injected into it.

Their first album wraps up with City Hall, an epic of a song that chronicles Jack and Kyle’s daydreams about taking over city hall and subsequently ruling the world. It’s just awesome.


Happy Cycling – Boards of Canada

Boards of Canada is my go-to band whenever I’m working on something. The sounds they make are magical when you’re looking to be productive. Heck, I’m listening to The Campfire Headphase as I write this thing. Their sounds are so beautiful and captivating that they kinda put you in a trance, especially if you listen to entire albums at once.

I love pretty much everything they’ve ever done, but Happy Cycling strikes a certain chord in me that the others do not. It goes on forever, dragging its heels as it makes its way to the climax, but the journey is worth it. The song develops into this absolutely beautiful melody that I can never get enough of. It makes me think of using the bicycle in Earthbound, which extends the good feelings even further.

Ouroboros – The Mars Volta

The first time I heard The Mars Volta, I was in my late teens and I guess I hadn’t yet fully developed my musical tastes yet. I had loved At the Drive-In, and after the members broke up and moved on to form Sparta and The Mars Volta, I really got into the former. But I couldn’t listen to any Mars Volta song for more than a minute before becoming confused and bored.

A few years later, I went back to them and fell in love with their crazy, experimental sounds almost instantly. It’s funny how that works.


Playdough Revisited – The Aquabats

Again, nostalgia. Sweet nostalgia.

Ska always takes me back to my teenage years, and this song takes me back even further with its subject matter of reminiscing. I hate to be one of those “this song really speaks to me” kind of people, but this song really speaks to me. I’m a big kid at heart and I do often wish to return to my childhood just so I can have all my old stuff (toys and TV shows) back.

Oh, and just so you know, I have a huge weakness for the sound of trumpets. That is my one big draw to ska music. Well, that and I like to dance.


 On se niin väärin (It’s not fair) – Helsinki Complaints Choir

The Helsinki Complaints Choir is one of many Complaints Choirs of the World, an organization that helps set up and conduct such musical acts all over the world. No singing experience is necessary to join in; all you need is a complaint. The composer takes all the entries and strings them together into a song to be performed by the complainers in front of an audience. It’s the coolest idea ever conceived.

On se niin väärin is a funny lesson in culture and a beautifully composed song wrapped up into one awesome package. It’s really interesting to see how these peoples’ problems, no matter how serious or silly they may be, match up to the issues present in my tiny part of the world. We are all not so different after all.


Gravity Rides Everything – Modest Mouse

I think I have a thing for male singers with “whiny” voices.

Anyway, I like Modest Mouse a lot. Both their old stuff and their new stuff is excellent, as far as my ears are concerned. I think I will always love The Moon and Antarctica the most, though, because after that point the music kinda lost its cool, raw sound. I don’t really have much to say about this song in particular; it’s just very pretty.


The Logical Song – Supertramp

Supertramp is the shit. Plain and simple.

A few years ago, when I was still living with my family, I “inherited” my parents’ record collection when I volunteered to lend some space in my room to store it away. I quickly acquired a record player and went through every single album. This is when my love affair with Supertramp’s Breakfast in America began. After I listened to it, I was floored. There was not one track on that record that I ever wanted to skip over. From start to finish, it’s a treat to the ears. This song is just one of those treats.


Birdhouse in Your Soul – They Might Be Giants

Okay, so I gushed about a lot of other musical groups in this post. But no matter what I said about anyone else up there, They Might Be Giants is my favorite band of all time. To me, no one else can compare.

The scope of what they do is simply incredible; after writing literally thousands of songs, the duo is still going strong and cranking out great sounding, cleverly written music. I grew up surrounded by all sorts of different styles of music thanks to cable, but it wasn’t until Flood that it all became something more than background noise or cool looking videos. Specifically, it wasn’t until I saw Particle Man on Tiny Toon Adventures in the early 90s; that episode caused me to actively search for a musical album, something I had never done before that point in time.


Thanks for listening, and I hope you got some enjoyment out of my taste in music!

Ashley Davis