Music I listened to obsessively while writing this book:
Alanis Morrisette — Jagged Little Pill and Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie — Jagged Little Pill is one of my favorite albums of all time, even if it did inspire way too many conversations among my friends about the correct definition of the word “ironic.” Junkie didn’t work for me nearly as well, but there were still a couple of tracks—”Thank U” and “So Pure”—that I had to listen to six billion times.
Annie Lennox — Diva — Her voice is still amazing, but I don’t like the material as much. “Walking on Broken Glass” is a big favorite, though.
Third Eye Blind — Third Eye Blind and Blue — Wow.
The Goo-Goo Dolls — Dizzy up the Girl — Bought it for “Iris,” and was pleasantly surprised when the whole album turned out to be good.
Smash Mouth — Astro Lounge — Another pleasant surprise.
Everclear — So Much for the Afterglow — And another. I saw a TV ad for a pop compilation that included a brief clip of “I Will Buy You a New Life,” and on the strength of that decided to give Afterglow a try.
Fastball — All the Pain Money Can Buy and The Harsh Light of Day — The same ad that turned me on to Everclear also included a five second clip from “The Way.” In hindsight, I probably should have bought the compilation CD as well, since whoever put it together clearly knew my tastes.
Semisonic — Feeling Strangely Fine and All About Chemistry — Come to think of it, these guys may have been on that compilation CD too…
Vertical Horizon — Everything You Want — I love this album, but for some reason their others just haven’t worked for me.
Sheryl Crow — The Globe Sessions and C’mon, C’mon — Still good.
Aerosmith — Permanent Vacation and Nine Lives — Neither one was as good as Pump. Worth having for “Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” “Falling In Love (Is Hard on the Knees),” and “Pink.”
Lisa Loeb — Tails and Firecracker — My wife’s evil twin. (OK, she’s not really evil, but my wife is annoyed that I think there’s a resemblance.)
Aimee Mann — Magnolia soundtrack and Whatever — Thank you, Paul Thomas Anderson.
Avril Lavigne — Let Go — Got me through the last round of copyediting.
Pink — Missundaztood — My wife bought the album first, but I ended up stealing it from her.
K’s Choice — The Great Subconscious Club, Paradise in Me, and Cocoon Crash — One of several bands I started listening to after they made a guest appearance on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Michelle Branch — The Spirit Room — Another Buffy guest star, although I think I saw the video for “Everywhere” on MTV first.
Bif Naked — I Bificus — She Has Issues.
Garbage — Version 2.0 — Not bad, not great.
“Once More With Feeling” Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode soundtrack — Though it wasn’t yet legally available while I was finishing up Set This House, a bootleg CD of this mysteriously appeared beside my computer shortly after the episode first aired.
Meredith Brooks — Blurring the Edges and Deconstruction — I was introduced to her music while watching a documentary about teenage prostitutes, one of whom was really into the song “Bitch.”
Cher — It’s a Man’s World — After the X-Files’ “Postmodern Prometheus” episode, I had to have this.
Aqua — Aquarium — If Roxette is a watered-down version of ABBA, then Aqua is a watered-down version of Roxette. There are some truly embarrassing songs here, but for some reason I got hung up on “Doctor Jones” (I think it was the harp), and gave it a lot more play than it really deserved.
The Corrs — In Blue — Mostly for the first track, “Breathless,” although if I forget to put on the replay loop, the rest of the album is certainly listenable.
Britney Spears — Oops!…I Did It Again — The title track is my kind of bubblegum pop, but I figured it was probably the only decent song on the album, which wasn’t enough to overcome the embarrassment of owning a B.S. CD. Then I heard “Stronger,” liked it too, and decided to swallow my pride. Naturally, every other song on the album sucked. Oops!
Train — Drops of Jupiter — The title track got a lot of play during the promotion for the movie K-Pax. Decent album, underwhelming film.
Edwin McCain — Misguided Roses — Another movie tie-in. “I’ll Be” was in the trailer for the movie Bounce. Unfortunately the guys who made the trailer edited the song to make it sound a lot better than it actually is—the melody is great, but the unabridged lyrics are written in Bizarro language. “Emeralds from mountains thrust towards the sky / Never revealing their depth”? “I’ll hang from your lips / Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above”? How much glue did you inhale to come up with this crap, Ed?
Weird Al Yankovic — Bad Hair Day — His best album in years. “Amish Paradise” is a work of genius.
Deep Blue Something — Home — For “Breakfast At Tiffany’s.”
Al Stewart — Last Days of the Century — I first heard this album during the German book tour for Fool on the Hill. Towards the end of 1999 I started playing it a lot, as part of my personal Millennium celebration.
Strange Days soundtrack — More millennial entertainment.
10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack — For the Letters to Cleo covers of “I Want You to Want Me” and “Cruel to be Kind.”
Moulin Rouge soundtrack — Aka Obi-Wan Sings. Do yourself a favor and pick up the DVD while you’re at it.