The seats were filled with the type of people who pair fancy garb with worn sneakers or vintage loafers. Pabst Blue Ribbon, Brooklyn Lager and a couple glasses of wine circulated through the book-rimmed room while several speakers took their respective turns at the mic.
FluxBlog, a unique pinprick on the blogosphere upstarted by Matthew Perpetua (who will start his gig as BuzzFeed’s first music editor next Monday) that satiates the MP3 appetite of the music niche, celebrated its 10 years “of perfect tunes” at Housing Works Monday evening, inviting speakers like Gawker’s former co-editor Emily Gould and an editor at Rolling Stone, Rob Sheffield, to each play a carefully selected single for the relaxed crowd.
“He was like, ‘I’m so excited someone’s going to talk about a song that’s so uncool to admit you like,’” exclaimed Amanda Petrusich, recounting a remark she received from Mr. Sheffield at the start of the evening.
Ms. Petrusich was, like the other speakers summoned to speak at Housing Works, sharing her love for a song she had specially plucked from her mental music list. For many of the speakers, the songs they chose spoke to them on some unique level. Ms. Petrusich, now an author and senior contributing editor at Paste Magazine, chose “NYC” by Interpol to describe her initial 12 months in New York City.
“My relationship with New York was antagonistic, and somewhat destructive and combative and certainly psychically exhausting,” she lamented. “There’s nothing easy about anyone’s first year in New York.”
She took a moment to recount the times she had to divert her gaze from a man “doing digestive business” on the sidewalk and another moment when she had to fight to keep her air conditioner from falling out of the window, before refocusing on the band.
“They’re dark and kind of intensely slash inadvertently dapper and deeply, deeply mysterious with their suits and their haircuts and their nocturnal kind of Lower East Side-y skin,” she said. “I found them both inspirational and terrifying.”
Amy Rose Spiegel, music writer for Rookie, took the stage to play “Nearer than Heaven” by Delays. Unlike the other speakers, who remained seated or positioned in a ready stance by the mic while a segment of their song played, Ms. Spiegel immediately began dancing and nodding her head to the music.
Though her head bobbing seemed to come naturally, she said her music selection didn’t.
“That feeling of walking into a record store and being really overwhelmed by all the possibility of choice,” Ms. Spiegel said, comparing the experience to selecting the night’s single. “You’re thinking, ‘Oh my god, what do I like? Do I like anything? Do I like nothing?”
Though Ms. Spiegel admitted her attachment to the song came after a romantic partner introduced her to it, she also noted that it reminds her of falling in love for the first time, or simply “crushing out” on someone.
Ms. Spiegel’s reasoning for song selection differed slightly from Ms. Gould’s. The former Gawker co-editor chose Martha Wainwright’s cover of “Love is a Stranger,” a very different kind of love song.
“It’s a song about romantic obsession, and it’s about this sort of feverish, out-of-control, irrational, uncontrollable variety of love,” Ms. Gould said, also noting the apt title for the album: I Know You’re Married, But I’ve Got Feelings Too.
“[Music] gives you that experience vicariously,” she continued. “It gives me that experience every time I listen to the song.”
Mark Richardson, Pitchfork editor-in-chief, played “How to Rent a Room” by Silver Jews while Sean T. Collins, a music and comic critic and a fervent Nine Inch Nails advocate, played the band’s pre-comeback song, “Leaving Hope.”
“In essence, ‘Leaving Hope’ is the summary statement of the first 13, 14 years of Nine Inch Nails,” Mr. Collins said. “It’s also a farewell song that has never been reprised.”
The music previews culminated with a pick from Mr. Sheffield, who sang along with the Stephen Malkmus recording of “Malediction.”
“I wanted to do a song by Stephen Malkmus. I think it is one of the flagship FluxBlog artists. Matthew writes about it him a lot, it’s fair to say,” Mr. Sheffield joked to a nodding Mr. Perpetua. “Matthew is one of the few writers who blows him harder than I do.”
And with that reasonable insight in tow, Mr. Perpetua let Mr. Sheffield finish his speech before cranking a classic tune for the audience to analyze: R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix).”
Download the evening’s musical offerings here.
1. Matthew Perpetua: Scissor Sisters, “Paul McCartney”
2. Emily Gould: Martha Wainwright, “Love Is A Stranger”
3. Heather D’Angelo: Electrelane, “The Valleys”
4. Mark Richardson: Silver Jews, “How to Rent A Room”
5. Amy Rose Spiegel: Delays, “Nearer Than Heaven”
6. Sean T. Collins: Nine Inch Nails, “Leaving Hope”
7. Amanda Petrusich: Interpol, “NYC”
8. Dick Valentine: Mark Mallman, “True Love”
9. Rob Sheffield: Stephen Malkmus, “Malediction”
10. R. Kelly “Ignition (Remix)”
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