Welcome back to another edition of Kev & A. If you have a question or need some advice, reach out at ElectricDraculaInquiries@gmail.com
Today’s question is about the intersection of the search for extra-terrestrial life and why I have tinnitus. The person who submitted it also asked to be referred to only as “Not THAT Elon.” Take it away, Not THAT Elon!
I’m a space hobbyist and with all of my present free time, I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to launch my own space probe, just for fun, to blast it off into the ether and see how far it goes. I would want to include a gold record with some important songs on it like Carl Sagan once did, just in case it crashed into some aliens, but getting a single record pressed seems like a pain in the ass, and my laptop doesn’t have a CD burner, so I guess I would just include an iPhone with a Spotify playlist. Problem is, I like pretty much all music (except for novelty garbage like that Sunscreen song), so I can’t decide what to put on it. What’s your Essential Earth Music Education for Aliens Playlist?
Hey…thanks for the callback on the Suncreen business!
For those of you that this sounds like a bunch of random words thrown together in sentence form, Not THAT Elon is referring to The Golden Record that was carried by Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 as they were shot out into interstellar space. Fun fact: Voyager 2 actually launched first, making numbers completely meaningless, which is bizarrely ironic considering how they were potential trying to communicate with alien species and mathematics is the closest thing to a universal language we have.
If you click on the link I added for The Golden Record, you can get a pretty detailed idea of what the intentions were and everything they included. My favorite thing about it is that they realized they were going to have to pretty much explain how a record worked to an alien civilization, so they left them stereo instructions. I just imagine E.T. sitting on the floor of a lab, cursing and trying really hard not to smash the goddamn thing.
What if the aliens who find this are those assholes that swear a cassette tape is the most pure listening experience? But, like, only on the first time, because it immediately starts to sound like shit. But it’s just so WARM on that first listen! (fart noise)
Sagan had a group of people help him pick a bunch of eastern and western music to capture a wide array of cultures. Smart! I know fuckall about music from around the world because I’m an ignorant piece of shit. The best I would be able to do is suggest Rodrigo y Gabriela covering a Metallica song or something.
Outside of classical and world music, there’s basically three songs in relatively popular genres. Here they are:
“Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry (or Marty McFly depending on how you feel about causality)
“Melancholy Blues” by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven
“Dark Was the Night” by Blind Willie Johnson
Good lord, I would have loved to have been in the room when they were whittling the list down. Someone was like, “Okay, we can only have one of your ‘Rock AND Roll’ songs on here, so what do you think of The Beatles?” Then someone else was like, “Fuck that, square! Give those alien sons of bitches a little Chuck Berry to know how we do!” Then he flipped up the collar of his leather jacket and started smoking an unfiltered cigarette or something.
So, let’s assume that we can take that iPhone and make sure we don’t have it on facial recognition lock before shooting it into space. If you want to use Spotify, go ahead, that’s on you. Personally, their crooked-ass, low res logo pisses me off, but I’ll allow it in this thought experiment. Fill it with your classical and world music selections and now just choose the pop songs you think represent humanity.
I no longer want to play this game. I just had a panic attack thinking about this. The good news is that I don’t ACTUALLY have this curse/honor. I would like to make a few recommendations, though.
First: This Mountain Goats/Space Jam theme song mashup
Okay, I’m HALF kidding. Truth be told, I am one of the few people from my age group that doesn’t like Space Jam. I just don’t give a shit. I don’t hate it like I do Hook, a movie that my generation is somehow convinced is good. And look, I know that not liking Hook doesn’t make me interesting. It just makes me RIGHT. But I do love The Mountain Goats.
Next: The Judgment Night Soundtrack
This is less of a joke, but if I had as much room as I suspect you would on your contraption, I would sneak this soundtrack on there. It’s a good signal to more advanced civilizations that we can think outside of the box and work together. That’s a lie. But, we want to make a good impression. This is like a job interview, but instead of getting a job, you don’t get colonized by an alien life form that thinks don’t rock hard enough and are going probe you to death as a result.
Fine. Here is my legitimate suggestion for a song to add on there. In fact, I would recommend putting all of Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come.
I’ve basically been in a mood lately that makes me only want to listen to really aggressive shit or sad boy music. So I opted for something I felt was a jump forward for a genre instead of listening to Echo and the Bunnymen for the millionth time.
We should definitely add some Bowie and Prince on there. And once they realize that they are both dead, their civilization will come to a horrific end just like ours.
If you have your Golden Record playlist, shoot it over. We can discuss in a follow up. Just a song that you feel is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY? Send it my way. Songs so bad that aliens won’t want to show up at our party? Hell yes.
All kidding aside, though, the answer is Thin Lizzy. Just like a monster Thin Lizzy greatest hits.