Something different this week.

A few days back I had a sudden memory of a song I had not heard in years. It was just a snippet, but it stuck with me throughout the day. It wasn’t a famous song. It was by an artist I hadn’t thought of in nearly 20 years. When I checked Spotify, the song was out there, though. I listened to it, added it to my Liked Songs list, and moved on.

That song got me thinking, though, about the era it came from. It was released in 2001, which was in the midst of a unique portion of my listening life. That was when alternative rock radio was beginning to fall apart. In Kansas City, we lost two alt rock stations in the space of a year or so. 96.5 The Buzz rose to fill some of the gap, but it did not compare to the legendary 105.9 The Lazer of the 1990s.

Fortunately, my cable TV provider carried the Music Choice channels. Man, I loved me some Music Choice! In that span from 2000–2003 I got most of my new music from it’s alt rock channel. If I was home and not watching a game, I would usually have Music Choice on. When I heard a song I liked, I’d run over to the computer, fire up my file sharing app of the moment, and download the track. Every month or so I would burn a CD – remember burning CDs?!?! – that I took to work to listen to on headphones to help pass the day. When I began traveling to the West Coast a couple times each month, I would always have one of those disks with me to pop into the rental car.

This all combined to form a distinct period in my listening history, from the fall of 2000 until I moved to Indianapolis in June of 2003. As I was in a proper home and not a studio apartment once we got to Indy, my office was away from the TV and Music Choice got shifted a bit. I would pull up the alt rock channel occasionally, but it became more a source of Christmas music in December.[1]

Anyways…my memory was jogged. One day I opened up iTunes and started looking at songs from this period. Soon I was making a playlist in Spotify of my favorites of that era. And that, my friends, is what I share with you today.

To make it nice and round, I’ve pushed the limit of this playlist out to the end of 2004. Truthfully, this era ended right about the time M was born in July of 2004. It was while I was on paternity leave that I first discovered a couple music blogs, sites that would post free MP3’s to download each day. A couple of those tracks are on this list. The list also includes the first songs I ever bought off of the iTunes Music Store. By the time 2005 rolled around I was rarely listening to Music Choice, I had a bunch of music blogs dumping MP3’s into my RSS reader each day, and I had discovered

So this list celebrates that 3–4 year period when most of my new music came off of a music station that was buried deep in the extra channels of my cable TV package. They are roughly in chronological order, although I’ve added some that went to the bottom of the list.

  1. That was true until just a few years ago when AT&T dropped Music Choice for another, inferior, music service.  ↩