De playlist van… Kristin McGee

What’s your favourite music? What are your favourite songs? The UK asks these questions to students and employees from the RUG and makes a Playlist on Spotify.

This week the Playlist by a professor in popmusic and professional saxophone player: Kristin McGee. What are the favourite songs of someone who’s  always busy with music?

How important is music for you?

‘Curious question for a professor of music, but music matters to me in many ways – affectively (it can help situate my emotions or accentuate a mood or prompt a particular memory). It provides me with fodder for thinking about how culture reinforces or negotiates cultural, national, racial, gendered, ethnic identities through music performance, music scenes or new musical forms of creativity. Music also provides a vehicle for being creative for creativity’s sake, a luxury I only now enjoy as a fully employed professor. Previously performing music professionally was a rich and deeply interactive experience but also stressful, tenuous and precarious. Musicians are deeply under-compensated for the work they do.’

When do you listen to music the most?

‘While cleaning, cooking, driving or dancing. I never listen on the train, or while walking or riding my bike as I like to be fully aware of my immediate environment when out and about.’

Do you ever sing along to music and if so, is there a song you know all the words to?

‘I sing frequently to music, but not well and mostly with my own version of the lyrics. I can NEVER remember lyrics. I think this is because how I hear music – I hear all the parts and the relations between them more than I hear the words to a verse or chorus which matters less to me.’

What kind of music makes you sad and what music makes you happy?

‘Music only makes me happy or sad in the film music environment when music acts as a kind of tonic or soundtrack for supporting a particular motive, or emotion and in this sense one might even feel manipulated by music which in this scenario is meant to evoke some state of joy or sorrow. Although in the recent film the Master, Greenwood’s soundtrack artfully subverted some of these established roles. Music doesn’t make me any of these things – and if it elicits an emotion it has more to do with what emotion I had wanted to excise – melancholy, euphoria, power, capriciousness, madness…. but never does music provide a simple correlation to happy or sad, beyond the Spielberg form of happy or sad, which feels somewhat manufactured.’

What do you think is the best love song?

‘Nancy Wilson’s “Save Your Love For Me” or maybe Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” or Jeff Buckley’s version of “Halleluja”.’

Is there a song that changed your music taste in some way?

‘Nothing recently. I hated the Breeders album Last Splash at first but then eventually I loved it. Amon Tobin’s work also changed my ideas about electronic music (drum and bass) a few years back – Chaos Theory for example is immaculate and experimental at the same time.’