It will certainly be heresy to say it here, but most of the people that I meet that are young and really, really into their music, are into rap. That said, I can, without reservation, recommend "Straight Out Of Compton" by NWA. A touchstone of the genre, that any rap fancier will immediately recognize. Don't worry, others will recommend BarberKrallCole or whatever her name is this month.
Part of my thesis here is the assumption that normal people don't want to listen to "Wood is a Pleasant Thing" by Patricia Barber.
So I am really hoping we can assemble real music for real people which still makes an impressive demo.
I will add NWA to my list and thanks.
Pop Music suggestions
Black Eyed Peas - They Don't want Music
Dixie Chicks - Not Ready to Make Nice
James Blunt - You're Beautiful
Razorlight - In the Morning
Hips don't lie - Shakira
Fergie - LondonBridge
Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend
I've found that most people like (Jack Johnson)...(Chris Isaak) is good.... (Alison Krauss) usually goes over well.
This is the type of music I play for my wifes friends, and other, non-audiophiles...I've found most don't want to hear Classical, Jazz, Newage, Blues, ie...the stuff I usually listen to.
Rap?...no one that age comes around here.
Several that came to mind:
Ray, Aimee Mann
Patanga, Trace Bundy
Skating, Vince Giraldi Trio
Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey), De La Soul
Clampdown, The Clash
Theme from Jaws
Ain't Nobody, Chaka Khan
Bolero, Maurice Ravel
Blue Monday, New Order
Cabaret, Liza Minelli
Take Five, Dave Brubeck
As an audiophile with a pretty good system, I will admit that I like to listen to rap on my own system. I also listen to electronic, classical, classic rock, rock, bluegrass, Norah/Allison/etc..., pop (for lack of a better descriptor), latin, southern rock, blues, jam bands, funk, jazz and others that defy category. I am 23. I believe your system should sound good with all types of music, unless you can have more than one system to handle different types of music. Because my own tastes are so varied it is hard to recommend something for auditioning for everyone. My suggestion is therefore a CD that they are familiar with. Then they can hear the difference.
Interesting idea for a thread. Most of my friends are oldish. When I have about 15 minutes to take someone away from the visiting going on, I play very short excerpts from some of these depending on thier musical tastes. I tell them in advance that this is what I will be doing so they are prepared for all the quick transitions. I usally get smiles and sometimes people saying that they were moved to tears.
When it is a friend over for the evening just the two us us and the adgenda is to listen to music for an hour or so. Then we listen to things longer.
Here are some of my favorites for auditioning:
For female vocal Jennifer Warnes, The Well, Jane Silberry, Calling all Angels
For male vocal Bruce Springfield, The Rising, Crosby, Stills
For rock Led Zeplin, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits
For classical Saint Saens Symphony #3 (Organ)
For choral Rachmaninoff Vespers
For Jazz and brushes against cymbals, Missouri Sky
For piano Kissin Liszt Transcendental Etudes, Volodos List Hungarian Rhaposdy
For violin Scottish Fantasies, Vivaldi Four Seasons
For flute Galoway Silent Night
Dire Straits B.I.A., Pink Floyd DSOTM, Steely Dan Aja, Holst the Planets, Willie Nelson Stardust, Telarc Bond and Beyond.
Gammajo and others
It would be very helpful to know at least the particular tracks and in some cases the exact recording.
I like Led Zeppelin and so do many of my friends. But I wouldnt know where to start on tracks or recordings for a good demo - much of it sounds harsh and compressed to me.
Sogood 51 Re Chris Isaak - very good suggestion. Baby Did a Bad Thing is a great demo track - good bass, atmospheric and even a little spooky imaging too - while easily recognizable to non audiophiles.
female -sade,stevie nicks,
rock- boston, hendrix
jazz- billy cobham, freddie hubbard, ronnie laws
soundtrack -rocky gonna fly now, boogie nights
classical mid -summers night dream
country-charlie daniels band, waylon jennings
All Mark Knopler's stuff sounds great including Dire Straits.
Santana Abraxas first track is pretty cool with the cymbal shimmers.
The SACD reissues of Rolling Stones are pretty good.
Abbey Road is always fun and dynamic.
Talking Heads sound pretty cool.
I have the latest reissue of the Allman Brother's Filmore Concertt that everyone seems to like.
Any decent Doc Watson recording will usually put a smile on peoples faces.
The Jerry Garcia Band, "After Midnight: Kean College" sounds great and for both serious listening and on the back porch BBQing.
Bella Fleck can put out some interesting sounds
"A Walk Across the Rooftops" by The Blue Nile. Once your friends hear this, they should want to buy a really good stereo -- and they'll also fall for Paul Buchanan and the boys. Then you can get 'em a little Scotch and put on "Hats."
Two current faves are Dave's True Story - self titled album and Keb Mo - 'Peace ...Back by Popular Demand.
For rock, I go with the Eagles Live (the opening sequence of Hotel California makes a stunning impact!) or Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. I also second Hodu's nomination of 'A Walk Across the Rooftops' by the Blue Nile.
For classical, I stick to the well known The Four Seasons, Camina Burana or the 1812 Overture.
But to be honest, regardless of how bad the recording might be, you've got a better chance of showing how good the music can sound when they're listening to their own music choice. A decent mid-fi system will still murder a 3 in 1 or 'surround sound in a box' system that so many of my mates seem to find sufficient.
Good luck on your quest!
Your closing point is exactly my point - people who are not predisposed to being audiophiles are unlikely to be moved by music they don't like - no matter how good it sounds.
But the idea here is that if we can collect enough, diverse examples of well recorded music, we can assemble something for everyone in super high fidelity.
Eric Clapton - Old Love - from the unplugged CD.
Hens wrote: "For classical, I stick to the well known The Four Seasons, Camina Burana or the 1812 Overture. " GAK! First, those are common and boring with no real surprises. Second, those are compositions, not recordings. All exist in positively dreadful recordings/performances as well as decent and outstanding ones..................if one cares. So, this is not a useful contribution.
Kr4, thanks for your educational words. I was really highlighting the type of music rather than wanting to get into the detail of which specific performances - they are all well known to my non-hi-fi friends and are able to highlight what a good system can do in areas that other genres of music don't. This was the reason they were mentioned.
Speaking of "not useful" contributions, would you care to actually nominate some tracks yourself for the benefit of the thread?
I think Hens was offering his idea's to this thread, Kr4 slammed him for his ideas with his opinion, who cares about composition and recordings....the point is a selection that folks may enjoy hearing. You are a simple man Kr4 if you cant see it was your post that had nothing to offer.
My two cents:
Jazz - Bill Evans, Joe Pass, Diana Krall
Pop - Norah Jones, Eva Cassidy, Simon/Garfunkel
New Age - Enya, William Ackerman/Alex de Grassi (solo recordings), George Winston
Classical - Nocturnes of John Field (John O'Conor, pianist), Hilary Hahn plays Bach, Sing We Christmas (Chanticleer)
Good luck spreading the gospel!
Chadnliz is right: I offered nothing positive except to point out, as I am wont to do, that classical recommendations require more detail than in other genres where the name of the album/disc/title is sufficient to define the choice. Just a reference to a performance or a label would help.
Just don't let them read your audio magazines that's the real audio killer
As the author of this thread, I would like to politely suggest that yes, we are also trying to identify GOOD RECORDINGS here.
The tricky part is a diversified collection of well recorded GOOD MUSIC too, content which is intelligible and more likely to be of interest and capable of moving and inspiring non audiophiles.
So Kr4 is not winning any awards for diplomacy, but I agree with the logic of his reply.
Hens, I trust your intentions were good here and thank you for participating. But well recorded examples of the music you suggest is what will really help compile this list.
Sorry all. It is one of my pet peeves and it doesn't take much to set me off on it.
My experience suggests that it is easiest to demonstrate the greater emotional pull of recorded music rendered on a superior playback system if the person already loves the music they will be hearing. To that end I always suggest that visitors bring their favorites to listening sessions. I haven't seen anyone unaffected by hearing their favorite music played back staggeringly well. The effect is automatic, like the shock of recognition. On the other hand, I've never seen a non-music lover all that impressed by great audio, regardless of what you play them.
But your point is well taken, and from years of experience I've found that most music loving audio neophytes are most impressed by relatively simple, highly melodic music with a lot of vocal content. For instance, the work of Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell, the Beatles, and, yes, Jack Johnson are all good candidates. This may have something to do with the fact that the human voice is the one that people have the most immediately available reference to.
I see now why Kr4 was right, just maybe the way he made his point wasnt as ideal as it could be. Specific Classical disc's with spectacular performance and dynamics need to be noted. BTW Telarcs "Time Warp" is both fun and sounds great, and the music from Star Wars and other popular themes is sure to be tolerated by non Classical folk.
If it helps then:
Vivaldi's The Four Seasons; Nevelle Marriner, Academy of St Martin in the Field; 2000 (Decca)
Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture; Neeme Jarvi; Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra; 1992 (Deutsche Grammophon)
Orff's Carmina Burana; James Levine; Chicago Symphony Orchestra; 1990 (Deutsche Grammophon)
By no means do I consider myself even close to an expert when it comes to classical performances, but I rate the recording quality of the above quite highly.