Diversity at Play(list): A Guest Post from Jon Malstrom

Today’s guest post is from my friend Jon Malstrom. He lives in Houston and writes daily at his blog about being a husband, a dad of two teenagers, and someone trying to be true and authentic through it all.

Diversity at Play(list)

I believe it’s a sign of growth when the music on your iPod’s workout playlist is so diverse, no court would ever indict you for discrimination in a diversity suit. And if that’s true, I’m definitely growing.

Songs that used to sound like dry heaves set to music are now thump-thump-thumping the rear-window of my Prius.

Why the new attitude? 3 Reasons:

1. I think the quality of the music has improved radically (marginally?)

2. I live with two teenagers

3. I like to think I’m becoming more tolerant and open-minded in my middle-age.

Check out some of the categories currently on my Nano. You’ll get the picture.


I hated this junk growing up. In high school, listening to country music meant you were a “kicker” (boot-wearing cowboy-type), and I did not want to be that. The songs were so “My dog left me, my girl don’t hunt, my money’s gone, can’t buy no beer.” I sort of liked 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton, but that was my dirty little secret that I kept hidden like my supply of Oxy-10 Zit Cream.

Today’s country music is slightly less whiny and is good motivation at the gym. Taylor Swift sings about being a careful rebel, Lady Antebellum heat it up with their Need You Now booty call song while I work my glutes, and Zac Brown Band and Kenny Chesney transport me to my favorite beach in the Virgin Islands with their Jimmy-Buffett-influenced styles. (By the way, has anyone seen Kenny Chesney without a hat? What’s under there?)


I’ve never really imagined myself as the urban type. Yeah, I live in Houston, but I’m not “urban.” I’m really white, I can’t dance, and none of my front teeth spell anything.

But for whatever reason (mid-life crisis?) I really love this stuff. I annoy the crud out of my Palm Beach peeps by tweeting them daily, “Dawg! Sup in Flo Rida?” My favorite line in a rap song is “When sober girls around me, they be ackin like they drunk” from Like a G6. It’s been my Facebook status no less than five times.

I find myself daydreaming about a rap career. I even did a little test marketing of the concept and texted this pic to select friends to get some feedback. The majority told me not to quit my day job, stick to writing, and possibly consider a new career sign-flipping at busy intersections. I’ll be emailing them all my new demo song next month, called What What – What It Do?

They’re just not getting me yet.


The Pop of today is a bit different than what I knew a few years back, but it’s evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

Katy Perry is the new Madonna, for instance. Her songs are upbeat and fun, but a little (maybe a lot) on the “Adult Content” side. Since her new album is on my playlist, I’ve made the mistake more than once of getting in a zone on the elliptical at the gym and singing Firework a crapella.

Oh yes, I know I’m really bad, but the head turning doesn’t usually start until I get to the “you make ‘em go uh uh uh” part.


I got turned on to Dave Barnes last summer when I first heard “God Gave Me You.” What I discovered over the next six months is there is a plethora (love that word – it makes me sound smart) of other really great indie artists who write and perform their own stuff.

My wife and I got to see Dave on his Christmas tour in December and discovered Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors and Gabe Dixon, performing with him. We loved the concert, but were a little self-conscious about being the oldest couple in the room by probably 25 years. The door bouncer carded all the college kids in front of us and then just smiled and waved as he slapped the “old enough to drink” wristbands on us with barely a glance.


What about You? Do you have a secret rap name or inside info on what’s under Kenny Chesney’s hat?

And please show me some love and tell me a song or artist I should add to my playlist.

Jon Malstrom blogs daily over at AuthenticRamblings.com. Check out his site and add him to your rotation!