“Boyz II Men Makes My Ears Bleed” … Honest Playlist by Brian Baumgartner | Music

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The first album I bought
Michael Jackson’s thriller. I had a small record player and I remember playing the album over and over again. I liked it, but it was everywhere. To answer with Michael Jackson, does that drop me somewhere on a political spectrum? But it was the best-selling album of all time, which I guess makes me cliché.

The song that’s my favorite karaoke
At this point, given his connection to my character in The Office [Kevin Malone, who plays the drums and sings in a Police covers band Scrantonicity], it would have to be Roxanne. In a very public setting, it has become the one I have to sing. But I would do it like me, not like Kevin.

The song I inexplicably know all the lyrics
The sweet Caroline of Neil Diamond. In my college nights it became an absolute pillar and the lyrics never left my mind.

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The song that I streamed the most
Highwayman by the Highwaymen. I didn’t know them too well, but when I was traveling with a friend, we put it on. There is just something about the passion for performance, art, soul and humanity. For me, it’s really not that far from Tom Waits and Bob Dylan – it’s all about the heart, the poetry, the melody.

The song that I tell people is my favorite
I’ve been asked to name my favorite classic songs from the 70s, 80s, 90s this week and the ones I like are quite big: Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin ‘, Jack & Diane by John Mellencamp.

Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin ‘.

The song that is my favorite
I have attended many Willie Nelson concerts. I went to school in Texas and that’s where I was introduced to him; he was there, and I really got to enjoy what he did and how he changed the face of not just country music, but music as well. But my favorite song of all time? I will say [his version of Ray Charles’s] Georgia in my mind.

The song that I can’t stop singing
All I do is win by DJ Khaled. I’m sure I screw up 90% of the words, but I love the energy of this one. As well as the moving lyricism.

The song that I would be happy to never hear again
Everything by Boyz II Men, or modern country. I can’t even tell you a song right now, but I know I don’t like it. To me it’s whiny and tasteless, it just makes my ears bleed.

The song that I pretend to hate that I secretly love
Lizzo’s truth hurts. It doesn’t seem on the mark to me, it seems like something I should hate. A grown man and Lizzo? It just seems weird. But this ding-ding-ding-ding piano intro, it’s almost funny. There is a comedy that makes me smile.

Brian Baumgartner’s book, Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office, is out now.


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