Which Earth songs should aliens listen to?

The question posed by this uncharacteristically interesting Livejournaler is a damn good one: What should Earth upload into extraterrestrial iTunes folders? What song could represent the scope of human history to beings utterly beyond our cultural understandings? Perhaps a Muddy Waters tune to showcase our knack for turning suffering into respected art. Or something by the Sex Pistols to represent how even four drunken idiots who hate each other can change the world and inspire others to do the same. Or maybe something less Western: a piece of Chinese folk music or the score of a Bollywood film, reminding aliens (and ourselves) that a world exists beyond America and Europe even when nothing is going wrong in it. Frankly, bollocks to all that. I vote we give them Beethoven. Not only is his music proof that disability and poor anger management don’t impede genius, but it’s contextually sound. Given how far away the alien worlds are, and how long it would take light to reach them from here, the Earth they’re seeing is one in which Beethoven is still alive. No sense giving them a visual of men in powdered wigs and knee breeches and then freaking them out with electric guitars. That is, unless we decide to send them some of this.

—Posted by David Kiefaber