Wednesday, April 13, 2005

My Favorite Songs

OK, so i'm bored out of my skull, so i'm going to spread the virus by actually listing my favorite pop songs as if anyone could conceivably give a shit. I'm not sure if this list says anything about me, other than i'm obviously white, fairly old, and not all that well-versed in popular music.
  1. So. Central Rain - REM. I'm a huge fan of REM up until about Document, after which i can take or leave them. From Chronic Town through Life's Rich Pageant though, i think they were just wonderful. I love this song. If i were forced to listen to only one song for the rest of eternity, this would be it.
  2. Sober - Tool. I enjoy the various flavors of heavy metal and hard rock, but before Tool my idea of a great metal song was something like Judas Priest's song Grinder from British Steel (which i still like, btw). Even though Sober came out at around the same time as several great, non-idiotic hard-rock songs (e.g., a few years after Smells Like Teen Spirit and after, i think, Helmet's Unsung), this is the one i still like a decade later. Maynard's greatest triumph.
  3. Our Love Is Here To Stay. This is my favorite Gershwin song, and for my wife and me it's sort of "our song". There are several great versions of this song, and a few bad ones. In my opinion it needs to be played at a relatively slow tempo, and sung by someone with a solid voice and a straightforward style. I really like the Joe Williams rendition with Count Basie's Orchestra.
  4. Like A Song - U2. Many of the tunes from U2's War are staples of modern radio, but for some reason this song didn't get much notice. It's my favorite U2 tune from that album, despite New Year's Day or Bloody Sunday.
  5. Load Out/Stay - Jackson Brown. OK, so this is technically two songs, but not really. The Jackson Brown original part is The Load Out and the coda is a version of Maurice and the Zodiac's Stay. But they just can't be separated. I loved this song so much as a kid that i actually memorized the lyrics. It's still one of the few songs that i can sing from memory that's not a Christmas carol. It holds up really well, as does the album it's on, Running On Empty.
  6. Is That Love? - Squeeze. When i was in high school i lived in the midwest and our local rock radio was Bob Seger, Led Zeppelin, Styx, etc. However, around that time Squeeze had a big hit with the single Tempted, which was sung by former Ace vocalist Paul Carrack. Tempted, another really good song, inspired me to buy East Side Story. It wasn't my first taste of New Wave, but man did i play that thing to death. This song still stands out for me, probably because of the quirky lyrics.
  7. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me - Elton John. It's hard to understand how certain songs bury themselves so deeply in your psyche. I associate this song with one particularly good summer from my childhood, and so when i hear it i go immediately back.
  8. Luckenbach, Texas - Waylon Jennings. When i was a teenager i spent my summers driving around from farm to farm as part of my job with the state agency that monitored seed crops in Indiana. Usually i was in my dad's Ford F150, which had only AM radio, and the only music station that i could get was the country station. In general i find country music to be too simplistic and dull, but there are a few exceptions. I particularly liked Waylon Jennings, and this song got a lot of radio play. It was one of the few songs i looked forward to, and again i managed to learn all of the lyrics, even the "train songs" variation :-)
  9. Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers. I don't know why Bill Withers isn't a Kennedy Center-honored National Treasure. People have basically forgotten him, despite the fact that he wrote many great songs, including this one, Lean On Me and Use Me.
  10. Surfer Girl - The Beach Boys. This song is just over 2 minutes long, and it's a touch sappy. But there's just something perfect about it. I don't think it could be better.
  11. Ana Ng - They Might Be Giants. TMBG is one of my favorite bands/groups, because of the combination of catchy tunes and clever lyrics. I think i like this song so much in part because of the totally absurd chorus ("Ana Ng and i are getting old and we still haven't walked in the glow of each other's majestic presence..."), and the "I don't want the world, i just want your half" bit.
Honorable Mentions:
  1. Let Down - Radiohead
  2. Alex Chilton - The Replacements
  3. If I Had a Boat - Lyle Lovett
  4. My Sharona - The Knack
  5. Kamera - Wilco
  6. Lithium - Nirvana
  7. Brian Wilson - The Barenaked Ladies
  8. Army - The Ben Folds Five
  9. Judith - A Perfect Circle
  10. Carl Perkins Cadillac - Drive-By Truckers
  11. Fall At Your Feet - Crowded House
  12. Better Man - Pearl Jam
  13. Macy's Day Parade - Green Day
  14. Alec Eiffel - Pixies
  15. September Gurls - Big Star

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