It's been a colorful week since last we spoke. While my own life has been quiet and unconcerned; larger fiascos have pummeled the nation once again in such a way that horrific and unecessary calamity has brought a sense of unity to usually opposing ideals. It's unfortunate that it takes public violence of a grand and grotesque scale to pull us as a people together to stand against forces that would seek to topple us down; but this is real life and them's are the breaks. We forget so quickly; and as soon as tragedy strikes, we are brought back together. In the mean time though, music will always be there to sooth our pain, our loss, and our confusions--however they may be presented to us. I truly hope that next week I have something more absurd and happy to comment on...like the new celebrity crossed-eyed possum in Germany (no really...look it up) or John C. Reilly & Will Ferrell's budding rap career (again; no, seriously). Until then, I give you my top twenty favorite songs of all time...more or less.
1. Crimson & Clover, By Tommy James and the Shondells
--Some songs on this list are newer to me than others; and some go back with me a long way. I can't necessarily explain why they strike me the way they do; and so this particular blog will probably have very little in so much as explantion of why I like something or another. Some of the songs are on here for sentimental reasons, some because they bring me peace when i'm incredibly stressed out, some are guilty pleasures, some are perfect love songs (please note though that while "lovesong" by the cure is a good song, you won't find it on this list), and some of them I dance around in my apartment to when I think no one is looking. I'll leave it to you to guess which ones are which. This one has been with me since at least 1994. What can I say except that it is beautiful, trippy, and perfect?
2. No Surrender, by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
This one dates back to approximately 1990. Along with the rest of the songs on the Born in the U.S.A. album I would rock along with this powerhouse of romance and rebellion usually while either cleaning my room, or rolling down the autobahn in Germany all at the tender age of 8. Born in the U.S.A is a magnificent album; and for me this song tops the rest.
3. Fake Plastic Trees, by Radiohead
4. Where is my mind, by The Pixies
5. Thirty Three, by The Smashing Pumpkins
One of the greatest videos of all time. A dark and unsettling lullabye. I want to live in this song.
6. Into the Mystic, by Van Morrison
Of course; i could be perfectly happy living with the love of my life in this song too. It's an endless daydream of warm, happily ever after.
7. Wildflowers, by Tom Petty
See previous description
8. Ain't Nothing but a G Thing, by Snoop & Dr. Dre
I like my dirty guilty pleasures JUST as much as my sentimental romance. You've never been on a ride like this before--with a produce who can rap and control the maestro ;)
9. In My Life, By The Beatles
Trying to pick one song out of the entire Beatles catalogue is remarkably difficult, but i've always been drawn to this one. In fact, it's a song that I would like to have played at my wedding.
10. Downtown Train, by Tom Waits
To be fair, the first version I ever heard of this was the Rod Stewart cover; and I totally dig his version too...it takes me back to childhood. But you just can't beat Tom's worn and raspy vocals in his original. I could probably listen to this on repeat for the rest of my life (or at least several days on end) and be touched (non-sexually) each time.
11. Daydream Believer, By The Monkees
It's impossible to listen to this song, and not break out in to rapturous gales of song and dance. Complete with fist pumping the air...
12. The Crane Wife, by The Decemberists (parts, 1, 2, & 3)
A modern, epic, folk masterpiece.
13. Acid Tongue, by Jenny Lewis
I can play this one on the guitar!
14. Blind Man, by Aerosmith
Easily the single best song they have produced in the past twenty years. Srsly. The video is a bit...erm...cheezy...but the song itself is tops :) "She was a tall whiskey glass, I was an old hound dog who just LOVED to chase his tail..."
15. I want you, by Bob Dylan
Possibly the best love song ever written. Ever. I'm biased of course; but have a listen and try to disagree
16. Tweeter & the Monkey Man, by The Traveling Wilburys
The greatest ensemble of all time tells a gritty story, puts it to music; and makes it catchy. LOVE...THESE...GUYS.
17. Rain on a Scarecrow, by John Mellencamp
This song is a story about farms being taken away from farmers. I first remember hearing it in the car with my parents when I was about five. My mom was (is) a big Mellencamp fan. This one always stuck with me though because my own father grew up on a farm in East Tennessee where my Grandparents (Mom and Pop Banker, may they both rest in peace) still lived. We visited usually a couple of times a year. Even at a young age I recognized that this song was in defense of farmers, and that something was wrong. Additionally, I always pictured myself, and my grandfather as characters in the song. "When I was 5 I walked a fence, my grandpa held my hand." The song holds up today, as does Mellencamp. He's really an under rated artist, and deserves more than just "Springsteen light," as he has often been labled.
18. Fur Elise, by Beethoven
Short, sweet, and unnerving. A timeless classic of musical beauty.
19. Like a Prayer, by Madonna
To be honest with you, I really kind of think Madonna is a little over rated. Sure, she has her place and is an icon in the pop music world and all that. And in her younger days was really a remarkable sensation. These days though she does little to impress me. Like a Prayer, though, always has, and always will be one of my favorite songs. Also the dude from "Cool Runnings" is totally the black guy in this video. Yay useless knowlege! "...God?"
20. Ripple, by The Grateful Dead
Absolutely the MOST serene, soothing, peaceful song i've ever come across. I first heard it at age 18. 11 years later nothing has topped it.
Next weeks blog: The Twenty best concerts i've been too
p.s. Westboro Baptist Church; I flick boogers in your general direction.