About 10 years ago, I was standing in the middle of this crazy sale at a music store. My friends were snapping up half price CDs with abandon. I stood, paralyzed by indecision. How could I possibly buy “X”, when I hadn’t bought “Y” or “Z”? A friend suggested there may be some mathematical formula whereby I could take the emotion out of it, and figure out which CDs were worthy of purchasing. (He’s a doctor now. And he never did work on my formula. Slacker.) Anyhow, I have always said I should commit to a top 10 songs of all time list. I came up with the list that follows. I know that some of it (OK, most of it) may not involve the finest song writing of all time. Nor the best musicianship. At least 70% of it is context (who I was with, how I felt, etc). I will try to explain where possible. And I reserve the right to amend this list at any time. God, I love lists. Well, here goes. In no particular order:
1. “Jolene” by Dolly Parton – Besides the fact that I love Dolly’s voice (clean, yet emotional), it is her songwriting prowess I admire most. This is just 2 chicks, all the bullshit stripped away, pure desperation.
2. “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper – Actually, I like this song done by just about anybody. That’s part of its charm; I’ve never heard a version (acoustic, electric, male, female) that I couldn’t find something to love about. Plus, I sound fucking AWESOME with this song in the car.
3. “Man In The Box” by Alice in Chains – One of those songs I can already see making me turn to the kids on a long car trip and go “Kids, in the 90’s, it was all about grunge. And this was the shit.” And they will roll their eyes. And turn up the grandson of the ipod. Whatever.
4. “Everlong” by Foo Fighters – Never fails to make me drive just a little faster, and want to feel things a little more intensely. This is probably my absolute favorite.
5. “Moondance” by Van Morrison – Especially when sung on what felt like the first night of spring by 2 amazing women on the way to shake it at a gay bar 😉 Its just good.
6. “C’mon C’mon” by the Von Bondies – It doesn’t hurt that its the theme song to one of my favorite shows (Rescue Me). Its kind of a chicken and egg thing – Do I like the show for the theme song, or do I associate the song with the show. Either way, they both make my Tuesday night.
7. “Good Mother” by Jann Arden – She is one of the funniest damn people I have ever heard. And her songs are so sad. But sad in a “I needed a good cry. I feel better” way.
8. “The Lady is a Tramp” by Ella Fitzgerald – I got into her in the late 90’s. And then she died. Damn. She sounds so playful in this song. I would have loved to have hung out with young, swingin’ Ella in the 40’s.
9. “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode – “Hey I have a great idea. Let’s drive from Alberta to Ontario. Through the northern United States. We’re 19. We’ve got your parent’s credit card for expenses. We’ve got a boy you had a humungous crush on all year, in the backseat. Grab the Depeche Mode cassettes and let’s go!”
10. “American Music” by the Violent Femmes – I realized my youth was dead (or at least gasping for air) when I was singing this song, got to the part about “Did you do too many drugs? I did too many drugs. Did you too many drugs too? Baby…”, looked in the rear view mirror, and caught my kid’s confused look. Oops.
I unofficially tag anyone who read this. Confession is good for the soul, folks.