Sunday, 13 June 2010

Soundtrack for forever

Over at her blog, BT wrote about songs that she can "never play out" -- the ones she'll never get tired of -- and solicited those of her readers. I wound up writing an enormous comment back to her, and then it got so enormous that it actually hit the limits of commenting on blogger, so I thought that I would just write the damn thing over here instead. So here it is: a brief record of the songs that I can listen to without end (in no particular order).

1. Arctic Monkeys -- Fluorescent Adolescent
It was tough to pick a single AM song but this one has it all -- catchy music, great lyrics, Northern accents, sing-along ease, and reminds me of my road trip through Iceland with Lesl and Jules. What could be better?
2. Belle and Sebastian -- Another Sunny Day
This song will remind me of my time in the UK long after it has passed.
3. Death Cab for Cutie -- We Looked Like Giants
Another great one for the memories. The song sounds epic and reminds me of the Rockies -- though the first time I heard it was lying in a car in the dark with a bad tummyache, listening on my ipod while on holiday with my parents in California.
4. Elbow -- Grounds for Divorce
The opening lines of this song say it all: sexy, sad, sarcastic.
5. Elvis Perkins in Dearland -- While You Were Sleeping
This one is whimsical, weaving in and out of a lover's dreams, with fantastical imagery.
6. Franz Ferdinand -- anything from S/T
This album reminds me of two things: first, the semester I studied abroad in London in autumn 2004, and second, the road trip from London to Land's End and back that Zuzanna and I took in spring 2005. Basically this album reminds me of some of my greatest moments, and, conversely, my most homesick. It also really reminds me of the greatest live show I've ever seen -- FF at Brixton Academy, jumping up and down in a shower of beer.
7. Harvey Danger -- Jack the Lion
I can't really describe why, but I never get tired of this song. Many thanks to Devin for introducing me to this awesome band.
8. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins -- Rise up with Fists
This was the first thing I ever heard by Jenny Lewis, and although I have since gone on to enjoy most of what she's done, this is the one that still sticks with me. Defiant and wistful and lyrically wonderful.
9. Kanye West -- Jesus Walks
I first heard this song in an advert for that Jake Gyllenhaal movie about the first Gulf War when I was in Australia and I was instantly hooked.
10. LCD Soundsystem -- All My Friends
Sometimes a song comes along that sums up how I feel perfectly. This one does that, all while building up to an epic sound over the course of nearly ten minutes. The anticipation kills me every time.
11. Modest Mouse -- The Stars are Projectors
Like many of the bands on this list, I went through about ten different MM songs before I settled on this one.
12. Nada Surf -- Inside of Love
Same as the above. But the sentiment in this song strikes me every time, no matter if I am inside or outside.
13. Neutral Milk Hotel -- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Hipsters of the aughts everywhere gonna shout: LOVE THIS SONG.
14. Radiohead -- Reckoner (Rune RK Remadoodle)
I heard this song for the first time after a drive of many hours through the Icelandic countryside. It came onto my ipod (having downloaded it but not listened to it) just as the van descended from a high pass and into a fjord -- the first fjord as one enters the centre of the West Fjords -- and just as a low-slung fog settled over the water and obscured the hillsides. This song never fails to remind me of the breathtaking and otherworldly beauty of that place.
15. Rilo Kiley -- Portions for Foxes
I love how fierce this song is.
16. St Jude's Infirmary -- The Church of John Coltrane
Found on the now-defunct lj music-sharing community __rhapsodical, this song is pretty much one of the greatest of all time. The lyrics blow me away every time. Unfortunately the band has never produced anything even near as good, as far as I can tell...
17. The Arcade Fire -- Neighbourhood #2 (Laika)
I can't explain why I love this song so much, other than a passing reference to my childhood hero, Alexander the Great. But it ranks #1 on my account for most plays -- 138 since November 2004, and that's just on winamp, not counting ipod -- 30 more than the next contender (Heart it Races by Architecture in Helsinki).
18. The Clash -- White Man in Hammersmith Palais
I can't really explain why, but this song is my favourite Clash song. I think it's the lyrics:
Punk rockers in the UK
They won't notice anyway
They're all too busy fighting
For a good place under the lighting
I'm the all night drug-prowling wolf
Who looks so sick in the sun
I'm the white man in the Palais
Just lookin' for fun
19. The Decemberists -- The Engine Driver
This song captured my first broken heart in the most maudlin way possible, at the most maudlin time possible. All these years later, it still resonates.
20. Wolf Parade -- This Heart's on Fire
This song is what being in love feels like, to me.

Ok, I lied, there is an order -- alphabetical. Whoops!

21. Of Montreal -- The Party's Crashing Us Now
It's solely down to the line, "We made love like a pair of black wizards." Ever since hearing it, that is how I always strive to make love.

Super double bonus:
22. Jay-Z -- 99 Problems
I don't know what you take me as, or if you can you understand the intelligence that Jay-Z has.

1 comment:

  1. "In the Aeroplane" makes my Honorable Mentions list (which might get its own entry someday) - and though I think you first recommended it, it was on TW's advice that I really gave it a listen and fell in love. With the song. Not him. Because he's a cad.

    I might have to amend my list to include "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight;" the mix of references to DC, memories of listening to it in our room sophomore year and its association with The Best Summer Ever really put it up there.

    And "Church of John Coltrane" really does have amazing, amazing lyrics. Like, all of them. Best random song EVAR.