The Soundtrack of My Life

I was thinking the other day that I would post my top five favorite songs so then I could get others to post their favorite songs. Then I realized that I couldn’t narrow it down to five, and frankly ten was a bit tough as well, so I decided that I’d just list my favorites in no particular order and you guys could chime in with your faves as you like.

The Bands/Singers I Love & My Favorite Songs from Them

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2
This is my favorite song. No question. It is the song I return to when I need to be comforted. It is a song of hope for what is yet to come. The song is so joyful about the search that I am pulled up out of my day-to-day life and reminded that the good is out there and I need to open my eyes and look for it.

I was in junior high the first time I heard U2. A friend of mine handed me The Unforgettable Fire and made me swear to take it home and listen to it. He was a bit on the kooky side and I thought it was another of his weird hair bands. I listened to the album once and knew it was something that would affect me for the rest of my life.

Other U2 songs that I can’t ever hear enough of: Sunday Bloody Sunday, Pride (In the Name of Love), Love and Peace or Else, Beautiful Day, 40.

Losing My Religion – R.E.M.
This song, while it is about a relationship breakup, makes me smile. Only in the US South could “I’m totally fed up with you” become the phrase “losing my religion”. At one time it was a breakup song for me too, but now I just listen to it and think I’m glad that I’m not that tired of anybody in my life.

Other R.E.M. songs that were in the running: Fall On Me, Bang and Blame, Leave, Welcome to the Occupation, Lotus, Turn You Inside Out.

Why Should I Cry for You? – Sting
I love this Sting song for two reasons. At the beginning there this ‘beewedup’ sound that makes me think of water and floating on the ocean. Then there are the lines towards the end of the song: “Sometimes I see your face, The stars seem to lose their place, Why must I think of you?” I think that’s just about the best description of how you can ever possibly feel about your significant other followed by the saddest thing that could ever probably come after it.

Other Sting songs that I heart: Love is the Seventh Wave, Desert Rose, Inside, Mad About You, Shape of my Heart.

Police songs that I can’t do without either: Next to You; Bring on the Night; When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around; Hungry for You (J’Aurais Toujours Faim de Toi); One World (Not Three); Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.

Yeah, I know the list is long. What can I say? I loves me some Gordon Sumner.

Center of Attention – Guster
I’m pretty sure this is how we all feel inside our own heads. I love to sing this song really loud in the car when I’m by myself. The song’s overly bouncy beat with the lyrics’ complete self-centeredness makes me giggle.

Other Guster songs I thought about putting on this list: the whole rest of the “Lost and Gone Forever” album. It’s that good, really.

You Don’t Love Me Yet – Honest Bob and the Factory to Dealer Incentives
Ok, I’ll admit that Stephen and Dan of Honest Bob have been friends for something like ten years. So should I count a friend’s music in my list? I think I should get to count it double on the soundtrack of my life because it’s both something that I enjoy listening to AND I know Dan in real life. This song cracks me up for a variety of reasons but mostly because I can imagine Dan laughing his butt off while writing it.

HBatFtDI songs that I could’ve also listed as my favorites: The Benefits of Language, I Don’t Want to Hear About Your Crappy Boyfriend, My Dinner With Laurie.

A Heading I Cringe at: Christian Music

Radiate – Eric Peters
Geof gave us this album not too long ago and I rolled my eyes because he’s pushed his Christian version of “crying in my beer music” on us before. I am totally eating those words because there is nothing better and brighter (or less “crying in my beer”) than this song.

I dislike being marketed to as a Christian. I hate the idea of a Christian music label. “Oh, you’re a Christian, so you must like ______________.” Usually, not so much. But there are a few gems out there; you just have to dig.

Other contemporary Christian songs that I love: Art in Me and Flood by Jars of Clay. Share the Well by Caedmon’s Call. The Turning, River of Love, Libera Me by Leslie (Sam) Phillips. God Made Me and Passover Us by Andrew Peterson.

Songs I’d love to sing in church that aren’t labeled as Christian music: Seasons of Love – Jonathan Larson Yeah, I know the musical is about drug-addicted AIDS artist wannabes living in NYC, but when I die someone please sing this song at my funeral just so one time this song gets inside a church where it belongs. These are the Days – 10,000 Maniacs “These days you might feel a shaft of light make its way across your face. And when you do you’ll know how it was meant to be.” So completely totally the best line ever.

My Favorite Love Gone Wrong Songs

Mess – Ben Folds Five
Nobody does love gone wrong as well as Ben Folds. And this song is the end-all be-all example of “I have made a huge mess of my life and everything is crap and I don’t even believe in God”. No matter how bad I think my situation is, I can always listen to this song and know I didn’t screw it up as bad as the narrator of this song did.

In Between Days – The Cure
I listened to this song for many years before I realized it was about a love triangle. And when has that ever gone right? At least the narrator apologizes and says he wants you to come back. But we never find out if you do or not. Oh well, it’s at least really catchy dance music.

Porcelain – Moby
“Tell the truth you never wanted me…tell me” Ouch. The first time I heard this line I was listening on headphones. I had heard the song many times and had always managed to miss it because it is whispered inside the music. I think I went back and listened to that about half a dozen times. It still gets me every time. It totally makes the song. Uh, now that I know to listen for it.

Windmills – Toad the Wet Sprocket
I think this is a love gone wrong song. Maybe not. Frankly I’m not really sure, but I love the song anyway. “Take the darkest hour-break it open, Water to repair what we have broken” Love that baptismal imagery.

Three Songs that are in a Category All Their Own, I Just Don’t Know What to Call the Category

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star – as sung by Eli and Liza
I’ll just say that pretty much any time your kid starts singing a song that you’ve been singing to them their whole life you want to freeze time and remember it forever.

Baba O’Riley – The Who
I don’t know what it is about this song. I loved it before I knew the technical wizardry that it took to produce this song. Then once I knew that, I was a total goner. I don’t know what to call it. Teen anthem? It makes me think about being free, with what little hair I have whipping in the wind as I drive down a long road.

Women in Chains – Tears for Fears
A woman’s lib song by men. I don’t know why that works for me but it does.

Two Songs that I Love that Have About a Million Versions

All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix
Actually, Jimi Hendrix’s is not my favorite version. My favorite version is by Michael Hedges, at least this week. The story is great, and surprise, the guitar part is great too. And I love hearing how so many different people have interpreted it.

Such Great Heights – The Postal Service
I loved this song as soon as I heard it. It was pretty much an instant I’m-gonna-love-this-forever kinda thing. Then Eli started to sing it. Then Ben Folds covered it and then many, many college a capella choirs. We all love it. I am a sucker for the catchy, catchy pop tune. And so is everybody else, I guess.

5 thoughts on “The Soundtrack of My Life

  1. Just because I gave you that one Over the Rhine album [that your husband likes, mind you …] 😉

    But I hate “Christian” music more than most folks, actually.

  2. ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I Am Looking For’ brings special moments of remembering our time together on Bronco Lane, your bedroom, and that tree picture on your wall.
    Love from Mom.

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