It’s been a while since I’ve listed these so there’s probably some I’ve forgotten, but here’s a bunch anyway:
Catherine Wheels: Crowded House
Off their Together Alone album, I had this little gem in my head the morning I found out Grandad had passed away. So it’s now imbued with that sadness and poignancy in my head, and will probably forever remind me of that moment.
Your Love Goes On: Hothouse Flowers
Oh heck, I might as well just put their whole back catalogue on this thing. They’re certainly my band of the year, partially because I saw them live, and partially because I’ve fallen in love with their music all over again. This song is one I actually don’t have on an album, but it’s awesome. Perhaps the best worship song ever.
Eyes Wide Open: Hothouse Flowers
Told you I might as well put them all on…but this one is a serious contender. It’s so darn happy, and never fails to put me in a good mood. “I had the strangest…feeling…helping…of love coming on me.”
Ghost of Tom Joad: Bruce Springsteen
My goodness, this is a great song. Many songs about being down and out glorify it, but this one has it in all its raggedness and sadness yet somehow dignifies it in some sense. As first world christians especially I think we overglamorize poverty sometimes (“Blessed are the poor…”), but this hits home to me the reality of it for most people.
“He pulls his prayer book out of his sleepin’ bag
The Preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
He’s waitin’ for the time when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box ‘neath the underpass
With a one way ticket to the promised land
With a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand
Lookin’ for a pillow of solid rock
Bathin’ in the city’s aquaduct…”
Both Sides Now: Joni Mitchell
She just writes great songs that would sound good without music.
Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
Ive looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really dont know clouds at all.
O Yeah: End of Fashion
I tried really hard not to like this…but there it is. A shameless piece of pop brilliance.
Leaving New York: REM
These guys are just amazing – still writing songs that move you with a simple four chord progression. The echo bit at the end won’t fail to make your heart soar.
Then there’s the Simon and Garfunkel section. I like to think maybe I was named after Paul Simon, even though I probably wasn’t, but I know that my parents liked S&G, and therefore I probably heard it fairly young. Anyway, I got their Essentials this year, and it’s been a great education in spirited folk (continuing from Joni). Favourites include:
Sound of Silence
How can you make a song that literally sounds like silence while making noise? They somehow did it. And included in it some of the best and most profound poetry/prose this side of Shakespeare.
I’ve already blogged on this song, but it’s an unbelievably well written lyric too.
Counting Crows covered this a while back, and it’s so much fun, with a really different beat and possibly the most foolishly optimistic lovesong ever penned. A whole lot of fun.
Making love in the afternoon
With Cecilia, up in my bedroom
I got up to wash my face
When I come back to bed someone’s taken my place!
Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart, you’re shaking my confidence daily….
And then the outro:
Jubilation! She loves me again!
I fall on the floor and I’m laughing…
The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy):
I have to admit, this song is forever going to be Anthony’s. Just the second time he was here, he randomly picked up my guitar and started playing and singing a slowed down version. Every time I hear it now, I think of him and smile. Feelin’ Groovy indeed.