Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Songs that gave me pause

I was recently reading Nick Hornsby's Songbook (which is excellent, BTW) which is basically a list of songs that he finds notable and descriptions as to why. A little while ago I started collecting songs that were appropo for my life and keeping them in chronological order. Yea, I know, I have too much time on my hands sometimes. At any rate, those songs were ones that had something to do with my life at that point. I liked the concept that Hornsby talked about in terms of songs that immediately strike you, not ones that get into your skull eventually but rather the ones that you can remember hearing the very first time and thinking, god damn that is one talented S.O.B. So, I of course pulled my list together. Nicky is much wittier (and more verbose) but here they are:

- The Blower's Daughter (Damien Rice) - Heard in the movie "Closer", unthinkably I actually stopped noticing Natalie Portman and just started wondering what in the world that song was. There was something in his voice that made me feel like he really meant every word of the song. Wonderful song with and awful title.
- Look what the Cat Dragged In (Michael Penn) - My friend Dave and I heard this during College while driving down to Philly. We are both talkers. This song came on the radio and there was complete silence, neither of us had heard it before and neither of us knew what to say.
- Such great heights (Iron and Wine) - Heard in the movie "Garden State", ok, maybe it is just Natalie Portman but this was another song that was charming, warm, and utterly beautiful. I later found out it was a cover of the song written by The Postal Service (which is great in its own way) but the intepretation makes all the difference.
- One Week (Barenaked Ladies) - I was driving home from a wedding with Emily Duquette (and old friend of my sister's) when this came on the radio. I don't suspect the Barenaked Ladies get plopped into many people's list of amazing songs but you gotta give this one credit. The premise is one we are all familiar with and it is immediately likable. Upbeat, fun, and flippant. I think it reminds me of me.
- Most of the time (Bob Dylan) - I'll go out on a limb here and say that I don't really like Bob Dylan. I find his voice grating, yea, I know, it is supposed to be. Maybe that is why I was so struck with this song, not only did it not annoy me, but I really liked it.
- Because (Elliot Smith) - Have you noticed the trend of songs from movies? I first heard this at the end of "American Beauty" when watching it with Matt. Part of it is just that the movie was excellent and poignant, but this song topped it off well. The song also stands well on it's own, but it will always have the association for me, and it's a good one.
- Time to Say Goodbye (Andrea Bocelli) - Going in a totally different direction is this song. I first heard it in Vegas at the Bellagio Fountains during Steven Loewy's bachelor party. We spent a good portion of the night hanging by that fountain. Watching the crazy spectacle that is Vegas. These fountains though are really well done. Sure, they're a bit cheesy, but than ain't always bad. After the fountains we went out to a "club" and I met a fascinating young woman and chatted for hours. Good and memorable night.
- Overkill (Colin Hay) - Ah yes, Colin Hay. This song was in the final episode of the first season of "Scrubs". It was an old Men at Work song. Listen to it sometime, it is hard not to like.
- Closer (Nine Inch Nails) - You ever hear a song and immediately you know what they wanted to do when the wrote it? Closer isn't just about sex, it is sex. The music takes you from the beginning to the end of a sexual encounter. Unreal.
- Porcelain (Moby) - I was hypnotized the first time I ever heard it. Moby does magic with music. He's put out some crap but this wasn't it.
- Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley) - There are a million versions of this song and many people will tell me this isn't the best one. Well, guess what, it is my favorite. My friend John Clarke first introduced me to Jeff Buckley. John has interesting taste. Some of it is awful and some is great. I think he is a bit more adventurous than most. Well, this adventure paid off.

I'm sure I'll run into more in my life, well, I really hope I run into more, but this is a good start.


christopher said...

Excellent song list, Greg. Thanks for posting it! BTW, I've listened carefully to that NIN song several times now and don't get why you think it has something to do with sex...

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