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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My 100 Favorite Songs

WAY back on February 26, Tosy did this thing about his 100 favorite songs. And being a good thief blogger, I thought that I'd do the same thing. I checked out the criteria Tosy used:
I am considering "rock/pop" songs only, albeit from a pretty loose definition. Still, this means no standards, no musical theater songs, no jazz songs.
OK, no April in Paris. Nothing from Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.
I'm also limiting my list to songs I own. Can do that.
Now - what makes a great song? For me, it's a couple of things. I tend to gravitate towards songs that do something different. Not that you won't find any three-chord guitar, bass, and drums songs in my list, but I tend to score extra points for including a trumpet, or a good synth line, or strings--in organic and effective ways. Or for doing something new with structure. Or for an artfully expressed idea. Got it.
I'm pretty forgiving on lyrics - I'll take a good tune, or a neat chord change or progression, or a clever arrangement, with bad lyrics over good lyrics with boring music any day of the week. Well, OK, but there are some songs where the lyric content really knocks me out.
But most importantly--and this will be the hardest to nail down as I write about these songs, given how ephemeral and subjective it is - a song has to move me. Whether to tears, joy, ecstasy, anger, or sorrow is mostly irrelevant, but it has to trigger emotion in some way to be great.
Great description. But SO much music moves me that this really became problematic.

For instance, Private Eyes by Hall & Oates. I'm a sucker for hand claps; the Supremes' Where Did Our Love Go also is in that list. "Private eyes" (clap) "are wanting you" (clap clap). A guilty pleasure. But does it hit the level of moving me? Well, maybe, with a feeling of fun, but it's not on the list.

Or Aqualung by Jethro Tull which a late friend and I tortured his stepkids lipsynching to. It evokes the moment, it has the changing rhythms and volumes, and I suppose could have made the list.

Time Is Tight - Booker T. and the MGs. Possibly my favorite instrumental, and it makes me happy. But..

Heck, anything with a good bass line could have been considered. Ultimately, I found that the winnowing of songs was extremely difficult, much more so that selecting albums or movies. I abandoned the project at least twice. Probably 75 of these songs could have been substituted for 75 others. So what DID make the list? Keep watching starting next week.
What pop song contains the lyrics
"I was knee high to a chicken
When that love bug bit me."
Alan David Doane is currently selling off some comics on his blog, so he can get his wife's car fixed and other things.


1 comment:

Alan David Doane said...

Thanks for the plug, Roger!