If you don’t know me then you don’t know that I love to make lists. I have been making lists since I was a youngling and to this day I love to rank everything that interests me. There are some things that are impossible to rank which are the bests of anything. Lists are so subjective that they can never match up with the general conscious of all. So this list isn’t the greatest songs of all time but more like my personal favorites. Some of these songs I just love the sounds and lyrics too and then there are songs that have special meanings to me. When I made this list it was hard to put in certain songs and to leave out others but looking at these ten songs I have to say they match up with the songs that have stayed with me over the years. So here are my ten favorite songs or all time…….
10. The Spiderbite Song by The Flaming Lips
Real friendships can have their ups and downs as we watch are friends succeed and we see them fail. An unfortunate accident, an addiction, and of course the pain of losing love. It is painful to go through these things but sometimes it is more painful to watch are friends go through them as we are helpless. The Lips aren’t trying to explain anything here but just capture the love and devotion that we have for are friends when they hit those rough patches. Cause if it destroyed you, then it would destroy me.
9. Start a War by The National
It was hard to pick a favorite National song but Start a War is the song that I listen to the most out of their catalogue. Like almost every National song, this has to deal with a break up. The moment when a fight has gone to a place of no return. It is about that initial thought of becoming anew and making war on the one who you have loved and cared for. It is a sarcastic song because you will grieve for that person once the dust settles. If you walk away now, your gonna start a war, a war that has no victory.
8. Decatur, Or, Round of Applause for Your Stepmother! by Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Steven’s “States” project may have only lasted two states (Michigan and Illinois) but those two albums had so much substance about the culture and history of each state. Yes, Sufjan could go on his own tangents but most of the songs just took a small part of the state and showed its relevance to the culture of it’s respected state. I’ve never been to Decatur, Illinois but this song almost creates a nostalgic feel for the city. I love his lyrics that tell about an afternoon at the zoo and the people and events that have come before you. Oh and also, be good to your stepmom.
7. Nude by Radiohead
If Pyramid Song can make you feel isolated in the bad sense then Nude makes you feel isolated in the good sense. This song is so peaceful and tranquil as Thom Yorke’s vocals reach an almost euphoric level. The song will either whisk you away among the planets or put you to sleep (in a good sense). This has to be my favorite Radiohead song where the lyrics and the melody are just perfect together. Radiohead is a master in creating mood and if there is any song that comes close to creating a mood for blissfulness it has to be Nude. The funny thing is that Yorke is not singing about external happiness or euphoria, he is singing about lust. Ironic how something that can be perceived as being so beautiful can be so dark at its core.
6. 3rd Planet by Modest Mouse
The first track off Modest Mouse’s best album, the Moon and Antarctica, is 3rd Planet which is such an encompassing song to start off with. Isaac Brock sings about how small and how big are planet and universe is while commenting on his only skill in life. 3rd Planet is the best song lyrically on this list. I really haven’t heard better lyrics from any other song in my lifetime. Brock talks about how we are all connected and how much we have in common with everything around us. Then he sings about 2 becoming 3 and then 3 becoming 2. I don’t want to spell out the meaning to this song to you but it talks about everything from religion to birth and ultimately to death. Its weird how our world can seem so big and something so small can cause it to collapse on itself. The greatest opening track of all time.
5. Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens
In the good times God seems all around us as we believe we see signs of his presence everywhere. It is in loss that God feels distance from us. How can he not be when he is not tangible to us during the most painful parts of out lives. Sufjan Stevens is a devout christen and he sings about the glory of God but this is a song about the pain of losing someone and feeling lost in your sadness. Reliving memories, laughing then crying and wondering why all this happens. Sufjan sings about loss and crying out for answers as God lingers in the silence, hopefully crying with us.
4. Lull by Andrew Bird (Daytrotter Version)
This is the saddest song I have ever heard. It opens up with the most beautiful violin music I have ever heard and continues into slow rhymnic section that Bird is known for. I really don’t want to explain the song because the lyrics speak for themselves but who hasn’t been in a lull of some sort, a feeling of helplessness where happiness seems so far away. Stuck in some middle ground that you can’t escape. If there is an ideal song about depression, this is it. This is Bird’s best work where the lyrics and music fit almost too perfectly.
3. Bartender by Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews has always battled religion. His music seems like a man trying to make himself believe in what he so desperately wants to believe in. Some songs feel forced, as his lyrics never hit any type of certainty about the all mighty but then there is Bartender, which is a song about a whole bunch of questions. Dave bellows out his worries asking the bartender, please. We have so many sorrows in this life and we ask Jesus and God to hear us out but like the bartender, he gives no reply and continues to fill your cup. Dave Matthews has showed his frustrations with what’s above but this song is not about that. It is a cry for help, a cry for answers from god just as we might do alone in some dusty bar, with only a bartender to talk to.
2. Clarity by John Mayer
There is something comforting about John Mayer’s vocals and those catchy claps but most of all is the lyrics, which is clarity in itself. Unless you are somebody who loves being single and being on your own (and trust me there are far less fewer of you then you think) then you need companionship. Trying to find the “one” is not easy because we really don’t know if there is one person for us. We stress about it when we enter into relationships and we worry about if things are going to last. Is this the person I will spend the rest of my life with? You may try to give yourself answers and convince yourself but the true answer lies in time and that is what Clarity is about. Don’t worry about tomorrow cause it hasn’t happened yet and learn to love in the moment. Clarity isn’t about giving up or admitting defeat but it is about putting your worries aside and putting faith in tomorrow. In the hope that time will reveal your fate and it will when you get there. What a comforting thought.
1. #41 by Dave Matthews Band
Who hasn’t experienced losing a friend? When you remember the good times and how you cut someone out of your life. There is so much sadness in this song as Dave sings about losing a friend but that is not why I love this song so much. It is that this is the perfect DMB song. Each member of the band is highlighted and each member contributes so much to the song that it couldn’t work without any of them. DMB is at their best when they mix blues, jazz, and rock together and #41 does this so seamlessly. You can hate on DMB all you want but you’ve probably never heard this song or the songs that truly shows their talents as musicians. While your lost bitchin about Crash or Everyday we DMB fans are left with are treasures that rarely anyone outside of super fandom has heard of. DMB might not be the best band around but their music is comforting and powerful for those who love them and I love this band more than any. I remember senior year listening to this song for the first time and I haven’t stopped listening since.