My little ‘Top Five Songs You Wish You Never Heard So You Could Hear Again For The First Time’ had me feeling a bit incomplete. Those songs belong in their places, but I feel like I’ve left out some important ones. Well, as a music fan, I feel like the list will never be complete. However, I feel the need to do a ‘Top Few More Songs You Wish You Never Heard So You Could Hear Again’. I’m at the amount of wine where I’m certainly not drunk, but I am certainly over television and the like, and only want to be with my music.
Either way, this list will be far from comprehensive. I feel like one of these days I need to make a ‘Top Random Pop Hits’ list in order to make it right, because there are an inordinate amount of AM hits from the sixties and seventies that have shaped my musical taste. I blame this on the fact that I was raised on KRTH 101.1 Los Angeles, my favorite radio station of all time (Southern California people will get this). Okay, wow, rambling. Anyway, although Bob and Joni are two artists I listen to on a daily basis and would die without, I feel that this list will add the other artists who are essential to my existence (I love how I’m writing this as if some of you out there are really interested in my life).
Now, I am going to attempt to write reasonings for each song, and I must tell you, it will be more fleshed out than the previous post. This is not because I love these songs more or love those songs less (definitely not), it’s just that I am in a more verbose mood at the moment.
Thunder Road: I somehow got my hands on this album (Born to Run) via my father’s cd collection my seventh grade year. I remember that it was seventh grade because I had an assignment asking that I made a soundtrack of my life, and this song was on it. From the first time I heard it, and this was the first Bruce Springsteen song I remember hearing, it elaborated on the idea that American Girl had planted; it was one thing to have the dream to get out of the suburbs and do something great (American Girl) and it was another thing to do it (Thunder Road). As Bruce says, if it’s a town full of losers, you gotta pull out of here to win.
One of my favorite blogs pointed out about this song, “I decided, this, this is it, this is the first dance song at my wedding. And before you’re all what if he doesn’t LIKE Bruce Springsteen, the answer is that man is not my husband.” I don’t care how silly it is, but it’s true. If a man can’t appreciate this song, he’s not gonna be my husband.
On another note, my friend (HEY NICHOLE) and I were commencement speakers at our eight grade graduation and I used a line from this song (‘These two legs will take us anywhere’) as well as a line from Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (‘I changed by not changing at all’) in my speech. To this day, I still can’t decide if I was among the coolest eighth graders or the lamest.
Black: When Korey and I became best friends in seventh grade, I remember having her over to my house and putting on some (I thought) obscure Who recordings. One of the recordings was a song they recorded as The High Numbers called Leaving Here. Korey, like any good younger sister of a kid who was a teenager in the nineties said, “Hey, this is a Pearl Jam song!” The connection was made. I introduced her to The Who, and she, thank God, introduced me to Pearl Jam.
Black really didn’t become a significant song to me until I was older. I remember being stood up at sixteen years old on New Year’s Eve, listening to this album and crying to this song. The next day, I forgave my boyfriend, but the song still stuck with me. “Oh, and all I taught her was everything. Oh, I know she gave me all that she wore” came into play as I became more adult in my relationships; Ed demonstrated how I felt better than I ever could have. I could go on forever about the structure of the lyrics in this song, but Ed’s helpless yelps at the end say more than any string of words in the English language could.
Also, for the record, the only time I have ever cried at a show was when I saw Pearl Jam for the first time and they played this.
L.A. Woman: This one is going to be short, but anyone who has know me from the age of eleven will be able to verify it. For some reason, when I was eleven, I made the decision to listen to better music. Since I wanted to go to UCLA and be an L.A. woman, when I went through my dad’s cd’s, this album stood out to me. I put the album, skipped to this track, and that was it. It was the first Doors song I ever heard and from that point on I fell in love with music.
It’s safe to say, had I never listened to the Doors, my life would have turned out drastically different. It sounds ridiculous to attribute so much to a band, an album, but it’s true. Had I never listened to the Doors, I would have never been interested in music, my dad would have never shown me Almost Famous, I would have never had the idea to be a journalist. I would be a completely different person. In fact, I probably would have been a cheerleader in high school.
Valentine: Paul Westerberg came into my life later compared to every artist I have mentioned on either of these lists. Since I was a Pearl Jam fan and a Cameron Crowe fan, Korey and I decided to watch Singles at the end of our seventh grade year. Clearly, we were in it for Pearl Jam, but I found the score and the songs written for the movie irresistible. I learned the infectious songs Waiting For Somebody and Dyslexic Heart were written by a man named Paul Westerberg who was once in a band called the Replacements. However, I didn’t give too much thought to it.
Fast forward a year and a half later and I was at my local record store (Lou’s!) flipping through used cd’s. I came across the Replacements album, Pleased to Meet Me. Even knowing that the man who was responsible for the Singles songs was behind the band, I was still hesitant to purchase the cd. It was when I glanced at the track list, noting a song called “Alex Chilton”, did I decide to buy the cd. Since I was already an established Big Star fan, I figured any band who wrote a song about the front man had to have some merit.
When I came home and put on the cd, it was a song called Valentine that ended up defining my identity as a Replacements fan. Even at fifteen, when I heard the lines “If you were a pill I’d take a handful at my will and I’d knock you back with something sweet and strong”, I knew that that was the only kind of love I ever wanted. Like A Case of You, the song describes a lethal mix in any other situation, but when it comes to love, it’s not only survivable, it’s necessary. I’ve often entertained the idea of having this song as my wedding song (willing the groom agrees, but honestly, come on), and kind of scoffed at the notion of having such an alternative choice. But then I remember, I want my love to be like the love Paul describes. Yeah, it may be a bit unorthodox, but it’s true.
Enough rambling for tonight I’d say. I also think some of you folks should make your own top fives, because I would love to read them.
Korey and Emily forever. From 2003-2011 and beyond.
Yep, I’m drunk, but that doesn’t make a difference. Me and Kor forevers.
And Eddie Vedder. And Pearl Jam. And Mother Love Bone. Whatever. Grunge. Whatever.
In preparation for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, I have been heavily listening to Joan Baez, my top priority for the weekend. Emmylou has been making her way in my playlists as well.
Unfortunately, MC Hammer is playing during my Contemporary American Lit class, so it appears I will not be able to casually mention “Yeah, I’ve seen MC Hammer live” in the near future. And if I don’t see Elvis Costello or T-Bone Burnett, no worries, because I am seeing them in a few weeks.
But after this weekend, it is back to all things Neil and Eddie. Bridge School will certainly be the highlight of my season.