Now that I live in Austin I spend a lot of my day stuck in its infamous traffic. It seriously starts at 3 in the afternoon and doesn’t let up until about 9 at night. Being that I spend a lot of time in my car, I have a lot of time to listen to music. I also have a lot of time to debate in my mind what my favorite songs are. There are a couple staples that have stayed with me for years and years and will never relinquish their spots on this list. Then there are others that are new to the game and could be interchangeable as the years go on and my music taste either matures or worsens.
So without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite songs of all time.
10. “Right Here, Right Now” – Fatboy Slim
Reading these first few entries on the list you may realize that I really like a good instrumental score. The basis for if I truly like a song is if I can picture it set against some sort of film or television show – it’s me, go figure – and scores seem to have that impact on me. However, if you were to ask me to name any other Fatboy Slim song, I probs couldn’t do the deed. “Right Here, Right Now” was and has been the peak interest I’ve had with the 90’s band. This song is so incredibly campy, creepy, sexy, and intense that it’s no wonder Veronica Mars used it when she finally uncovered who the campus rapist was. And if a song is used to unmask the evil of rape, well, then it’s fine by me.
9. “Intro/Islands” – The xx
I’m still in a love affair with The xx. As I mentioned above, the mark of a good song for me is if I can picture it set to a moving picture. Add to the fact that I can listen to it at night before bed on a continuous repeat and you’ve got yourself the number 9 position on this list. It’s hard for me to choose just one song off of their debut album, that’s why they get two. Both “Intro” and “Islands” are perfectly cinematic in that they make you feel incredibly sexy and give you an I-could-own-the-world-right-now-if-I-wanted-to attitude every time you give it a listen.
8. “In The Hall of The Mountain King” – Edvard Grieg
It’s the greatest piece of symphony work in the history of symphony work if you ask me. Only one word can really describe it and give it justice: EPIC.
7. “White Winter Hymnal” – Fleet Foxes
It’s hard to not hear the beginning of this song and not automatically feel safe and warm. While Fleet Foxes have admitted that the lyrics in the song don’t mean too much and that the song was initially made to experiment with different vocal techniques, the feeling that I get after listening to this song is much like a little boy on Christmas morning. I feel like I’m on the plush carpet in my grandparents wood cabin up in the high mountains of Alaska with a nice fire cracklin’ next to 7 welsh corgi puppies sleeping soundly. That is to say, I feel at peace with everything in the world.
6. “Hurt” – Johnny Cash
For the longest time I used this song as the fantasy theme song to my fantasy television show that I dreamed about creating. There is so much raw emotion in Cash’s version, that he makes Nine Inch Nails’ ode to regret and the low’s of life all his own. I still get goosebumps whenever I listen to the song, and if I’m watching the music video whilst listening, then bring on the waterworks. My father gave me an interest in Johnny Cash, Walk The Line gave me respect for Johnny Cash, Cash himself gave me love for the man in black.
5. “Rolling In The Deep” – Adele
Much like celebrity deaths, there are certain songs that when you hear for the first time you can remember every aspect of what was going on during those few minutes. During the first time that my ears were honored to hear this 3 minutes and 48 seconds I was sitting in my apartment at my desk completely in shock and awe at the power that I was hearing. While a lot of people are sick of the song because of its constant radio play, I could hear this song everyday (and I did for a good year) and never tire of it. This is the one moment of my life that I will allow for cockiness and arrogance because upon hearing this song, I rushed to tell my good friend, Lion-Haired Girl, about it and swore that if she did not sweep the next years Grammy’s for the song then I knew nothing about nothing. Thank you Grammy committee for proving my prophecy correct.
4. “No Cars Go/ Neighborhoods #3 (Power Out) – Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire is my all time favorite band… for all time. When I talk about music sounding cinematic, this band is the standard to which I hold. It’s so incredibly hard for me to pick just one song of theirs to stick on this list, that is why they also get two. I’ve had the privilege of seeing the band perform 3 separate times, and all 3 times they completely blew me out of the water by inventing a completely new show. “No Cars Go” is my fantasy song that if I had any musical talent at all, I would perform in front of thousands of people and they would be oh so impressed. “Power Out” is my ringtone, running song, shower song, driving song, everything song. This is the song that I make people listen to first if they’ve never heard of the band. It’s powerful, playful, and like almost everything the band does – fun.
3. “Crazy In Love” – Beyoncé
This be my jam! Like Adele, Beyoncé’s tour de force of a first single will always and forever be the greatest female pop song. This is the song you crank at the beginning of a party to get everyone in the mood to keep going all night long. From the first note of those blaring horns to the final uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, oh no no, Bey and Jay keep the insane anthem to hot love thumping. My awkward junior high school moment memory comes courtesy of this song. Thanks to the radio playing it in my 7th grade art class, I came to realize, only by the time the song was over, that I was the only one belting out lyrics… in front of the whole class. That is what this song does for you, though. It takes you to the soul-funk world that Miss Knowles created and only lets up once the dust has settled after all those booty bounces.
2. “Walk Through The Fire” – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The moment where you realize that you can no longer live in youth adolescence, but rather have to nut up and just deal with the problems that the world can throw at you has never been more clear than in this Joss Whedon penned song from “Once More With Feeling.” I love this song so much that I painted lyrics from it onto a canvas and pinned it up on my bathroom wall sophomore year of college. “I will walk through the fire cause where else can I turn. I will walk through the fire and let it burn” is what greeted me each morning. Many could have taken this as a sign of depression, but to me it was just a reminder that life isn’t all sunshine. The villains sometimes win, the good guys don’t always get their way, and that is okay. That is the way life is. The song has basically been my free therapist for the past few years. Now that I am in the transition of moving from adolescent boy into a, hopefully, strong man, I can’t think of a better song to guide me.
1. “Evil” – Interpol
For some strange reason, this labyrinth of a song about a two timing bro-dude was my introduction into what music could do. Up until my listening of this song, I had never really paid much attention to music. I listened to what was on the radio, whatever country CD my family played in the car (Gretchen Wilson for the win), and the NOW! compilation cassettes I owned. This song is the reason I have my “picture it set to film” rule. This song is how I learned I could be inspired by something. This song is the reason Interpol can do no wrong. This song is creepy, it’s confusing, it’s funny, it’s completely terrifying when you watch the music video (I have a thing about dolls and puppets), and yet, it captivated my young mind as to what music could do for a person. It’s still the most played song on my iTunes, and whenever it shuffles on I can’t help but press the repeat button and feel like that young lad once again.
Well there you have it, folks. You stuck with this list until the very end. I hope that you got more out of this list than just “geez, his music taste kinda sucks.” Now I’d like to hear from you. What are your favorite songs? What music moments make you stop every single time they’re played? Let me know in the comments below.