What’s that? A CD? Never heard of it. Music is such a big part of my life. It has the power to completely absorb me, to change my state of mind, to bring me joy and to break my heart. It’s wonderful. So I had an idea. I thought it might be fun to share some of my favourite songs of all time – the ones that have stuck with me over the years – and to tell you a little bit about each song’s history for me. Here goes.
The Only Living Boy In New York – Simon & Garfunkel
Where to start with this song. It’s heavenly. The funny thing about this song is that, when I looked it up, I discovered that it’s actually about Paul Simon’s feelings of loneliness when Art Garfunkel left to Mexico. But to me it embodies an intense feeling of freedom. That might be because I associate it so strongly with the scene from which it was used in Garden State. I’ve thought about getting this song title tattooed on my arm to remind me of what is it to be free in life.
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Like most others, I love me some Pink Floyd. This song stands out to me though. It’s less abstract and more personal. I’ll admit, I love a good sad song. I will also forever remember this song because this was one of the songs my friend Emily sang at her first guitar recital. She has an amazing voice that was made to be heard, so listening to her finally singing out loud for everyone was a moment of joy.
Casimir Pulaski Day – Sufjan Stevens
When I said that music has the ability to break my heart, well this is an example. This song, about a boy who falls for a girl with cancer, is so innocent and beautiful. It has brought tears to my eyes many a time. The line “on the floor at the great divide, with my shirt tucked in and my shoes untied, I am crying in the bathroom” is so raw and relatable for anyone who has dealt with tragedy.
The Animals Were Gone – Damien Rice
Finding Damien Rice was the beginning of it all for me. Before him I never really cared that much about music. At age 13 I was listening to whatever to trash was on the radio. Then one of my sisters showed me “The Blower’s Daughter” and a whole world opened up. I fell deeply in love with this Irish singer and over ten years later I still feel the same way. Incidentally, his concert was the first and best concert I’ve ever attended.
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead – Stars
The Stars are one fantastic group. “In Our Bedroom After The War” is one of my favourite albums of all time, but this song from “Set Yourself On Fire” is the cream of the crop. That moment where the quote ends and the strings begin is absolutely delicious.
La Noyee – Yann Tiersen
I loved the movie Amelie, in large part due to the soundtrack. Yann Tiersen composed so many beautiful pieces for that film, a couple of which I actually learned on piano (yay), but I think what I love about this one is that it makes me feel thoroughly alive. That’s a wonderful thing to get from a piece of music.
Scar Tissue – Red Hot Chili Peppers
I’ll admit I had trouble deciding what Chili Peppers song to pick for this list. There are too many good’n’s. I was tempted to pick “Under the Bridge,” but I think this is the one that I most can’t get enough of. I used to sing along to this song having absolutely no idea what he was saying. I don’t even remember what noises I was making. When I finally looked at the lyrics it was like a brand new song to me.
The Chain – Fleetwood Mac
I was at my friend Libby’s house one day many, many years ago and she said “time for a little Fleetwood.” She put on the album “Rumors” and all these memories came flooding back. My dad used to listen to that album all the time when I was growing up and I had completely forgotten about it. It was like finding a long lost love. The Chain has to be my absolute favourite as it’s such a passionate telling of the separation between the two lead vocalists.