Songs for Slayk

Slayk asked me to do this approximately 1,000,000 years ago, so I figure it’s about damn time.

List your current six favorite songs, then pick six more people to do that, too.

Now, I generally don’t really have favorite songs. My favorite songs when I am in one mood are likely different from my favorite songs when I am feeling a different way. But instead of refusing to pick, I’m going to give you six of the songs that have the greatest emotional effect on me. If I had to make a list of the songs I feel the greatest connection to, the songs that I feel best capture the essence of what I am and what I feel these would be as close to the top of the list as I could come up with:

Something Corporate - Hurricane

This is the only song on the list which is not lyrically important to me—it’s all about the music.

The song reminds me of a spectacular day in August two years ago, driving in a convertible under the warm sun on a crazy adventure with two girls I hardly knew. It was one of those days where all real world concerns had been forgotten, every negative aspect of life disappearing in a whirlwind of excitement (I’ve been having a bunch of these days recently as well). The driver repeated this song—one I had largely ignored on this album—and there, with the volume up and and the windows down, it hit me and I realized what I had been missing.

And the transition into the piano solo is orgasmic.

Counting Crows - Anna Begins

My brother has always loved Counting Crows. I never really cared one way or the other about the band. But my brother always, always made fun of all of the music that I listened to. It was another opportunity to tease me. So I learned to dislike his music (well, mainly just his favorite band) as a counterattack. After he had moved out and stopped bugging the crap out of me I listened to Counting Crows more and found a few songs that I really loved. Especially Anna Begins. Humorously, when my brother came home from college one year and had some computer problems I discoved that he had a whole bunch of music on his computer from all the bands I loved and he teased me about. So I had to laugh at him.

Anyway, I’m not sure exactly what it is about this song that I love, but like most of these songs I think it has to do with the fact that the song builds. The music starts simple and relaxed but by the end it is rich and full. The lyrics are narrative (something I always like) and personal and capture a mood I can relate to (“every word is nonsense but I understand it all”).

Eve 6 - Open Road Song

If there is one lyricist I can relate to he is Max Collins of Eve 6. There’s nothing showy or pretentious about what he writes. It’s straight from the hip with a slight twist of word play which makes it just that much more enjoyable.

Open Road Song is a celebration of life and freedom. It’s about that feeling you get when, even if life sucks, you laugh at it and hit the gas. It’s about an appreciation for your own company: “I don’t need a girl, don’t need a friend because my friend lonesome is unconditional”. It’s all the beauty of being single, when you may not have the luxuries of love but you have a life that is completely yours and completely free from complications—and there’s glory in that.

So you drive on, alone in with the darkness, headlights carving a path for a solitary yet complete being.

Bad Religion - Punk Rock Song

I discovered this song (and this band) mid-high school. I don’t always agree with their (left-leaning) politics but I can connect on their strong pro-atheist lyrics. Few bands are as willing to put it all out there and not try to hide their unpopular opinions. Bad Religion has done it from the start and rocked enough to stay in the music scene.

Punk Rock Song is about helping other people. And while I don’t believe that we have an obligation to help other people, I do support encouraging people to do so, which is what this song does. It effectively raises a social awareness about the issue: “$10 million on a losing campaign / 20 million starving and writhing in vain / big strong people unwilling to give / small in vision and perspective”. It doesn’t point fingers, it just asks you to open your eyes. And I guess it hit a nerve.

Third Eye Blind - My Hit and Run

I get a more complete set of imagery from this song than from any other. From the first time I heard the lyrics I could have storyboarded you a complete music video.

The lyrics tell the story of a motorcycle accident. And while the singer was in the air, inches from death, a face came to mind—and not a face he was expecting. And when he was fortunate enough to survive the crash, it left him with the realization that he needed to spend more time with this person because if his life had ended there, that would not have been enough. “In the shattered glass refractions there’s a sign / because you were there and I wish we had more time.”

Something Corporate - Konstantine

I think I can safely say that this is my absolute favorite song.

No other song has as great an ability to rouse emotions from my past. No other song can reduce me to tears almost without fail. It’s a 9 minute and 35 second long masterpiece which captures every last smile and stab of pain of wanting love you don’t have, and having love you don’t want. It doesn’t break new ground musically but his words capture all of my hopes and fears and the most compelling feelings I’ve ever experienced and then progresses through them from end to end, washing them over me one at a time.

And yet somehow I’m left with a sense of completion and serenity. Left with the understanding that some things are perfect even though they are broken.