Thursday, August 14, 2008

Favorite Songs - #s 21-30

Because Roger now has me excited to finish this!

30. "Romeo & Juliet" - Dire Straits
On a recent edition of Coverville, host Brian Ibbitt declared this to be his "favorite song ever." Well, it's my 30th. Just a beautifully romantic, courtly song, with a deeply felt guitar solo at the end. One of those songs I'm surprised isn't a much bigger hit.

29. "Short Supply" - Tracy Chapman
The urgency and insistence of this acoustic gem always surprises me. The preachy environmental song fairly drips of nature in summer, of grassy fields, blooming flowers, and clear, flowing streams, but it's pretty open-hearted politics are nothing in the face of the sublime feel Chapman manages to capture. And let me take a moment to again opine on the remarkable beauty of Chapman's alto voice - so rich, and pure.

28. "Not Dark Yet" - Bob Dylan
Dylan in end-of-life mode, contemplating death, as has been his wont on these last few albums. Check out the sweetly slow and patient melody, though, and note how well it matches the resignation in the singer's voice. "It's not dark yet/But it's getting there."

27. "Simple Twist of Fate" - Bob Dylan
I've always adored that big jump at the end of each verse, before the "simple twist of fate" part. I love it because it's a "big voice" move, something to show off a singer's technical ability, and of course Dylan just kind of shouts it. Works though. And the guitar part is one of his best, just a simple stepping-down thing that speaks volumes about regret and lost opportunities.

26. "Wise Up" - Aimee Mann
In Magnolia this is sung by each of the primary characters, in a stunning scene that surprised me when I first saw it (Magnolia not being a musical). It's a great hushed prayer of a song, with a quiet, insistent melody, tentatively gesturing upwards over and over.

25. "Harvest Moon" - Neil Young
Young at his most elegiac. This is the song that really turned me on to Neil Young, and the album it comes from (which is filled with similar quiet acoustic songs almost as good) was my first Young album. There are none on the track, but you can hear the cicadas in the background, so redolent is this of a late-summer night.

24. "True Love Waits" - Radiohead
An acoustic live track that I don't think they've recorded in studio. A sweeping romantic song, full of yearning and sadness, anchored by a simple yet extremely effective guitar.

23. "Mercy" - U2
A cut track from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, this may well turn up on the new album slated for November (rumored to be titled No Line on the Horizon.) This is pure, distilled, uncut U2, full of ringing guitars, an insistent beat, and a slowly building feel. This may just be the track I'd give to someone who wanted to get what U2 was about in one song. It's quintessential.

22. "Acrobat" - U2
Another dark Achtung Baby song that never took off, possibly because they never performed it live. It's got an almost Philip Glass feel, with a repetitive, driving, relentless guitar part that never really resolves. Musically one of my favorite U2 songs, and one I have a hunch is doing something interesting, theory-wise, but that I'm too ignorant to pick up on.

21. "Overkill" - Colin Hay
Yes, it's Scrubs' fault. But I can't get over the nagging catchiness and beat of this song. I don't think I've ever heard the original, but Hay's acoustic version is just one of my favorite things. And I love that spiky solo at the bridge, and the way it starts out simple and then adds complexity a it goes along.

Until Whenever

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

Harvest Moon! I KNEW our lists would cross SOMEWHERE, and that was my best guess as to where.