“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche
I love music. Music is “The Air that I Breathe.” Oh, there’s another song for the list. In fact, I wanted to be a singer once; I wrote about it on Socrates Underground. When I first approached today’s prompt, I was torn between the books and the music post, but I decided that I can review books and I write about literature on my teacher site.
One of the ideas the prompt mentioned was to tell of a time a piece of music moved me. Music always moves me. Even awful music moves me: It usually moves me to indignation that something that like that could have been let out on its own to wander in the world assaulting innocent souls.
Another suggestion was to talk about an all-time favorite. Well, I don’t. I tend to fixate on a new song and listen to it until it makes way for my next fixation and moves on into the realm of Top Who Knows How Many Songs.
That left me with trying to compile a playlist of 10 tracks that represent me. “I can do that,” I said to myself. Then I started typing the list. And ended up with 22 tracks. Through much blood, sweat, and tears (No, they’re not on the list.), I finally got it down to 10. The order is rather random. I tried to find a logical way to organize then just decided to go with it.
“Autumn Leaves”– Nat King Cole- Autumn is my favorite season of the year, but it goes far beyond this. The hauntlingly minor melody in this song captures the essence of a misty day a sense of longing that is entrancing. It’s melancholy in a song, and Nat King Cole’s smooth voice carries it beautifully. I also love Natalie Cole’s version, but I somehow gravitate toward his for this song. Of course, when I thought of this song, every other song by either of them also came to mind, like “Orange Colored Sky” or “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” but I had to remind myself I was trying to shorten my list, not make it longer.Maybe this is my favorite song. It is the first song that came to mind.
“All of Me”- the Big Band number written by Seymore Simons and Gerald Marks- generally as sung by me– This is my signature number. I love this song. My cover is up beat and swings a bit. Whenever someone asks for a song, it’s the one I pull out. But I don’t just like it because I can really bring it on this one; I also like that it’s saying love is all or nothing. if you’ve read anything I’ve written about me and Carl, you know that’s how I feel about him. He got the part that once was my heart, and now he has all of me.
“Brazil”– There are only about a million versions of this one out there, and I like most of them, the more Latin influenced, the better for me. My favorite version, easily findable is by Xavier Cougat. I’ve linked here to a video of Pink Martini doing the song, which is amazing. It’s their traditional closing number, and they get the whole house up and in a Conga Line! I caught them doing the song in concert, and it’s magic. I love the energy of this song; I can’t hear it without starting to Samba. If I’m feeling low, this always picks me up. Another fantastic version I have heard of this song is by Hank West and The Smoking Hots, a local band from Asheville, NC. Carl and I have driven over there numerous times just to hear them.
“Je ne veux pas Travailler“– Pink Martini- The title means I don’t want to work, and there are days I simply don’t want to work, but I love this song because these American songwriters wrote a song that manages to sound like a traditional French song Edith Piaf might have sung. (I like it so much that I have actually learned it in French in spite of speaking very little French myself.) Pink Martini is my favorite band in general because they perform such a wide variety of music in so many languages, and this song is a highlight.
“My Favourite Game”- The Cardigans- This rock song by the now defunct Swedish group is tough and full of energy. I can’t even understand every single word, but I love the deep bass and the pounding rhythm.
“Ouch”– The Rutles- Well, I just love this. First, I love anything clever, and The whole Rutles oeuvre is fun, yet still respectful of the Beatles’ original works. The Beatles themselves enjoyed the Rutles’ work. This typifies my enjoyment for wordplay and comedy while still being a good musical piece.
“Yesterday When I Was Young“- Glenn Campbell- This is always placed in the country genre, but with its full orchestration, it would be at home in Big Band. Glenn Campbell’s powerful voice here conveys the poetry of the lyrics here in a way that has to touch you. “I ran so fast that time/ And youth at last ran out; /I never stopped to think/ What life was all about,/And every conversation/ That I can now recall/ Concerns itself with me/And nothing else at all.” I didn’t have a dissolute youth, but this song still captures the dichotomy of the immortality we all lived with in our youths and the reality we reluctantly accept now. It also explores the thoughtlessness of youth in a non-judgmental way; the young are simply young. I could do a Doctoral
“Abra-cadabra’s the Magic Word”– Winnie the Winsome Witch Album- This one may explain my leaning toward jazz. This was my favorite album when I was a little girl. I loved the stories, the songs, everything. I had a tough time choosing between this one and “Nobody loves a Witch,” but I realized that this one was the one I caught myself humming and singing the most. It’s my childhood in a song.
“When I’m Sixty-four”- The Beatles- Of course, I’m thinking of Carl and me here. This is us. I love the cheerful tone of this song, and I love the Beatles. They are another band that tore me up trying to come up with just one to represent them on the list, but I do love the fun of this song!
“Those Magic Changes” by Sha-Na-Na – I had a hard time choosing this last song because I wanted a 50s or 60s song, but I have hundreds on my iPod, so how to pick, how to pick… I love Roy Orbison’s amazing voice, anything with a Do-Wop or a Ooh-Wah, and wait, I have 50’s style covers of modern songs! But I settled on “Those Magic Changes” because it’s a fun and clever song, and well, we’ve trodden that territory. It’s also about the music theory for why this music is so great, so if I was just going to get one song, I settled on this one.
So, there it is, the songs that define me. Today. Right now.