Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Songs That Kill

There are certain songs that cut right to the bone.  Even tossed into a play list among other more innocent tunes, some songs just have the ability to stop me in my tracks.  I am helpless to resist their power. Of course, sometimes a song will strike me that way that never has before and never will again, but there are others that do it every time.  A lot of the pleasure I get from music stems from it's ability to take up residence in my head and open up all the dark corners.  It causes a good kind of ache, a cathartic kind of awakening.  I've compiled a little list for you of 10 songs from my iPod that hurt so good (plus a few honorable mentions because you know by now that I can never really narrow it down that far).

1. Who Wants to Live Forever - Queen - Greatest Hits II
Sure, this one's kind of obvious, but that doesn't make it any less powerful.  The huge, swelling string arrangement tucked in behind Freddie Mercury's perfect voice, the lyrics, the whole thing. Ugh, deadly.

2. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
There is a reason some songs are just known as powerful - because they are.  That simple.  This song goes straight in like a dagger.  Funny how this song seems like it should be uplifting but it makes me tear up every time I hear it.  Weird.  I think it's mostly the gut wrenching quality of Art Garfunkel's voice.

3. Round Here - Counting Crows - August and Everything After
When I first heard this song, I was very young and impressionable and it made quite the impression.   It has long been one of my go-to songs for when life just hurts and I want to hear the sound of it.

4. Go Where You Belong - Ryan Schmidt - White Horse EP
If you've ever felt the weight of not knowing exactly where you belong, this one will get you.  Mix this fact with that guitar and those vocals and you have a definite killer on your hands.

5. Then I'll Be Smiling - Matt Nathanson - Still Waiting For Spring
I've never heard about this song getting much attention and I just don't get that.  For me, it's one of the most powerful songs in his collection. 

6. Disarm - Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
This is another one that got to me when I was young and didn't know any better.  The bells, the bass, the drum, Billy Corgan's unusual vocal all combined with lines like "Disarm you with a smile, and leave you like they left me here, to wither in denial" to make a song that I just can't shake.

7. Homesick - Soul Asylum - Grave Dancers Union
Another one of those songs that tapped into that feeling of disconnect, that longing for something intangible back when I was a kid.  The influence of a song hangs with us as long as the shadow of the emotion that gave it it's power lingers.

8. Remark - Rachel Platten - Be Here
This is far and away the newest song on my assassin list.  The gentle sound of it, her voice, it all drew me in, but the line, "When our mothers call we're busy doing stuff, we'll get back to them when things start clearing up" killed me dead, right in my spot.

9. Thinking Bout You - Pat Monahan - Last of Seven
When you lose someone who is essential to who you are, it's easy for a song like this to creep in and fuck you up.  This one did just that.  For a long time I couldn't even hear the opening without bursting into tears. These days, I can get to the first chorus (usually), but sometimes this song is exactly what I need.

10. Stories I Tell - Toad the Wet Sprocket - Fear
This song, well actually, pretty much this entire album is devastating.  I picked this song in particular though because it has always been my favorite.  If you don't know Toad the Wet Sprocket (named for a Monty Python skit, I believe) go find them - their heavy, haunting sound and intelligent lyrics will get you too.

Honorable mentions - here's a few that fall into this category and either they just do and I don't have anything else to say about it, or I don't care to comment on them specifically:
Hate Me - Blue October - Foiled
Zero - Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness: Dawn to Dusk
Perfect Blue Buildings - Counting Crows - August and Everything After
Natural - Rob Thomas - Cradlesong
Long Day - Matchbox 20 - Yourself or Someone Like You

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