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favorite songs...

When I was about 13 or 14, the song "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M. was released and became popular. I have a recollection of riding with my mom in her car when this song came on the radio. And I clearly remember telling her that, though I'd had favorite songs before, that song had become my favorite and I could not imagine liking a song better than it ever again. Of course, I have had other favorite songs to replace it since then. In fact, I don't even really like that song anymore. Not that there's anything wrong with the song, I'm just sick of it and I now find Michael Stipe's voice rather grating.

I thought it would be a fun post to rehearse a chronology of my favorite songs. Now, I don't mean to list all the songs that at any given moment were the songs I liked best out of the ones being played on the radio. I'm just talking about the songs that, even if I didn't say it explicitly, I might have said about them "I'll never like another song as much as this one." Sometimes, I couldn't pinpoint the exact age/year that I favored a song, but I tried to be rougly chronological in order.

  1. "Believe It or Not", theme song from the t.v. show "The Greatest American Hero" -- I think I was barely 3 years old when this was my favorite song. But I know it qualifies because my parents have a tape recording of me from when I was that age and for about 25 minutes of the tape I'm just singing this song over and over again. For the record, I also like George Costanza's adaptation of this song for the message on his answering machine (but that version does not quite make this list).
  2. "Love on the Rocks" by Neil Diamond. I was probably about 4 or 5 years old. This may seem like a strange choice and it was--I was a strange kid. I had a Fisher-Price record player that I could play those Disney record storybooks on. Well, at some point I got a hold of a copy of the soundtrack record from the movie "The Jazz Singer" starring Neil Diamond and I somehow got attached to this song and played it over and over again.
  3. "Beat It" by Michael Jackson. Before he became one of the strangest and most disturbing people on the planet, he was one of the most talented. There is a picture of me holding this album with a wide smile on my face because I had just received it for my birthday (6th, I think). I remember my parents had woken me up to surprise me with the gift, so in the picture I was only wearing my underwear. (Would it be in poor taste to make a joke like, "Michael wouldn't have wanted it any other way!"? Yes, I think so.)
  4. After "Beat It", things get fuzzy for several years. The next song I can be confident about is "Losing My Religion". This was the first song on the list I owned on cassette tape rather than vinyl album.
  5. My confidence in the lasting appeal of "Losing My Religion" was severely misplaced since "Galileo" by the Indigo Girls was released only a year later and it is the next song on my list. The Indigo Girls are a bit of a puzzle to me because there are a few songs of theirs that I absolutely love but many of the others I find exceedingly tedious.
  6. For some reason, I remember definite blocks of time between songs 4, 5, and 6. But, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" actually came out the same year as "Losing My Religion". (I found out the dates for these songs from the site which is really neat and has lots of interesting trivia about hundreds of songs.) If I had to pick one of the last three songs to epitomize this list, it would be this one. (Yes, I know I made the actual comment about "Losing My Religion", but so be it.) This was the first song I can remember that I looked to as an expression of my feelings and concerns that I couldn't articulate myself. Though I am now a Christian and am not as jaded and confused about life and the future as I was as a teenager, this is still one of my favorite songs because it is not just expressing the feelings of non-Christians or even youth in general. I think this song captures a very human spirit of being disturbed with life in a broken world.
  7. "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" by The Smashing Pumpkins. This was around my senior year in high school. I wrote a poem that year based on one of the lines from the song, "Despite all my rage I'm still just a rat in a cage." Consider this: I actually enjoyed my senior year in high school! This song is from the album "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness", which I think is the best double-album ever produced (better, even, that the Beatles' "White Album").
  8. "This World" by Caedmon's Call. This was the first "Christian" song that I liked, around my sophomore year in college. I actually liked it before I "became a Christian" during a time when I was really struggling with issues of spirituality and what the world was all about and who I was supposed to be. I continued to have a very strong sentimental attachment to this song for many years (I still ave one really).

I can't think of a song since that one which fits the criteria I set forth. It's been a while since then, and maybe I'm just overlooking one. But, certainly there isn't a favorite song I have right now. I'd be interested to see anyone else's list, or just one or two that you remember.

1 comment:

Annie Onimous said...

People actually read and comment on these thing? Well, I guess they don't comment much.
I hate to say something positive, but
I used to love "Believe it or not"

Now, go outside and play.

G.K. Chesterton...

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."