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Thursday, 19 July 2012

My Songs (in no particular order)

I'm not saying these are my 15 favourite songs of all time, but they are the ones that are always on my iTunes and a few would be considered to be some of the greatest songs ever written.
1. The Beatles - Here Comes the Sun (Abbey Road)
Probably one of the first, if not THE first Beatles song I had ever heard and it was on the soundtrack for Parent Trap (how embarrassing). This is when I first fell in love with the folky foursome, the band that have a song for any mood and their entire discography ranges from epic ballads such as Let it Be to psychedelic nonsense like Octopus's Garden. Here Comes the Sun was written by my favourite Beatle, George, and came at a critical time. He had been arrested for possession of marijuana and had temporarily left the band. The blissfulness of this song may be because of how he wrote it, "I walked around the garden with one of Eric's [Clapton] acoustic guitars and wrote Here Comes the Sun," the simplicity of it makes it a favourite.
2. Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge over Troubled Water (Bridge over Troubled Water)
No doubt about it, everyone will have come into contact with this song. It sold over six million copies worldwide and people have often tried to cover it, but nothing beats the original. A pinnacle song for the duo as they were soon to part ways once they had recorded the whole album. Simon (who wrote the tear induced ballad) realised it had been a bad decision to allow Garfunkel sing it solo, he felt sidelined. Nevertheless, the two have been able to put aside this argument and perform it together numerous times, alternating the verses. It is a song that will mean something to every person who listens  to the lyrics carefully enough.
3. Mumford & Sons - The Cave (Sigh No More)
This band are always on any playlist I create, even though the album is three years old the songs still seem very new and very fresh each time I listen, something hard for many musicians to achieve. The Cave is my favourite for many reasons, it's beautifully sung, impeccably written and its intro hooks you in straight away along with lead singer Marcus Mumford's sultry voice. I was fortunate enough to see the indie-folk band at Glastonbury last year and this song live is without a doubt one of the best I've witnessed. As the song progresses so does the story. It keeps the listener interested, and with a second album out in September I am excited to see how Mumford have progressed.
4. Ben Howard - Keep Your Head Up (Every Kingdom)
A song that means a lot, not just to me but to every person in my year at secondary school. We lost a friend six months ago and this was played at his funeral, I still find it hard to listen but Ben Howard is an artist that you just can't not listen to. Accompanied only with his guitar usually, it's all he needs, he sings beautifully and if you are ever lucky enough to see him live as I was then you will realise what a great but understated artist he is.
5. Dusty Springfield - You Don't Have to say you Love Me (Just Dusty)
Dusty was iconic throughout the sixties, a testosterone fuelled era filled with rock n roll she brought something completely different, and almost 1950's-esque. The song was to be Dusty's biggest hit getting her to number one in the UK and number four in America. However, it was first and foremost an italian song by Pino Donaggio named Lo che non vivo that Dusty had fallen in love with though she had no concept of its meaning. This song, for me, is instantly what comes to mind when I think of the sixties. She was something different for the time and her unique voice tone made me fall in love with her, she could have been singing absolute gibberish and it wouldn't have mattered.
6. Coldplay - The Scientist (A Rush of Blood to the Head)
The Scientist is a song that reminds me of secondary school. My friends and I sang it in a music lesson in Year nine (so we were about 14?) and it made an impact on all five of us. We each took a verse and made it our own and when we performed it to the class, the impact was passed onto everyone else. The song is one of Coldplay's most challenging songs, not just to sing but the video itself took a lot of preparation. Shot in reverse, it took Chris Martin one month to learn how to sing the ballad backwards just so he could get it right for the feel of the music video. It was written after Martin had listened to George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, which he wanted to work on but eventually couldn't and so this epic love song was born.
7. Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run (Born to Run)
This amazingly song was actually Springsteen's last attempt at making it 'big,' he'd already had two albums out the previous year but didn't get the commercial success he wanted. It was written in the first person as a love letter to a girl named Wendy. Wendy let me in/ I wanna be your friend/ I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight. Rolling Stone magazine placed it at number 21 in their list of the '500 Greatest Songs of All Time', and it is one that captures Springsteen perfectly, he was a perfectionist and this was his greatest accomplishment.  
8. The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition (Conditions)
Taken from the soundtrack of one of my all time favourite films, 500 Days of Summer this song reached a respectable number 11 in the UK charts, despite the band actually coming from Australia. It has become a sort of anthem, I suppose, for indie lovers everywhere and even today it is used in advertisements, television shows and films. It has been hard for the band to try and top it and to not be known as a one hit wonder, with their second album now out there is still no track there that compares to Sweet Disposition. For me, it is best played when the sun is shining and there's a cold cider in your hand. Bliss.
9. Ben E King - Stand by Me (Stand by Me)
With over 400 different recorded versions of this song, it is still the original written and sung by King that is the greatest. But it wasn't King who had wanted this song for himself, he had written it for The Drifters who passed on the chance to record it (bet they regret that now) but he played it in some spare studio time on the piano for his music producers and they had him back to record it. It has been re-released umpteen times, and reached number one when it was out for the film Stand By Me. It is a great R&B ballad and the lyrics are spiritual with lines such as Lord Stand by Me, as well as having extracts from Psalms. This song will be forever implanted in my 'music mind' and will reach each generation for years to come.
10. Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl (Blowin' your Mind)
This was an important one for the Northern irish songwriter, it was the first single he would release since splitting from his band, Them. It's a classic pop song that does nothing but make you feel good and want to dance when you listen to it. No hidden agenda or meaning to it, it is just a classic that was included in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007. Considered to be the singers signature song, it's still at the top of every DJs playing list, simple and fun there's no way anyone could hate it.
11. The Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger (Costello Music)
Another song the takes me back in time to secondary school, The Fratellis were probably one of the first bands I ever really loved. This song was the second single from their second album, and proved to be the most successful, making it to number five in the UK charts which is their highest charting single (...so far). Written about Jon Fratellis wife Heather who, as a burlesque dancer, stage name was Chelsea, it also was a play on the name of the fallen pop princess Britney Spears. With strong guitar and drums throughout it's hard to not get up and chant this song, a seemingly masculine tune (it is often played at football matches) with its yelling in the background it is a song I still love, and with the band reformed here's hoping they make more like this.
12. Phil Oakey - Together in Electric Dreams
This funky 80's hit reminds me of my close group of girlfriends at university, in that kind of environment you get to know people very quickly and form a bond that only people who have been to university understand (cheesy I know). Obviously this song was not made with university students in mind though, it was written by Oakey and music producer Giorgio Moroder and was the soundtrack for the 1984 film Electric Dreams. The kids of today may know it only from the EDF energy advert (this was actually when I fell in love with the song) it was successful enough to stay in the charts for 13 weeks and reached number three. Not bad for one of the most random songs I have on my iTunes. 
13. The Turtles - Elenore (The Turtles present The Battle of the Bands)
Taken from another favourite film of mine, Elenore featured on the soundtrack for The Boat that Rocked, the 2009 hit that was filled with the best of 1960's rock n roll. The song was written in 1968 as a parody of one of their other hits Happy Together, the band wanted to become more diverse but their record label were the ones pulling the strings. This song is one that just simply makes me happy, with cliched lyrics such as Your looks intoxicate me/ Even though your folks hate me/ Gee I think your swell you can't really hate it
14. The Joy Division - Love Will Tear us Apart (Love Will Tear us Apart)
A song that completely sums up what the singer is all about, right there in the moment. The lyrics clearly explain the problems singer Ian Curtis was having in his marriage to Deborah Curtis and his all around frame of mind that led to his eventual suicide in 1980. It then secured its place in the UK charts becoming the bands first chart success and was one of the only songs Curtis played guitar on (well just a little bit). Along with many of the great songs I have already listed, this song has been re-released many times, but you cannot mess with the greatest. What makes it even more special for me is the 'realness' of it, there aren't many records made like that anymore.
15. The Vaccines - Wetsuit (What Did you Expect from The Vaccines)
Ok, so I lied a little, this song is my favourite. I saved the best til last. I have been a Vaccines fan since Glastonbury last year and nothing summed up the wet weather better than Wetsuit. One of their lengthier songs (it surpasses the three minute mark) from their debut album, the video was the first in the world to feature just instagramed photo's that had been sent in by fans of the band. The vocals are low and mellow from lead singer Justin Young, but they still keep you uplifted and get you into the festival spirit, set for another UK tour with their second album due for release in September, you better be ready for The Vaccines.

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