Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sing Out Loud, Sing Out Strong

My writing assignment for today is to share 10 songs I'm loving right now! I tend to listen to a lot of the same music over and over, and I don't listen to a lot of current stuff. So here are ten songs I really like. I could name a million.

1. "14th Street" by Rufus Wainwright. Rufus is one of my favorite artists. I used to give mix CDs of his music out like gospel tracts in high school, trying to make converts. I love Rufus. I haven't kept up with his music as much in recent years because I didn't enjoy some of his newer albums quite as much as I did the first four or five. He's been doing more live recordings and special events, and tribute work- and that doesn't work for me quite as much. "Poses" is my favorite album of his, and I recommend that everyone give it a listen at least once, but this is the first song that popped into my head when I sat down to write this post. "14th Street" is a fun, catchy song from Rufus' third studio album, Want One. And that's a really good album, too. It's a bit more theatrical than "Poses," which has a simpler sound. There are lots of layers in almost all the songs, with orchestras and banjos and multiple tracks of Rufus harmonizing with himself. It's cool.

2. "Life on Mars?" by David Bowie. Oh, how I love David. My best friend and I went to see an orchestral tribute to his work last weekend, and it was so fun- and sentimental. We miss him a lot. "Life on Mars?" is, I think, my favorite Bowie song, though it is hard to choose because there are many that I love for many, many reasons. Some have emotional ties, some tell interesting stories, some are just fun to dance to. The concert closed with this tune, and it was so fitting. I don't know why, but it just worked. To me, this is the quintessential David Bowie tune.

3. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler. This song is so ridiculous, and the video is even crazier. It's beyond over the top. Maybe that's why I like it. I don't go to karaoke bars, but if I did, this would be my go-to song every time. It just feels epic.

4. "Looks Like We Made It" by Barry Manilow. I can't explain my love of Barry Manilow. I have no idea why I love him so much. I have all his albums, most of them on vinyl. I used to buy extra copies at yard sales and flea markets so I could cut up the covers for the artwork. He's just a happy, sparkly dweeb, who has a nice voice and sings cheesy songs that make me feel good. My best friend and I also got to go see him in concert in 2015, and it was AMAZING. He's so old but he puts on such a good show! I love many of his songs, but this one is my favorite. It's just a nice love song. And I love that I got to hear him see it live- I took a video of most of the song!

5. "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers. Holy Crap, Hot Fuss was an incredible album. I've bought it three or four times because I kept losing copies in my car or accidentally scratching them up, carrying them around everywhere. There aren't a lot of albums that I enjoy listening to start to finish, since I have a short attention span and I like skipping tracks. I am so glad this song has become a meme now. Seeing them online makes me so happy! I love the whole album, but I picked this song because it's just quintessential Killers. I think "Somebody Told Me" was their first single from the album, but this is the song everyone remembers. The video helps.

6. "Dance to the Music" by Sly & the Family Stone. I love so many songs, artists, and albums from the 70s. If I had to choose a favorite decade for music, it'd be a really close tie between that and the 80s, just because I love a lot of that pop. This song always makes me feel good and want to dance.

7. "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" by Paul Simon, featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo. "Graceland" is another album that I can listen to all the way through. It had such an innovative sound- Paul Simon almost always has. Well, I say it's innovative, but really it borrows a lot from other genres and cultures, like zydeco and, of course, South African superstars LBM. I love the spirit of the songs on this album, and I think this one is my favorite (though I also really like "Under African Skies.")

8. "Kathy's Song" by Simon & Garfunkel (live version.) Hey, there's Paul Simon again. I love, love, love Simon & Garfunkel. Their original Greatest Hits album is one of my favorites. But this one is at the top for me. It's so pure and sweet. The lyrics are perfect. I remember an assignment from high school where I had to bring in my favorite poem, and I brought the lyrics to this song. It's basically perfect.

9. "Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls. I'm noticing I'm basically just choosing all the same songs I've claimed as my favorites for the last 10-15 years. Well, good stuff doesn't change, I guess. I'm not sure what originally drew me to this song, but it's the first one I learned to play on the guitar!

10. "Your Song" performed by Ewan McGregor, from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. I have always loved Elton John. And I've always loved this song. But seeing Moulin Rouge was such an experience for me! It is one of my all time favorite movies. It has everything that appeals to me: 80s music, singing, lots of glitter and sparkles, forbidden romance, and some tragedy. I loved the soundtrack, especially the tracks sung by Ewan (also known as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Amazing.) I love this song so much, it's what I chose for walking down the aisle in my wedding!

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