Songs Of Myself
No Best of 2011 this year (just wasn’t feelin’ in) but my lady S and I decided to do an exchange of the 25 Songs that best define us. No easy task, especially if you’re trying not to edit to impress a certain leggy brunette who is much, much cooler than you. An interesting exercise though, and fun to comb through the back catalog and try to whittle it down to the essential. Not sure I quite covered everything, but hey… only 25 songs. Some songs were chosen because they mean something to me personally, some I believe are just excellent songs, some representative of artists I cherish, some indicative of genres or styles I dig. All represent some element of who I am.
Download here if you’re so inclined. And hey, why not make a musical-you mix while you’re at it?
25 Songs Of Myself
1. Tonight You Belong To Me – Patience and Prudence
Chosen both for its vintagey charm, its connection to both Ghost World AND Steve Martin/Bernadette Peters, I can play it on ukelele and make K sing along with me, and that whenever I play it in the car my mom tells me about singing it at her summer camp in the 60s. Pure nostalgia and sweetness.
2. I Want To Be Bad – Blossom Dearie
A. Blossom is my favourite. I love her voice, her style, and the fact that she was ballsy enough to pick up and move to France, with Americans didn’t get her.
B. The lyrics to this song are FILTHY. Love it.
3. Laissez Tombez Les Filles – April March
Four words. But I’m A Cheerleader.
4. Sweet 16 – Think About Life
I love these guys, I love this album, I love this song, I love the fact I’ll be able to play this for my onedaykids and say, these guys played our wedding, and then we had pizza and cupcakes, and it was so sweaty! You’re the pearl in my heart, the golden seashell in my dreams.
5. Tightrope – Janelle Monea
How cool is JM? So cool. Like a tiny cross between James Brown, Jessica Rabbit and Tweety Bird – so many things I will never be! Not uncommon for me to walk home with this in my ears on repeat, 8, 9, 10 times in a row. Also, ‘sort of like dong in an ass crack’ is a badass line.
6. Work It – Missy Elliott
Missy Elliott is so cool and innovative, and is says all kinds of awesome feminist stuff that I can totally get behind. She’s a hero. I will totally shake my jewish white girl ass to this like I own it. Babompabompbomp. and GET YOUR HAIR DID?! And the backwards stuff? Inspired.
7. Long View – Green Day
I got Green Day ‘Dookie’ on tape for my 10th birthday from Jessica West. It was my first taste of rebellion, and playing it as loud as I could while headbanging in my bedroom was the first time I didn’t feel like a sad little nerd. Long View was the glint in my bespectacled eyes, and I’ve had a soft spot for GD ever since.
8. El Scorcho – Weezer
On my first week of high school, my first high school friend, a boy with beautiful blue eyes and long lashes, lent me his favourite album – Weezer’s ‘Pinkerton’. It became immediately one of my favorites, and this was the song that I loved the best, for both its lyrics and its wonky lazy poppy rock. Also, it may have begun my obsession with half-japanese people. And he name checks Green Day! LOVE.
9. Woody – Hayden
Hey Hayden, Can you write a perfect song from the point of view of a cat? You can? Gee, thanks.
10. Novocaine For The Soul – The Eels
There’s just something about the Eels, and his voice.When people used to ask me what kind of music I like, I’d say ‘the kind where people talk more than they sing’. This song was a big hit on the radio station I grew up listening to 99.9 The Buzz, out of Burlington, Vermont. They played Sunday music, lazy alternative rock I’d have on for hours while I sat on my carpeted bedroom floor, not doing homework.
11. It’s Oh So Quiet – Bjork
FYI, this is what I sound like this inside.
12. Maple Leaves (EP Version) – Jens Lekman
After seeing Jens Lekman live, I understood why girls swooned and screamed at Frank Sinatra and The Beatles. Also, this song about a verbal misunderstanding is so charming I Could Die.
13. Come On! Feel The Illinoise – Sufjan Stevens
K and I listened to this album all the time in our first year together. I get the same heart swells from his orchestral pop as I do from falling in love. Add 5/4 time, and its a push/pull musical swoon. Also – it’s educational!
14. Lewis Takes Off His Shirt – Owen Pallett
If I could write music, this is what I’d write.
15. Beijing – Patrick Watson
Pots and Pan percussion, soaring strings and my high school dreamboats’s voice soaring over the sound of my hometown. The syncopated piano gets stuck in my brain.
16. In Particular – Blonde Redhead
Other than Portishead, this is the sexist song I know. Well, maybe its a tie. Hypnotic.
17. Frank Sinatra – Cake
Organ, tap-ey percussion, horns, great surf-ey guitar lines, vintag-ey vocal production… no one else sounds like Cake. K thinks they are a novelty band. K doesn’t GET Cake. Also love the imagery in this song.
18. Shady Lane – Pavement
File under ‘Songs Where They Talk More Than Sing’. Great lyrics. Reminds me of working in the record store in Montreal, and the boy who had the entire Pavement discography. I had a lot to learn.
19. I Can Feel It – Sloan
These lyrics are so weird. What the hell is going on here? But its sounds so cute! Awwww…
20. Emma – Steven McKay
One of my all time favorite song writers.
21. Cuddly Toy – The Bicycles
Reminds me of my first year in Toronto.
22. Propinquity – The Elwins
I love these guys. Their album, which comes out this February, is in my opinion, pop perfection. This is my favorite song of theirs… everything is right on – production, lyrics, rhythm, harmony, melody, structure. Just Perfect. Also – it sounds like the magic of a first snowfall, maybe because of their ultra adorable video.
23. LuckLucky – Veda Hille
Veda Hille is a quirky lady, but there’s something about this song that makes my heart sing. It sounds like hope to me.
24. Fiya – Tune-Yards
I love Ukelele, and I love and both how delicate and how strong this song is. Tune-Yard’s Merrill Garbus is one of my heros. Breath in fire, breath out fire.
25. Girl With Sunglasses – The Diskettes
I’m an apologetically twee loving lady, and I feel privileged to have lived in Montreal when David and Emily were playing in the Diskettes. I likely saw them play more than 50 times, mostly in living rooms, and they filled my heart with bespectacled thrift store cashmere sweater park wearing dreams. Like a big aural valentine. Also, David was the only person I’d met other than myself who arranged his records in colour order. Swoon.