40 for 40, Part One

A couple of years ago a good friend of mine had a great idea around the time of her 27th birthday: pick 27 songs that evoke some strong memories and write about them. I remember telling her the idea was great and that I wanted to use that too, and she said go for it. That was two years ago, and I still haven’t done it (and if you’re at all familiar with how often I write a post here, this shouldn’t be a shocking development to you).

Until now.

I absolutely love music, and I couldn’t imagine a day going by without listening to it. Different songs can have so many different emotions for everyone, either dredging up some great memories or even some awful ones. There are a bunch of songs that seem to fit every single situation I might be going through (and my iPod seems to have a knack for playing those on random at just the right time), and I know there are many others that feel the same way. What I chose to do was go through my music library and throw songs that either had some powerful memories for me or were just songs I had never grown tired of on a playlist, and then go from there. My first draft of that playlist had 173 songs (whoops). It took a bit more time, but I was finally able to get that down to 40 for me.

Anyway, enough with the explanation-here’s the first 20 (in no particular order-haha, no way in hell I was going to rank them):

1. The Beatles – A Day in the Life

My all-time favorite Beatles song seems to change every few months, but usually alternates between this one, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something, or Paperback Writer. Come Together tends to sneak in there from time to time too. But this one just seems to play on my mind the most. I absolutely love the work Paul McCartney does on bass with this song, and the changes that happen throughout this song are a nice little ride.

2. Hall & Oates – Out of Time

To be completely honest, I had a bunch of Hall & Oates on my initial playlist-they’re one of those bands I just grew up listening to and liked quite a bit. I’m always partial to their earlier stuff, but there’s just something about this one that evoked a bit more emotion for me instead of some of the others. The melody just seems a bit joyful even if the lyrics don’t carry the same message.

3. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – American Girl

There’s just something fun about this one for me-I remember sitting at a bar one day with my good friends Mike and Michele, and he used this tune as a trivia question: in Silence of the Lambs, what song was the girl jamming along to before her fateful run in with Buffalo Bill? Maybe it was the course of the entire day (pretty much that whole day was worth remembering), but that always stood out to me.

4. The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back

Song came out way before I came along, but I’ve always loved this one for as long as I can remember. It was always a great tune to listen to, but once I started playing bass I finally started to hear Nathan Watts’ excellent work in this song (or was it Jamerson? not sure) as well. Lyrics carried some meaning too, but that’s a story for a different day.

5. The Black Keys – Lonely Boy

Sure it’s a fairly recent song, but this song just sticks with me. Can’t help but turn this song up whenever it comes up on the radio while I’m driving along, or even at the office when I’m working. I really have no other memories for this song other than I absolutely love it, so I’m going with it.

6. Dave Matthews Band – #41

My favorite DMB song, and may very well be my favorite song ever. For those that don’t know, I’ve seen this band more often live than any other-probably at least 10 times dating back to 2000. I’ve always said I’d retire from seeing this band live once I heard them play this, but as it turns out they played it at Comerica Park back in 2001 (day 2, and was on the field to the right of the stage) and I simply don’t remember it (I’ve got the recording though). I have fun times each and every time I see them play-some I remember, and others are a bit more hazy. But this song is my favorite.

7. U2 – All I Want Is You

U2 has had a bunch of great songs, and this is definitely one of them. Two of my best friends also used this as their wedding song (wow, that was 10 years ago????), and their wedding (and reception) were an absolute blast…I also worked midnights at the time and had worked the night before and that was also an interesting night. So whenever I hear this song, it reminds me of that whole time. Ha.

8. Rush – Tom Sawyer

I’ll admit to having not gotten into Rush until at least high school, but this song was my introduction to the band…and it’s awesome. I also like that an episode of Chuck even used this song as the basis for an episode titled “Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer”. Any show that can tie-in this song and Missile Command wins bonus points from me, and it was a great episode.

9. Barenaked Ladies – Brian Wilson

That same friend that introduced me to Rush also introduced me to this group too-it didn’t even hit me until just now that they’re both Canadian bands. Two entirely different genres for sure, but here they are. This song (and this band in general) reminds of undergrad…also saw these guys quite a bit live, including one night in December where I turned down Red Wings tickets since I was seeing them. Turns out that night Sergei Fedorov scored five goals in that game…and that one of my bosses now was also at this concert. Small world.

10. Earth, Wind, & Fire – September

This song is just one of those really upbeat tunes that gets me going-can’t help but smile when hearing this one. Also love the bass line!

11. Debbie Gibson – Out of the Blue

At one point in time, I thought Debbie Gibson was quintessential 80’s pop…and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. To this point, I’m not ashamed to admit I still like the stuff too. So there.

12. John Mayer – Belief

“Belief is a beautiful armor, but makes for the heaviest sword…

Like punching underwater, you never can hit who you’re trying for”

His live version of this song is the best, but I really like trying to interpret the lyrics. I believe that he’s saying we don’t do anything without belief, but I also know others feel that he’s saying beliefs are ultimately meaningless. I don’t know if I agree with that, but I really like this tune anyway.

13. Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone

This guy is mostly remembered for a string of hits he had for soundtracks back in the 80’s, and this one might be his best. I’m pretty sure I wore out at least three cassette tapes of this soundtrack, and even when I hear it know I can’t help but drive just a little bit faster.

14. LL Cool J – I’m Bad

This is classic LL at his very best, letting everyone know he was the best out there. It doesn’t get much better than this.

15. The Eagles – Take It Easy

One of my favorite bands, and one of their best. This song reminds me of one of the many driving trips I used to take out west, usually to Las Vegas or Arizona (ha…both).

16. Smashing Pumpkins – 1979

They had better songs than this, but this is one of the ones that I simply never got tired of. It also reminds me of the aftermath of a Del Amitri concert, but I think I’ll just put it this way: ever have one of those strange, really eventful nights that you really had no idea was going to turn out that way when the evening started? This was one of them.

17. Aerosmith – Dream On

One of their best songs ever. Also used in an epic ESPN video montage as well as the end credits for Miracle. Also a nice little reminder that time moves quickly, and (for me anyway) it’s better to act on things instead of just watching chance after chance pass you by.

18. Elton John – Tiny Dancer

Love this song, but it also reminds me of one of those nights that just took off into the strange/eventful territory really quickly.

19. Al Green – Let’s Stay Together

This song stood quite well on its own way before Quentin Tarantino used it in Pulp Fiction (and for some strange reason the song worked at that moment too, even if it had nothing to do with what was going on in the scene).

20. Weezer – Island in the Sun

Two memories stand out: driving from Cocoa Beach to Orlando with two friends back in late 2007, and the Blue Leprechaun in Ann Arbor just a couple of years ago. Felt the same thing both times, though: I had a feeling changes were coming for me, but wasn’t sure what…and I was right.

If you’ve actually made it this far, I thank you for sticking around this long-the next 20 will be posted…eventually.

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