It’s my birthday and I do what I want.
The above is not as rebellious a sentence as it sounds in my head, but regardless, I wanted to share my list of favorite songs ever and what they mean to me. They may not be the best songs ever, but they are special, and that’s why they are on this list.
#1 “It All Fades Away” from The Bridges of Madison County
I’m pretty sure I’ve spoken about this song multiple times, but I’m just so in love with it. After having a brief affair, the woman decided to stay with her family and live out the rest of her life, but now they are both old, her husband is gone, and her old lover has Alzheimer’s. Now he is writing this letter to her saying, “it all fades away…but you…” and look it’s such an incredible song, even the words fade away and I’m not crying you’re crying.
#2 Piano Concierto No 2 by Shostakovich
You know how I was brought up on Opera and Broadway music, so I remember watching Fantasia from an early age. As I got older and had my own classical music renaissance of sorts, I re-discovered this piece, and I find it truly captivating. From start to finish, there is never a dull moment, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
#3 Hi Ho Ro Tha Mi Dullich, By Donald Morrison, Performed by Brebach
I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it. Through lots and lots of research, I finally discovered more about its meaning: during the late 19th century a lot of Scots immigrated to Canada and Appalachia, and this person is singing about their beautiful homeland in traditional Gaelic.
#4 Two Different People by Artist vs. Poet
I started to discover my own music tastes during my pop-punk/emo phase of high school. Artist vs. Poet came along a little later during that phase, and for some reason this song just waltzed its way into my heart and stayed. The simple but soulful piano, the dips and pauses when you think the song is done but it isn’t–music snobs won’t say it’s the Greatest Song Ever, but it’s one of my favorites.
#5 Terrible Things by Mayday Parade
Any song that can make me ugly cry deserves a place on this list. Oh yeah it’s a little cheesy, but it pierces my heart every time I hear the piano fade away, the full band drop in, and the singer say, “slow, so slow, I fell to the ground on my knees” I’m a gonner.
#6 Three Cheers for Five Years by Mayday Parade
Yes there are a lot of Mayday Parade songs on this list, but they are my personal favorite band. This was the first song I ever heard by them, when I was fourteen and some friends of mine were learning to play it on the piano. I was smitten with this song, and it will always be special to me.
#7 One Man Drinking Games by Mayday Parade
Okay I just really love Mayday Parade! I also really love songs that tell a story–blame my Broadway/Opera roots–and not only does this song make me feel like I’m watching a movie, I can truly feel it in my core. So I think that is beautiful.
#8 Menswear by the 1975
I can’t quite say what initially drew me to this song, a lesser-known piece by the 1975, not as celebrated as “Chocolate” or “The Sound,” but there is something simply entrancing to me about “Menswear.” It’s only a few minutes but I feel like it lasts for many timeless hours.
#9 Disney Love Medley
Yes, I’m adding a cover AND a medley to this list. But hear me out: when I was in college and writing music, these are the kind of vocal layers to a song that I could only dream of writing. Disney music is just so digestible and reachable to any audience, and I love the mixing of pop sounds with a choir-esque performance. Many extra brownie points are given to the soprano woman who hits THAT note.
#10 Chocolate (Acoustic) by the 1975
Truth be told, Tumblr introduced me to some really banger songs. Some of them were hit and miss, but the acoustic version of “Chocolate” was one I saved and listed to over and over. It’s simply…transformative. I can’t get enough.
#11 It Hurts by Bad Bad Hats
Bad Bad Hats was another band that I found through Tumblr, and they are another favorite band of mine. I’ve seen them twice (interviewed them once for 20Some), and I chose this particular song because it’s just fun. The song has fun in a way that music doesn’t always has, in that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I mean…kazoo solos!
#12 Hands Down (Acoustic) by Dashboard Confessional
The last addition to this list is one more of my emo phase-tumblr-inspired conglomerate of songs, but I have to include it for storytelling and single guitar-playing that sounds like a much bigger band.
What are your favorite songs? Let me know in the comments!