The beautiful twists here are pretzel-perfect; these songs can be from any time in your life, or years (decades, centuries) before it. You could pick a song for its title, lyrics, or just the best song off of a well-named album. There are no barriers, no restraints; there is no rulebook. There are, essentially, "No Boundaries" (Wow, what a great name for a new music radio show that would be...).
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to name a dozen songs that account for your life, or your personality, your "something"--if that something were trying to describe the particular culmination that is you.
Wow; it is very difficult to come up with songs that aren't already on the list of favorites so far; everybody will put up their favorite song (duh), everybody should have "Need a Lover" up there (another duh), and everybody who's ever written a decent song will put that up, too. Maybe the true "Dirty Dozen" doesn't start at #1. Yeah. Even the "Dirty Dozen" needs references...
Reference #1, duh, the favorite song:
Time-Pink Floyd: It's my favorite song for almost every reason possible. The title, the band, the album--and year it's from; the style and type of song (a 3 part masterpiece); the voice of David Gilmour singing the lyrics of Roger Waters with guitar and drum runs on virtually every line. How could this song BE any better? During the summer of 1983, while listening to this song, I realized that '10 years had got behind (me); no one told you when to run--you missed the starting gun'. I'm 36 years old now, and I STILL get chills (or a tear comes to my eye) when I hear this song.
Reference #2, duh,
Need a Lover-John Cougar: A curveball? I think not. This is a 2-part song where the first part is entirely instrumental; that's pretty uncommon for a solo type of artist. Who hasn't said: "I need a lover that won't drive me crazy." at some pathetic part of his life? It's not just a guy-thing, either. This song holds its own in any argument.
Reference #3, the whiney "I wrote this, so it's definitely an integral and necessary part of my existence." crap
Grip and Pull-W. C. Davis, and Downtrodden: Women constantly try to "guide" guys into doing things. And when that doesn't work to their little silly perfection, the woman pulls out the "leash" and tries to yank a guy in whatever direction she was intending. I'd like to toot my own horn here, but this song is really not amazing; it's just very, very good. It is strong in every respect, and quite catchy, too. If you want to read the lyrics, go find it in the "Stuff from before 1999" section.
#2 Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love-Van Halen: As a kid with divorced parents, I figured that "love" was the most important thing in the world. It certainly seems to make sense. Soon enough, however, every kid learns that this world is fueled by sex alone. You can pretend whatever the hell you want, Captain Idealism, but this song was my wake-up call.
#3 Right Now-Van Halen (w/Sammy Hagar): History doesn't matter, and the future comes way after today. The only thing that matters is right now. I have said that for years. This song is strong, and would be in any lifetime.
#4 Shooting Star-Bad Company: As a child, I heard this song for years before I ever knew who sang it. The lyrics carry this simply-structured rock ballad. In a classic scenario of "be careful what you wish for", little Johnnie becomes a big rock star, and then dies because of the big rock star "hard--partying" lifestyle. I would say that this song helped to humble me. This song helped to put in place the ideal that a person should never stop "wanting" something more.
#5 Who are You-the Who: The music carries the lyrics in this sociological interrogative about your place in the world. This tune, this chorus, and this bridge MAKE this song legendary in rock, AND legendary to the individual listener. Pete (Roger) could be writing (singing) about a drunken awakening, or some kind of twisted love song (in fact he does both), and it doesn't even matter. This song means something big to you, to me, and to everyone who has heard it.
#6 Fool in the Rain-Led Zeppelin: (The answer to the question 'Who are you?') I learned every breath to this song in the same way that I learned every breath to "Time". It's a catchy tune, with only semi-garbled lyrics. And remember that this pop tune (the whole album in fact) did sound different (better?) than other Led Zeppelin, because John Paul Jones produced it (instead of Jimmy Page).
#7 Lazy-Deep Purple: Another 3-part rock song that is often looked over. Like "Who are You", the music carries the lyrics here. "If you're drowning, you don't clutch no straw, no no." I never needed to hear this song on the radio, and didn't, for years. From just one listen, at home; a stiff piece of vinyl on some unknown name brand mutiplex stereo system produced sounds that I knew would have a lifetime impact. Since I didn't discover Led Zeppelin until later in life, THIS song was my introduction to harmonica in rock and roll. How does this song describe me? Maybe it's in the title.
#8 Don't Fear the Reaper-Blue Oyster Cult: Haunting music, lyrics, message; an awesome bridge, too. Bottom Line; you ARE going to die, so just deal with it.
#9 Shoegazer-Crumb: This is the part where I get to brag that I used to have a new music show on the radio. From 1996, Crumb is 1 of 3 bands (Crumb, Fig Dish/-now-Caviar, and Three Penny Needle/-now-Dream Life Misery) I loved that never quite "made it". On their incredible CD "Romance is a Slowdance", Crumb shows as much range as any band ever has on one album; true variety. From alternative rythyms to creative guitar feedback, and from power pop-punk to pure classic rock, the Overnight Guy cannot believe that this album is still unknown. Okay, okay, enough about the band and album; what the hell is this "Shoegazer" nonsense? Shoegazer is pure, radio-friendly classic rock in 3 minutes and 41 seconds. The song was released as a single, but passed over by most everyone. The music is amazing, and the lyrics are perfect self-pity; "I did it to myself." When I first started compiling a dirty dozen, I knew that I would be mentioning this song, and all 3 of these bands. Kiss my ass.
#10 Quiet Storm King-Fig Dish/Caviar: (The style of music is called punk-pop; and you have heard it done very well by the band Blink-182.) From Chicago, this band proves much of what is wrong with the radio industry; they are more than good enough to be famous, but you've never heard of them. This song was their first ever single, and it grows on you; you like it the first time you hear it...then you REALLY like it after you've heard it about 20 times...and then the snowball just gets bigger and bigger. I was a quiet storm king. Great music and lyrics.
11 Dammit-Blink 182: It feels like I was just talking about these 3 guys. Joe and I helped to break this band on the radio with "M + M's", back in 1994. This song is quite an experience; first off, it's quick, like 2:32. I usually don't like songs to be that short, but this one gets everything accomplished. The lyrics include "but everybody's gone, and I've been here for too long..." (the story of my life in Athens). The simple bridge is perfect power punk-pop, and the title is a cuss word. I mean, if you're going to limit your world to 2 + 1/2 minutes, this song is it!
#12 When I Grow up-Garbage: Well, you asked for it. It's a great song, with great lyrics, sung by a great band. The title holds the magic.
3 Strange Days-School of Fish, Under Pressure-Queen and David Bowie, Who's Behind the Door-Zebra, I Will Follow-U2, Fight the Good Fight-Triumph, and hundreds of others fell just shy of my list. Now go and make your own...
Years later now (might have to update this and the 50 CD's--it is 2005) I have to wonder how Save Yourself-Stabbing Westward did not make this list. And since I was the first DJ to play Underground-Ben Folds Five and Semi-Charmed Life-Third Eye Blind; they should be here, as well. Why isn't Zombie-Cranberries here? The Cranberries? What about "Dreams" itself--didn't we used to cry to that song? Choose carefully. You, the boaster of voices; where is Russ Ballard's "Voices", Or Moody Blues "The Voice"? And there's cool obscure shit (from famous bands) I loved that most people don't know about; like the Cars "Think it Over"...It would take years to go through all of the cool obscure shit (from just 3 years of less popular bands, '95-'97); like Orbit's "Bicycle Song". Whoa whoa whoa, MIldred. Maybe we should just start the fuck over, from the gutter and gloom. 2000 and fucking 5 already; come this December it will have been 10 years since the big one should have trashed California like these present storms (2-05) are starting to. Why are we still here?
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