Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My 25 Favorite Songs Part III

Interestingly, Part III (songs 15 down through 11) covers a 30 year swath of time, from 1969 to 1999. I had no idea my tastes were so expansive! (And yes. By "tastes" I mean "waistline.")

Up next, we enter my Top 10. But for now, here's the five songs that make up the middle portion of my personal Top 25.

15) “Desperados Under The Eaves”—Warren Zevon, 1976. Another songwriting giant, and I covered this song pretty extensively a few weeks ago. But Zevon had the uncannily ability to make Los Angeles seem deadly, gorgeous, terrifying, doomed, hilarious, and seductive at the same time. The three times I saw him live there were a few hundred people, tops, in the audience. Which was good. Because it’s nice being able to think you are in on a great, wonderful secret most don’t know anything about. “If California slides into the ocean like the mystics and statistics say it will, I predict this motel will be standing until I pay my bill.”

14) “Land of Hope and Dreams”—Bruce Springsteen, 1999. An invitation of a journey to a promising future, open to everyone—everyone—who wishes to come. The “need not apply” provision doesn’t exist – this train belong to all of us. Sprawling, soulful, timeless. Right on. “Hear the steel wheels singing…bells of freedom ringing.”

13) “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”—Bob Dylan, 1975. This should be a terribly sad song. But a master lyricist, storyteller and, most important, songwriter as skilled as Bob Dylan knew how to tell the real story and while relaying the pain and loss of a breakup, also remembering the good times and the humanity. That’s what I love so much about it - it’s a goodbye, but it’s a beautiful and affectionate one. “I’ll see you in the sky above, in the tall grass, in the ones I love.”

12) “There Is A Reason”—Alison Krause and Union Station, 1996. Alison’s singing is some kind of gift from some far away place – there simply is no voice to match her mix of sweetness and clarity. This is a faith-based song that explains in very simple terms what we’re all really hoping for. As someone who came to the party a bit later in life than most, I can dig it. I really can. “Heaven is the place I call my home, but I keep on getting caught up in this world I’m living in.”

11) “Here Comes the Sun”—Beatles, 1969. Not even Sandy Farina’s saccharine version in the God awful Sgt. Pepper movie (yes, that actually happened, it wasn’t just a bad dream) could make this song sound TOO bad. I have this picture in my mind of George Harrison, taken (just like John) far too soon, arriving at the pearly gates, and having every occupant of Heaven waiting for him, singing this song to him. Well done, sir. “Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting.”

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