I've thought about starting this post off with a "10 things I should be doing instead of coming up with my 10 favorite songs" list, but this is just more fun... so without further ado:
The Official Ducks (Out Of A Row) Top 10 Songs
10) Pink Floyd - "Wish You Were Here" (Just barely over "Comfortably Numb"...)
Because I'm not trading my heroes for ghosts.
9) Michael Jackson - "Beat It"
This was my first "favorite" song off of the first album I had ever owned. (One of my aunts -- I don't use names here, but if you happen to be reading and your b-day falls on the 4th of July, I've never forgotten this -- got me the cassette tape for one of my birthdays. If I had to guess, it was probably my 11th b-day.) "Thriller" (album) quickly became my favorite and I can't even count how many times I listened to that tape. I loved all of the songs on it, but "Beat It" was my #1 jam.
8) James Brown - "Living in America"
This has nothing to do with any sense of patriotism, but rather a devotion to a truly funky groove. And, for the record, yes, I do belt this out at the top of my lungs when cruising around.
7) Outkast - "B.O.B."
This one goes on a bit long at the trail end, but once it starts and kicks in... wow. It's simply a pure sonic force and my head just can't stop bobbing when I listen to it. If you happen to go to YouTube to check out the official video, you will see -- unless you are actually blind, then I suppose you'll have someone read it to you -- a comment from someone asking "What happened to this kind of music?" The answer is: There has never been another instance of them making music like this. (Note: Actually, that might not be entirely true. "All of the Lights" from the most recent Kanye West album has a similar ferociousness with regard to the music, even if I find some of the lyrics rather questionable.)
6) Metallica - "Fade To Black"
I've seen Metallica in concert a handful of times now, but I've never been lucky enough to see them do this one live. Probably for the best, because I could die a happy man right on the spot after that. The lyrics are especially dark and give an authentic portrayal of suicidal depression, but it's the guitar that gives me absolute goose bumps. People might judge Metallica as just being a heavy metal band that plays loud music, but they're only half right. The actual music of this song has an almost classic feel to it, almost as if an orchestra could play it or something...
5) Dr. Dre (featuring Snoop Dogg) - "Ain't Nuthin' But A G Thang"
I believe this was the first rap song that I liked. Until Dr. Dre dropped this on the music scene, I was somewhat locked into the misguided notion that Rock was the only music worth listening to. (What can I say, I was a dumb adolescent at the time.) Since then I've learned that good music is "good music without regard to the style" and appreciate songs from all genres. Anyhow, G Thang is a pure classic. The beat is strong and Dre & Snoop are masterful at mixing the laidback Cali sound with "you don't mess with us" bravado. (Note: This cracker not only likes "It Was a Good Day", but can also rap along to this one.)
4) Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
The essential teenage angst anthem for someone who happened to be an angsted teen in the mid-90's. (What I was "angsted" from, though, is beyond me. I wasn't abused or anything, so what did I have to complain about? The biggest thing that frustrated me was that I felt like a relatively normal person outside of school and school events, but the "nerd/geek/dork" label weighed heavily on me when I was within those walls. Since then, I've grown up and learned to just embrace my weirdness and am fine with being different. There's actually a Smashing Pumpkins song that starts with "I fear that I am ordinary, just like everyone." I could see that as being one of my mottos.)
3) Phish - "Joy"
I've actually recommended this song in an earlier post by saying that it is easily worth the dollar or whatever to download the song and I stand by that. It's a beautiful tale of friendship and encouragement ("We want you to be happy."). The composition is incredible. If I could have written any song from both musical and lyrical standpoints... well it would probably be "Fake Plastic Trees," but this would be a very, very, very close second. "Joy" is actually a rather tight song for a band known for sprawling jams and I think it's definitely for the best.
2) Sun Kil Moon - "Carry Me Ohio"
This is actually the most-played song on my iTunes. I don't even know what else to say about this one except that it gives me chills every single time I listen to it. This is my #1, go-to writing song.
1) Radiohead - "Fake Plastic Trees"
This song is absolutely brilliant. The story of "narrator and she and he" is fantastic. The music builds from a crawl to an outright explosion of emotion ("I can't help the feeling, I could blow through the ceiling.") that leaves the singer... well, just see how he addresses it when the song slows back down in the final moments. (Hint: "It wears me out, it wears me out.") Yeah, I've had days like that before.
Now, I just put this list together off the top of my head. Some songs that were close include: Pearl Jam (“Down” or “Marker in the Sand” or “I am Mine”), Rush (“Limelight”), Blackalicious (“Sky is Falling” or “Blazing Arrow”), or Modest Mouse (“Dashboard” or “Missed the Boat”).
I’m sure there are others, but it’s tough to think about them without having my iTunes with me right now.