82. Avril Lavigne – Best Damn Thing
Where are the hopes, where are the dreams
My Cinderella story scene?
That right there made me fall in love with the song when I first heard it, and then along came the clapping and the cheerleader routine, and that just killed it for me. Eventually, when I was itching for new music in September, I started hesitantly branching out on the disc, and found that while the chorus was still clearly superior, I didn’t mind the rest of the song so much. In fact, I kind of dug the bouncy, chirpy style. It was good for workouts, anyway.
83. Avril Lavigne – Contagious
Even better for workouts…fast, driving rock beat can sometimes be a good thing
84. Carrie Underwood – Before He Cheats
When I first read the lyrics to this song, it looked like a stupid redneck country piece, and I refused to hear it. One morning, I woke up to my roommate’s radio alarm, which she’d forgotten to turn off before going home. I was immediately stilled by the great music, and then when the singing started, I was captivated, sure I recognized the voice and following along with the lyrics so that I could look it up online and capture my new Instant Song Love. So I’m bobbing my head and going along, and then I hear “Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats.” ZOMG WTF THIS IS THAT SONG?! Apparently so. And it is fantastic, like any average contemporary piece.
85. Imogen Heap – Glittering Cloud (The Plague of Locusts)
I’m not always like this
It’s something I become
A terrible weakness
In my nature, in my blood
Someone posted this song in response to a “5 favorite songs that begin with this letter” meme, and having loved “Hide and Seek,” I was intrigued by these lyrics. The music is amazing, the lyrics beautifully crafted around a mixture of Biblical story and the singer’s identifying with it. GO FETCH IT FOR YOURSELF NOW. I closely associate this with the beginning of the school year, both the day it got stuck in my head during Nutrition, and taking walks/bike rides out on the trail under hot afternoon sun while madly dodging grasshoppers (oh, irony).
86. Jordin Sparks – Tattoo
I can't waste time so give it a moment
I realize, nothing's broken
No need to worry 'bout everything I've done
Live every second like it was my last one
We have lessthangreat to thank for bringing her first single to my attention, or I would have completely forgotten about it and probably not heard it until December. As for the song, two words: THANK YOU! This is perfect; it’s everything I ever wanted Jordin to sing, and she sounds exactly like I always knew she could if given a proper pop music context to play in. Had I any spare money, I would have run out and bought the whole album immediately, sound unheard. I had to settle for an individual song, but it NEVER STOPS DELIGHTING ME. Oh, and I feel it’s important to point out that this is not actually a song about tattoos, which would be horrible, but rather about being unable to forget someone from the past. Yeah, I can identify there.
87. Phil Stacey – Tobacco Road
Also courtesy of lessthangreat – I would not have known this existed; I must have missed the episode of Idol where he sang this. But just like he was fantastic on “Where the Blacktop Ends,” he does amazing things with this song. I’ve never heard the original song, but that’s okay, because I’ve decided Phil OWNS it. I actually had to go double check that this was a cover and not some story from childhood turning into his first single, that’s how convincing he is.
88. Kelly Clarkson – Not Today
ALSO courtesy of the above, and also one I would not otherwise have known existed, I snapped up the new Kelly song. To my pleasant surprise, it was the best she’d pulled off since “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” a nice change from all that horrid hard rock.
89. Sara Bareilles – Fairytale
The tall blonde lets out a cry of despair, says
Would have cut it myself if I knew men could climb hair
I’ll have to find another tower somewhere
And keep away from the windows.
One more from her; again the lyrics hooked me, so I took a chance on what sounded like it might be a pop/contemporary female singer (songwriter?), and once again, it paid off. I’m generally fond of songs with “fairytale” in the title, though, even when all they’re doing is turning Disney stories on their head and complaining about how they’d never work in the real world.
90. Plain White T’s – Hey There Delilah
Hey there Delilah
You be good and don’t you miss me
Two more years and you’ll be done with school
And I’ll be making history like I do
Only once in a while does a song come out and grab my attention as sharply as this one did. I heard it on the bus during my first week of school, meaning I was already sort of panicky about returning to academia and kept chanting to myself “3 semesters, 3 semesters…” or as the song suggested, 2 more years. And then I’d never have to go back to school; if I could just make it two years, there would be better things to come. Although I eventually killed this song with overplay, while it lasted, it was a deep source of comfort and encouragement.
91. Carbon Leaf – Life Less Ordinary
A little later on that year
I told you that I loved you dear
What do you know
This you weren’t prepared to hear
Less than a month into my newfound obsession with The Office (by which I mostly mean Jim/Pam), dollsome made an incredibly fantastic video set to this song, which as it turns out, was CLEARLY written about Jim and Pam, since it perfectly tells the evolution of their story from seasons 1-3. Both song and video filled me with bubbles of euphoric glee, and simply for that connotation, I have to say it’s one of my top songs this year. Easily in the all-time favorites.
So, she came to our campus for the second or third time, and once again I failed to work up the impetus to go see her, even though I felt this sort of pull that she might be someone I’d like *and* it was a free concert in our little campus coffee shop (*retroactive headdesk*). So naturally, a couple of days later I actually looked up her music online, and promptly started KICKING MYSELF TO PIECES for having missed a chance to hear such beautiful music for myself. Among the songs I fell in love with over the course of the month as I rounded them up a couple at a time were:
Somebody tell her she can’t carry it all
It’s getting hard to pretend we’re not watching her fall
What are the odds of finding two songs called “Emily” in the same year? A much lighter melody than Jewel’s, but still about watching a friend on the verge of self-destruction and trying to ease her burden.
93. How Far You’ve Come
It was just one of those days
Nothing's going right and it might all fall apart
She feels like she's just too tired to fight anymore
Just how much can one girl take before she breaks?
I LOVE this song for its sense of hope. It’s the song you listen to when everything sucks and you’re overwhelmed by all the work and projects you have to do (or maybe that’s just me), and the song understands that, but then it’s about digging in your heels and reminding yourself that you’re strong and you can get through things like you have in the past.
94. Let Go
If life doesn’t go the way that you planned
Maybe it sees better than you can
Not unlike the above, it’s an inspiring song about trusting what happens and not worrying about circumstances that change beyond your control.
95. Ooh Oh
Wasn’t it the hurt that made it easier
To forget the things we both left behind
Second song I heard, and cinched it. I was good and obsessed with her music.
96. Talk to Me
There you go again
I let you get away
At least I've got more time
To think of what I might say
I probably shouldn’t list this one, since after I heard it I vaguely remembered hearing it on the radio an eternity ago…but I don’t think I ever heard it more than once or twice; not enough to fall in love with it. I can’t believe I never made a greater effort to track down this artist! Love the punchy melody, and the story of waiting for someone to notice you is timeless.
97. Violet Sky
Underneath the beautiful violet sky
I have dreamed but
I never knew I would feel so alive
On a night like tonight
I’m not quite as enamored of this one, a very slow love song, but the title always conjures up images of Violet/Cooper (Private Practice), and there’s pretty piano so it’s cute.
98. Watch Me Walk
This is the part where I start taking over
Why should I let you decide?
Life is too short, you blink and it’s over
So now, you’re gonna watch me walk out of your life
This started it all – her voice was beautiful, the style was exactly what I always look for. Laid back in tempo, yet a driving self-confidence in her tone. Instant Singer Love.
99. Panjabi MC – Mundian To Bach Ke
Thank you, ER! I was watching a rerun episode, and in a background scene by the front desk during a bit of downtime, this song has just been popped into the CD player, and Neela and Gallant are getting their groove on. I’m sure I’ve seen this episode before; how did I not know this was an exceptionally danceable and rather addictive/hypnotic song? I rounded it up post-haste, and spent many happy hours nodding my head in a state of entrancement. I…don’t think I’ve ever said that about Indian music before.
For the record, her third album, “Heroes and Theives,” was a work of SHEER GENIUS. I was disappointed in her sophomore offering, even though she’s one of my favorite singers, but not this one. After I bought it, I literally could not listen to anything else for about two weeks, although it is most firmly ingrained in my head with all-nighters in the sophomore dorm computer labs, pulling off Nutrition lab reports/other assignments. It’s one of the few albums I can literally play all the way through without desiring to skip tracks, although for the sake of not making this list insanely repetitive, I forced myself to cut out a few less-loved tracks…but I still kept more than I cut. I LOVE THIS ALBUM, in case that is not obvious yet. So, here we go.
100. Fools Like Me
Beware the danger, it lurks for those who get swept away
The dreamers get punished most by truth
Third-favorite so far, I think; I like the warnings about letting love blind you, and the whistling that opens it…and the strings are back in full force, too; songs are always better with them.
101. Hands on Me
And all the constellations
Shine down for us to see
And if you don't believe me
Just put your hands on me
I love how this one melds from a fairly mundane and everyday interaction to fantasies of almost fairytale-like proportions. I can almost see her and the unnamed other as little puppets being moved across a variety of backdrops, traveling around the world. Very catchy, bright melody.
102. Heroes and Thieves
Well, disaster it strikes on a daily basis
I’m looking for wisdom in all the wrong places
But still want to laugh in disappointed faces
But you can’t help me, I’m blinded by these
Heroes and thieves at my door
I can’t seem to tell them apart anymore
BEAUTIFUL melody and gorgeous accompaniment from the strings, especially the lonesome, almost Irish-sounding violin whose individual strains dance over her voice. Easily my second-favorite after Nolita, and definitely vying for first.
Some I have known have a ship where they sleep
With sounds of rocks on the coast
They sail over oceans five fathoms deep
But can't find what they want the most
It starts off a little slowly for my tastes, but then builds to a beautiful, rich crescendo of piano before dying back down…and then in the final minute, cuts loose with most wildly beautiful, joyous piano solo ever.
104. More Than This
As the years move along
And soldiers and heroes come home
And they carry a song
Let's make this our story, let's live in the glory
Time, it fades away, precious as a song
Cause someday we'll be gone
I’m normally not a fan of including choirs of any kind, but the big finish to this CD is overwhelmingly powerful because of it.
105. Nolita Fairytale
Take away my record deal
Go on, I don't need it
Spent the last 2 years getting to what's real
And now I can see so clear
See previous mention on loving songs with “fairytale” in the title, especially if they reveal a good deal about the person singing them. And the word “Nolita” is just fun to say. And I love the thank-you to Steve Nicks in the song. It was my favorite even before I knew it was the first single.
106. The One (ft. Stevie Nicks)
I always think this one starts out too slowly, and start to skip it, but then Stevie’s voice kicks in, and their blended harmony is a treat to hear.
107. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End soundtrack
After Vanessa, I went back to my instrumental soundtrack roots. I’m just going to list this all as one number, because it’s really meant to be listened to all at once, and I’m not sure I even know where all the song breaks are. The only things I can say with certainty are that I have excised “Hoist the Colors” (#1) from my computer playlist because the kid’s reedy voice drives me nuts, I’m rather fond of “
108. Josh Groban - Little Drummer Boy
I’m not overly fond of Christmas carols, especially new releases of them, but I’m always up for hearing Josh Groban, and the holidays seemed like a good time to get on that. This track was an instant favorite - it showcases his rich, deep voice better than anything I’ve heard in a while; this is the voice that sends shivers up my spine with its power. And the beautiful penny whistle solo, throwing in a Celtic flair, did not hurt at all.
109. Josh Groban - Thankful
So for tonight we pray for what we know can be
And every day we hope for what we still can't see
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There's so much to be thankful for.
Okay, it’s *possible* I might just be thankful that this about the only track Josh gets to sing all by his lonesome – if the man has a fault, it’s his incessant collaborations, duets, etc. On the other hand, his voice has a way – demonstrated here – of sweeping me away and almost making me care about other people and such. He’s clearly magical, as I don’t think this song alone could do that.
110. Josh Groban – What Child is This
This also happens to be one of the few carols I really love anyway, and he takes it to beautiful new places with not only his voice (I love the countermelody after the bridge), but the solemnly echoing bells, all manner of strings and lovely woodwind trills as garnishes in the background…it’s a darker and more somber version, but this works in haunting ways I would never have thought possible.
111. Kendall Payne – I Will Show You Love
You will come alive again and call the trying times your friend
The pain that you have suffered through will never get the best of you
For every 30 boring songs Grey’s Anatomy plays – or maybe more – they give you one really, truly golden one. This is one such song. I shall never forget watching “Haunt You Every Day,” and seeing everything fall apart to the mournful melody of this beautiful, crystal-clear tune (especially Ava leaving without a word…*sob*). The lyrics wrapped themselves around my brain and took hold, and they didn’t even play the best part of the song – “watch your dreams like falling stars, heartache made you who you are,” the latter half of which I have adopted as my own personal mantra. I don’t know how many times I’ve sung this, although I do rather stubbornly ignore the fact that it’s technically about God’s love. That cheeses it up; I prefer the perspective of a loved one or friend.
112. Kendall Payne – Scratch
I used to think I was special
And only I have proved me wrong
I thought I could change the world with a song
But I have ended up in India, with no lamp to guide me home
I’d hoped to find more songs of equally beautiful sentiment, but I could only churn up one, which I mostly love because of her pure voice and this one verse.
113. Matt Nathanson – All We Are
I went broke believing that the simple should be hard
So…this song originally played over the end of the NCIS episode “Family,” and I didn’t think much of it then. I heard it again playing over the end of Private Practice, and suddenly the acoustic guitar was lovely and poignant, and the song a cautiously optimistic commentary on life (although in retrospect, the song belongs to NCIS. I like its use better there).
114. Sia – Little Black Sandals
These little black sandals
Are walking me away
These little black sandals
Saved my life today
I don’t remembering hearing it on Private Practice, but when I saw there was a Sia track up for grabs, I took it based on past experience. I like this song; she sounds grittier and more world-weary than on previous offerings.
115. Emilie Autumn – Across the Sky
k-t-f is to be congratulated for creating a gorgeous Pisces-themed mix that introduced me to at least half my songs this month; unless I specify otherwise, you can assume that’s where I found these. It was like getting an early Christmas present, especially when I “unwrapped” it (technically, I unzipped it). I do not even have the words to describe how jaw-droppingly gorgeous this is. There really are no words to describe it; it’s like a mixture of the most haunting Celtic music, only with a more modern instrumental sound, and not a little ethereal spookiness. It always reminds me of “Lost,” if that helps you get an idea. Basically, my life was not complete before I knew of this song.
116. Goldfrapp – Crystalline Green
Kind of a cool, electric/techno sound…I like to imagine it playing in European discotheques, however wrong this interpretation might be.
117. Grayharp – Wild Card
I don’t know how you can sleep at night
I don’t know just how you breathe
So life has handed you a wild card
Why do you take it out on me?
This is the YouTube-exclusive song that I couldn’t help falling in love with, even though it’s terribly dangerous to love songs that might disappear at any moment (in fact, this one almost did; someone hacked into her account and wreaked havoc). Not only is the song a beautifully heartfelt piece of writing, performed with only voice and guitar, but no matter which way I look at her, I’m still reminded a little bit of Pam Beesly. This can only be a good thing.
118. Hanson – Look At You
She walks in with that look in her eye
Somehow she doesn’t even have to try
Just kick off your shoes, get on the floor
This is what we came here for
So, by now you should all be aware of the intensely hardcore tumble I took into Hanson fangirling last December, after seeing the MMMBop video for the first time. I would claim temporary insanity because it was Finals Week and I was spending hours on papers, except that after doing a whole lot of strictly non-academic research, I’ve reached the conclusion that not only is Hanson entirely worth of receiving accolades, it was foolish of me not to fangirl them from the very beginning. I started to remedy that by getting their first album and combing through it for other beloved tracks. Although this one takes a rapid descent into stupidity in the last minute or so, with a lot of random nonsense words/noises and hollering, up until that point it’s a really fun dance-floor song. Group knows how to entertain.
119. Hanson – Where’s The Love
Guh! The adorable video would have sold me if the song hadn’t, but the song does a very good job of selling itself. It’s wonderfully happy and optimistic, Isaac actually gets a verse of his own, and it’s very nearly as danceable as the above song.
120. Hanson - Yearbook
Poor Katie, she won’t even speak his name
None of us will ever be the same
It’s quiet in the halls, but I hear it echoing off the walls
Rumors of Johnny’s mystery
I was following Google Image hits to amuse myself with how much the group’s appearance has changed over the years, and I stumbled over a list of their songs. Seeing the title was enough to pique my interest (with capslock-level excitement), the lyrics drove me wild, and actually hearing the song, I was blown away. It’s “dark and moody and melancholy,” to quote my initial reaction, and these fantastic elements make it one of my favorites of the year.
121. Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around…/…Comes Around interlude
Okay, TECHNICALLY I discovered this in June or July, where it was set to a Will/Elizabeth/Jack video, and so the pre-interlude part of the song is always going to remind me, to some extent, of that triangle. But I forgot about it quickly, until I heard it on the bus and kept saying to myself, “Hey, I like this one. It sounds vaguely familiar. Which amazing song is this, again?” And then I was slightly mortified to find out it was Justin Timberlake (the first time I heard it, I wasn’t paying attention to all the lyrics and I honestly thought it was a woman). And now…I’m pretty much in love with the whole thing; the interlude part perhaps even slightly more. I cannot explain to you why I love this song so much, but I DO.
122. The Kooks – Seaside
There’s nothing inherently standout about this song, but it’s a pleasant little ditty.
Useful for playing during Sutek’s Tomb.
123. Melissa Etheridge – The Different
You’ve never been to the moon, but don’t you want to go
Under the sea in the volcano
You’ve never looked into my eyes but don’t you want to know
What the dark and the wild and the different know?
I’m not a huge fan of hers, but her rough voice can be appealing in the right context. Here makes me think of the theme we latched onto at the beginning of my Great Poets course, human wildness, and untapped emotions striving to get out.
124. Nina Gordon - Watercolors
Once in a while, you ask for a smile
What am I going to say?
‘Cause these tears are real, I like how they feel
I like how they carry me away
I only know her name from “Tonight and the Rest of my Life,” one of my all-time favorite songs, but this one actually matches it. Her voice singing out on the title word in the chorus is one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard, and the idea of “I’m happiest when I’m blue” just might be my personal mantra.
125. Sleepthief ft. san.drine – Entre Ciel et Mer
Beautiful French song (“Between Sky and Sea”), a dreamy, breathy piece of music that rolls over you like a lullaby.
126. Stars – Look Up
You're cold, maybe you just missed the sun
You fall, feeling like its just begun
So far, keeping it together's been enough
Look up, rain is falling, looks like love
And finally, from a post on the music community…this was one someone’s list of “My 100 Favorite Songs.” I was intrigued by the fact that it was a Stars song, but when she asked people not to be turned away by the fact that it opened with oboe/English horn, I was like “Oboe/English horn? HELL YEAH, GIMME!” Actually, the opening is clipped from a section of Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” (a song I already love to pieces), and this song, although with less story and more imagery, is easily on par with “Your Ex-Lover is Dead.” GO GET IT NOW.
WOW THAT TOOK FOREVER. And not just the writing part; the formatting issues were like the deepest circle of HELL (two hours. Two hours I spent just editing and reworking formatting issues). Anyway: I challenge you, dear readers, to keep your own list. I know we’re already into January, but I bet you can remember what you’ve listened to in the past couple of weeks. This could be great fun, I think.
Possibly it would be wiser to break this down in monthly, quarterly, or at least bi-annual segments; you can decide your own method. Just keep a list! It will be fun to look back at; I promise.