+MAYdiv style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; line-height: normal">51. Clay Aiken – On My Way Here
I took my first step on that black and white kitchen floor
I sometimes wonder if that house is even there anymore
Just because the man is currently in a frightening state of androgynous-to-girly appearance doesn’t mean he can’t still have an incredible voice. I’ve been waiting 5 years for him to release another proper album, and the first single off it did not disappoint. This reminded me why Clay hooked me in the first place. Good, smooth pop song.
52. Ani DiFranco – Falling is Like This
We can't fight gravity on a planet that insists
That love is like falling, and falling is like this
I’ve never heard her music; I always sort of blended her with Annie Lennox in my mind, and I do not like Annie Lennox. But then somebody put up a music post of “songs with beautiful lyrics,” and I was intrigued by these. It’s a lovely vocals + guitar piece, light melody but kind of bittersweet tone.
53. Rihanna – Take a Bow
That was quite a show, very entertaining
For the first week or two of work, the other girls insisted we listen to the Top 40 radio station all day, which just had so much horrible crap (or rather, a small selection of crap that they repeated a lot) that I started clinging to lifelines of bearable songs that kept my sanity intact. Like this one, whose singer I resisted learning as long as possible because I knew it would be awful (true!). But it pulled me in anyway, between the laid-back rhythm and the surprisingly decent voice. That, and I totally had a mental image of a circus ring the first time I heard it. Which fascinated me, and before I knew it, I was listening of my own accord.
[August edit: Yeah, I already hate this song for being on my list. More than the hip-hop I will express shame for later on, actually. I still listen to it, so I'm not using executive editing powers to take it off before posting, but...it is just such bland garbage compared to the majority of the others. And not even like fun-guilty-pleasure garbage, just like 'This isn't very good. But the melody isn't half decent. I guess.']
54. Madonna ft. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland – 4 Minutes
We only got 4 minutes to save the world…
I also got hooked on this one, even though it pains me SO MUCH to like a song including any of the above people. It reminds me of like five different songs at once, but it’s hard not to get just carried away by the commanding music at the beginning, and the “tick-tock” and “Don’t be a pri (hey) ma donna” bits are catchy. All right, it’s a complete and total dance track. *is shame-faced* I do like how Justin Timberlake sets such lofty goals for himself, though. Bringing sexy back…saving the world in 4 minutes…
55. The Run – Time Spent Driving
I drive myself with a pen and a page
And I lie to myself with the thought of a stage and a crowd
But everyone is rushing out
For no particular reason, I was listening to my college’s student-produced-music CD, and I found a gem I’d missed before, a guy band with some really gorgeous piano nice, honest-sounding vocals. This one’s short, but it makes me think of long drives through the country – easy to relate.
56. CSS – Music is My Hot, Hot Sex
Music is my beach house, music is my hometown
Blame the iPod commercial. I eventually downloaded my own copy but I’d never really listened to it in full until this month when I was weeding through my music library. It was the Portuguese at the end (part of which sounded like French at first… I could have sworn I was hearing “il y a” and “sont tombes”) that got me to start playing on loop, but now I pretty much love all of it. Despite its off-putting title, it’s really a fun/somewhat nonsensical song.
57. Bif Naked – Lucky
It was a Monday when my lover told me
“Never pay the reaper with love only”
The chorus during an episode of “Moonlight” was gorgeous. At first I wasn’t especially fond of the lyrics, but then suddenly one Monday at work I found myself singing the first verse incessantly, and I realized I was quite enchanted by everything. Soft, slow and a little haunting.
58. Haley Westerna – Dark Waltz
Time dancers whirling past
I gaze through the looking glass
And feel just beyond my grasp is heaven
The year’s first brilliant performance from “So You Think You Can Dance,” this song took my breath away as much as the waltz itself. It sounds to me very much like a slow, haunting song from a Disney princess – the singer’s voice is amazingly high and pure, in a way I usually hate but which is just beautiful in this context - but when I looked up the lyrics on songmeanings.net, one person put forth a spectacular hypothesis that it sounded like a song about vampires. This is now the idea I’m sticking with (see previous songs for possible reasons why).
59. Jordin Sparks – One Step At a Time
You wanna show the world but no one knows your name yet
You wonder when and where and how you’re gonna make it
The first time I heard this song, I was excited that Jordin was recovering from her foray into Suckdom that was “No Air,” but I wasn’t particularly enthused, even though it sounded exactly like the kind of song I’d always wanted her to sing. The second time, I abruptly fell head over heels for the sound effect of the clicking heels, the lovely harp, and of course the lyrics. What a gorgeous message. And she can pull it off without sounding like she’s singing to 10-year-olds about how to believe in themselves. This is by far my favorite of her singles so far.
60. Kid Rock - All Summer Long
It was 1989, my thoughts were short, my hair was long
Caught somewhere between a boy and man
She was 17, she was far from in between
It was summertime in northern Michigan
When I first heard the song, I honestly thought it was just some new version of “Sweet Home Alabama,” which nevertheless perked me up because it was a breath of welcome fresh air on the Top 40 station. Gradually, I started to realize this was not the case, but it was this verse that caught my attention, as I am all about past years being mentioned for nostalgia, especially if they involve summer and/or the Midwest. And for all the dumb stuff in the chorus, it’s excusable because it’s Kid Rock and you wouldn’t expect any better, so it’s just a fun reflection song.
61. Celine Dion – A New Day Has Come
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new sun
A new day has come
So You Think You Can Dance produced another stunner of a piece to this song; again I was swept away both by the dance and because I generally adore Celine. I’d always meant to check out this song but never gotten around to it; now that I have, I think it’s absolutely beautiful – uplifting, inspiring and hopeful.
62. Flo Rida - Low
She had them apple bottom jeans (jeans), boots with the fur...
I resisted. Oh God, I resisted all summer against putting this on my list (though I’ve inserted it into June, because if I’m being honest that’s when it got me), because HIP-HOP! And furthermore crappy nonsense hip-hop, not the excusable Chamillionaire kind! Unfortunately, the chorus is irresistible. I knew this from the first time I heard it and could not help bobbing my head along. And finally I determined that the chorus wasn’t really so bad, and I only felt a little guilty when I hoped it would come on the radio. “Apple bottom jeans” is the whole hook, I swear. Then the rest of the song grows on you like a drug addiction.
63. Carlos Nunez – Dawn
Recommended by Stunt Muppet, or she mentioned it and I thought it sounded good from the description, or something…once I finally heard it, I found beautiful instrumental music, Spanish-Celtic style. It’s a very soft and soothing sort of morning song…as I found out the other day when I was listening to it at dawn, walking to work. Beautiful use of pipes/recorder. About halfway through it shakes off the fog, switches keys and takes on a little more life (with the rising sun? Boy, I make up crap about lyric-less music). Ugh, I am utterly failing to recapture the magic with which Muppet described it and I can’t find the original post. Help me out here.
64. Carlos Nunez – Galician Carol
Anyway, she uploaded a couple more for me in case I liked the first one, and I fell head over heels for this one right away too. See if you can listen to 30 seconds without wanting to dance to the lively little recorder tune.
Now you will notice a sudden explosion of country music, because the gals at work steadily began to play a ratio of 1/3 Top 40, 2/3 Today’s Hot New Country every day, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t start to look forward to that routine. Next year I may look back at this section of my playlist and go “ugh, why did I have to preserve this for all eternity? *skip*”, and thus I wrestled all summer with whether or not to actually put it on the list, but in the end I realized it did make up a substantial part of my listening, and the ones I finally found myself playing on repeat made the list.
He could already see him holding that trophy,
Taking his team to state.
But when the nurse came in with a little pink blanket,
All those big dreams changed.
This song caught my attention from the beginning, clearly telling a story, but it took a while for me to accept that I liked a country song. When I finally listened to the lyrics properly, I fell head over heels for the 3-generation story of cheerleader + football star (the title taking on a few different contexts in the process), because you know me; I love my traditional Americana. Plus it’s just such a sweet song, and Carrie’s voice is fairly awesome, too. I think finding out she was the singer was what convinced me to pay attention to the lyrics in the first place. Attaching “Carrie Underwood” to a song not called Jesus Take the Wheel automatically makes it sound more mainstream.
66. Josh Gracin – We Weren’t Crazy
We were young, we were wild, we were restless
Had to go, had to fly, had to get away
(Hey there, Idol alum!) I have no idea what it is about this song that got me – no particular love for the singer, I can’t relate much to the lyrics, the music’s nothing special, and I am already kicking myself from next year for claiming it as a Song I Fell In Love With. But the chorus always has me singing along. I can’t turn it away.
Gran and Gramps in the second row
Stood right there fifty years ago and said their vows
Yeah, I guess it's workin' out
So, funny story: I am all pro-marriage, yet hate actual wedding ceremonies and think they are dull and boring and stupid. But for some reason, while I didn’t think much of it at first, now this song chronicling a wedding gets me all teary-eyed with happiness, and a little bit choked up every time I hear it. I DON’T KNOW. I blame Uncle Joe and Uncle Jake, who hadn’t spoken since ’98. Or the part where the bride’s wearing her late mother’s dress…that’s probably more what does it.
68. Taylor Swift – Our Song
Our song is the slammin’ screen door
Sneakin’ out late, tappin’ on your window
“Teardrops on my Guitar” came at least 5 years too late to have the intended emotional impact on me, and the rest of her songs all kinda sound alike – pleasant, but nothing distinctive - but this one finally started to stand out from the pack. Which was a relief, because she’s pretty and I wanted to like her. I now completely adore the ambling little fiddle and twangy guitar in the opening; along with the lyrics it creates a timeless picture of a teenage country couple. She seems too young for a lot of her songs, but this one fits her voice.
69. Carrie Underwood – Just a Dream
Then they handed her a folded up flag
And she held on to all she had left of him
I initially rolled my eyes and figured this song was dumb and sappy. Until I listened to the lyrics and realized it was about death rather than divorce/cheating, and now I cry every other time I hear it. WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME WITH YOUR VOICE, CARRIE?
70. Let’s Go Sailing – All I Want From You Is Love
Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to place me
To place me, to place me, to place me
OMIGOD NORMAL MUSIC YAY. Or, well…so, I was weeding through my music library, when I came across one of metatarsus’ fanmix CDs that I hadn’t finished picking out good songs from. I believe this one was Simon/River, which meant nothing to me except that it was futuristic and involved space, and the pictures were intriguing. This was by no means Instant Song Love, but something about wouldn’t let me delete it. There’s some really cool, vaguely ragtime-jazzy piano music featured in this one, and I like the breathy quality of the female singer’s voice and the sound of the word repetition.
71. Air – Once Upon a Time
Don't try to be on time
Don't try to run after time
Off the same mix and with that same mysteriously futuristic sound – not unlike Goldfrapp, actually – and minimal lyrics, this followed much the same pattern. Not Instant Song Love, but juuuuust odd enough, with pulsing keyboard melody and whistling effects, to keep my ears on it.
And then comes the part where I adjust a rule from the last installment (thus totally wrecking my year-long numbering, but whatever, I think only I understand what this post is about anyway): songs from instrumental soundtracks, if I can recognize them individually, now each get their own number instead of going in as a CD with highlights. So prepare for an explosion from Doctor Who, going by the extremely random order in which I fell for them. NON-WHO FANS, DON’T YOU DARE SKIP THIS. Music transcends TV shows.
72. Murray Gold – Martha’s Theme
The entire impetus for me going to round up the other two soundtrack CDs was hearing this beautiful theme of haunting, murmuring vocals cutting through episode after episode. Soft, sad, and moving, and there’s even a pretty little flute feature by the end.
73. Murray Gold – Rose’s Theme
Listening to that reminded me I’d never officially heard the much-talked-about theme from my favorite companion, which begins much more innocuously –like a music box tune – and generally blends more into the background, but I love it for the positively sparkling flute part at the end.
74. Yamit Mamo – The Stowaway
He closed his eyes, all out at sea,
I think he danced with her not me
(Still Doctor Who, but songs only belong to composers if there are no lyrics. Otherwise I file them under the singers, hence Mamo.) This is the first time a song about the Doctor has been as instantly brilliant in performance as the lyrics make it look; triumphant and hopeful and joyful. And very Christmas-y. :D Did I mention hopeful? I can’t help wanting to bob along to the dancing piano notes, and I think I’d feel like this is even if the lyrics didn’t have any particular significance.
75. Murray Gold - Just Scarecrows to War
This should be way longer than its 90 seconds, because it’s a wonderful feature of snare drum, bells, and alternately mournful/aggressive piccolo in an utterly perfect military march. I have love for military marches.
76. Murray Gold - This is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home
UM GUH. Long before I was aware of any episodic significance – which frankly pales in comparison to the power of the music itself – I was head over heels for this song. It far outstrips any of the others on here, much as I love them, because it just takes my breath away. I honestly cannot describe the feelings this song sends coursing through me between the A part and its racing flutes/trumpets (which repeats at the end, picking up speed and intensity), and the mournfully nostalgic feature/full string interlude/abruptly innocent flute solo in the middle, always with an underlying beat pattern of tension in the drums. It’s Epic. Go listen now.
77. Murray Gold - The Dream of a Normal Death
I took one look at that title, and I was pretty sure it was going to get to me. I heard the low flute notes open the song, and I knew it for sure. The strings joined in, and I started tearing up over the inexplicably sweeping feeling of bittersweet nostalgia...it reminded me of film scores from things like Mona Lisa Smile and Finding Neverland. And by “nostalgia” I also mean “crushing sadness.” Not many pieces of instrumental music affect me like that.
78. Blink (Suite)
The mournful melody at the beginning sounds like “The Rites of Spring,” and brings to mind a (perhaps slightly eerie) woodland pond, slow ripples spreading over the surface of the water. And then it makes use of the low strings and piano chords for a cool, determined-sounding bridge, and closes with squeaking bows that remind me of the dancing-skeletons section of “Symphonie Fantastique’s” final movement. Fine, my music appreciation class made a lasting impression.
79. Murray Gold – All the Strange, Strange Creatures
I honestly don’t know how this one stayed off my radar as long as it did, because it’s now easily my 2nd or 3rd favorite on the CD, constantly stuck in my head. Some truly fantastic French Horn work in here, all full of trepidation at first and then moving into a commanding march where trumpets and flutes take over the lead. Another multi-part movement, various tempo shifts, but always with underlying urgency.
80. Murray Gold – Boe
A beautiful expansion of the original “Face of Boe” track, with a (fittingly) much more religious effect. At once simple and futuristic, definitely brings to mind a universe filled with stars and endless borders.
81. Kellie Pickler – Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful
So he left you for a girl who could be your twin
If you were 28 again
I violently loathe Kellie Pickler; let’s make that clear. But I passionately love songs about sad or lonely girls, and this song is about all kinds of girls who need encouragement, which is AWESOME. And I eventually accepted that this song may be the best thing I picked up off the country station all summer.
82. Flo Rida ft. Will.I.Am – In The Ayer
I kind of thought it would feel less shameful to write this out after I gritted my teeth and included “Low.” IT DOES NOT. I feel waaaaay worse writing down this one, not least because I specifically wrote about how headachey and monotone it was the first time I heard it, performed live on So You Think You Can Dance. But then I heard it on the radio and it was SUDDENLY CATCHY. I’m going to make the excuse that one of my hilarious coworkers, the one from the Bahamas, suddenly broke out into dance-floor moves, getting her groove on when she heard this. So now I always see her rocking out in the middle of the hallway, lip-syncing “Oh hot damn, this is my jam,” and it makes me feel like…putting this song on my list for the smile it inevitably brings to my face.
83. Murray Gold – Father’s Day
After tearing myself, with some difficulty, away from the series 3 soundtrack of Doctor Who, I made myself go back to the original and find a couple of gems. Like this one which consists mainly of soft, deliberate piano like a very slow music box tune.
84. Murray Gold – Clockwork TARDIS.
An understated little march, with lots of fun and busy trills towards the end. OK, and I just like saying the title.
85. Neil Hannon - Song for Ten
Well I woke up today and you're on the other side
Our time will never come again
You know, it’s disguised as a happy song both in melody and episode context, but then you find lyrics like this, and suddenly that sucker-punched feeling of hollowness I get upon hearing this makes perfect sense. Oh, I miss the nice times of “The Christmas Invasion.” I didn’t even think much of this when I first heard it, but now I apparently like being an emotional punching bag. Well, in the song’s defense, it does have a hopeful message disguised in there…somewhere…I guess the melody does carry you away and make you feel like dancing.
86. Artur Sedrakian - Hov Arek Sarer Jan
The title apparently translates to “Make me cool, dear mountains” while the album ‘New Age Armenia’ explains the rest. First heard as a waltz piece on SYTYCD, I forgot to look it up for a full listen until I was reading old reviews. Lovely instrumental featuring pennywhistle; brings to mind desolate, windblown hillsides or rocky cliffs.
87. Delta Goodrem – In This Life
I have faltered, I have stumbled, I have found my feet again
I've been angry, I've been shaken, found a new place to begin
Way to squeak in on the very last day! Several weeks ago, I saw her featured on Imeem’s front page, and immediately noted “pretty girl + singer/songwriter = PROBABLE WIN.” I put it on the back burner and forgot about it, then while composing this list suddenly remembered I had never made time to listen to her. After a quick check to find out which song had made her a sudden new sensation, I fell head over heels at the first tinkling piano notes, whereupon it was bam! Instant Song Love [which appears to be growing by the hour, holy cow!]. Dear Mix station, why were you playing Leona Lewis while ignoring this? You fail at music selection this year.