Number of artists: 7
Number of artists new to the list: 3
Apparently I'm having a especially anti-diversity quarter. In fairness, I'm counting "the cast of Glee" as one artist, which holds a very large umbrella over a number of genres and individually featured singers. Glee also makes up more than half the selections. I'm sorry! It was a great big musical influence, and I still didn't break the 50%-of-a-given-album rule! (though I am definitely breaking the spirit of it) I tried to make it readable for the non-fans...
Flip back to Quarter 1 or proceed forward.
Because I’m lazy and already behind this month, in lieu of a streaming playlist I’m merely linking everything to YouTube. Except for the Glee music, which I'm sticking in a playlist.com widget at the bottom (as much of it as I could find on there, anyway). I would have added everything together, but they didn't have half my songs, so I made an executive decision to go with a theme.
Go ahead and keep leaving recommendations, too; I forgot about the ones last quarter until a second ago, but there's no time limit on how long I have to fall in love with a song. I might still give them a whirl. Plus I like having options delivered to my door.
21. Joy Williams - Say Goodbye
You’re different now
Would you go back, would you want to anyhow?
Despite its title, it’s actually a positive song about new beginnings. And it’s got the most arresting opening piano chords I’ve heard since Vanessa Carlton, which is all it took to make me fall in love. As proof of my excellent choice, turns out she’s also half of The Civil Wars.
22. Emilie Autumn – What If
What if I’m a weeping willow
Laughing tears upon my pillow
What if I’m a socialite who wants to be alone?
*contended sigh* I think, all I really want out of my life is to round up every beautiful (as opposed to…frightening/crazy) Emilie Autumn song in the world**. This is simply gorgeous, with its endless patterns of contradictory metaphors and pretty piano & strings underneath it all. I actually found this because someone mentioned it in a comment on afteriwake’s journal, after my last music post inspired her to ask what everybody on her flist was listening to. This is why I do it!
23. Emilie Autumn – How Strange
I’m more than happy in my candlelight
**That, naturally, led to my finally tracking down her CD “Enchant” and giving it a listen. Of course it is amazing, so this is one of those times where I have to limit myself to the top 50% - starting here because "Across the Sky" was covered in a past year. This song is an interesting departure from her style, more like smooth pop or maybe even R&B, but it'll suck you in.
24. Emilie Autumn – Chambermaid
I’d tell your fortune but the words don’t rhyme
Awesome music. That’s what it has going for it. Music and amusing kiss-off sass. Faster paced than the above, and even catchier.
25. Emilie Autumn – Rapunzel
But no one listens now
She lost her voice, she had no choice
We know how much I love songs about ladies of legend, right? Now add incredible violin work mixed with a driving melody and a dash of pretty imagery. Whenever you doubt my insufficient commentary, you should follow these links, because they're just lyrics on a still background, but done in a way that looks like artwork. Well worth your trip.
26. Emilie Autumn – Juliet
Whispering in the air
Hoping that my voice finds you somewhere
A little less outright love for this one, just because it starts slower and there’s a weird bleep-bloop interlude of what sounds like telephone buttons being pushed, but it also has some very lovely violin stuff going on, and samples “Greensleeves” at the end and it’s still a girl telling a story (with references to the Shakespearean version, specifically), so.
27. Emilie Autumn – Save You
Behind the curtain waits a darker world
It was this or “Castle Down,” but just because I love the title and maybe chorus of the former doesn’t make it the better song. This is what really clicks, the mixture of lonely pennywhistle and violin, and soothingly repetitive waves of vocals on the chorus in the middle. It's very gentle for such a bittersweet song.
28. Michael Lynche – Eleanor Rigby
Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in a church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Hey there, standout Idol performance of the season! Am not as fond of the studio version, too much of that boring slow stuff at the beginning, but the live version has all kinds of snap; he completely owns the performance. When I accept an R&B cover of my favorite Beatles' song, especially after failing to mention anything specific from Crystal Bowersox, that should tell you things.
29. Taylor Swift – Should’ve Said No
You say that the past is is the past, you need one chance
It was a moment of weakness
I passed it up in 2008 and should really let it go, but nobody says I have to answer to my own rules!
30. Glee Cast (Corey Monteith) – Hello, I Love You
She’s walking down the street
Blind to every eye she meets
It sounds familiar, but I can’t recall if I’ve ever heard the original in full. Regardless, I’ve decided that this is not only great fun, but the first time his voice really worked for me. It took about two listens for it to become the bounciest, most fun song in my recent favorites, and reintroduced Glee music to my current listening. For better or worse.
31. Glee Cast (Lea Michele) – Gives You Hell
Now where’s your picket fence, love, and where’s that shiny car?
And did it ever get you far?
The original version of this song just sounds whiny, but the power of Rachel’s spin makes it something adorably sassy and scolding. Having the group join in on the chanting section of the chorus actually works. Now it’s a giant ball of innocence and HAPPY! My love for this is off the charts.
32. Glee Cast – Hello Goodbye
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello
After years of bland association with nothing but Target commercials, it’s been reborn into a fantastic performance by an even better group! This didn’t bowl me over or anything, but as far as their frequently-lacking group performances go, it’s a nice bit of head-nodding easy listening. I don't even hate Mercedes when she takes over. Rare!
33. Glee Cast – Like a Prayer
Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone
I am loath to admit anything from the dreck that was the Madonna episode, or anything associated with Madonna at all. The thing is: despite my arch-nemesis gospel choir, the kids’ pure voices on the verse lyrics (Chris Colfer sounds particularly angelic) give me chills. And now, after hearing a passing reference to something suspicious, I am very very deliberately not finding out whatever skankiness lies in Madonna's meaning, because this is too inspiring to be sullied.
Fair warning: all the songs are coming from one source this month. Half from May’s episodes, and half from the 2009 batch as I reinvigorated my Glee love, upgraded a whole bunch of old things from “passable” to “great!”, and literally listened to no other music until after the season finale.
34. Glee Cast – Run Joey Run
Got in the car and drove like mad, ‘til I reached Julie’s place
She ran to me with tear-filled eyes, and bruises on her face
Mix Lea Michele, three talented male voices and a story, and you have a recipe for the BEST SONG EVER. They included this on their list of horribly cheesy songs, but whatever; I’ve never heard or heard of the original, and even with the inherent amusement in the video done on the show, I think it’s fantastic. And almost leading this list in terms of play count.
35. Glee Cast – Total Eclipse of the Heart
Every now and then I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of my tears
Lea Michele and Jonathon Groff (and possibly the other two guys from above as well, but I can’t really hear them)? Aaaaaand, I have a new song allegiance. I could swear that I was well-versed in how bland and forgettable this piece was, but the Glee version has become one of my absolute favorites. There is just so much vocal PRETTY. Bonus, I feel a sudden need to use its heartbroken lyrics all the time for show cancellations/series finales, character deaths, storylines going south; things like that.
36. Glee Cast (Matthew Morrison) – Ice Ice Baby
Take heed, ‘cause I’m a lyrical poet
Miami’s on the scene just in case you didn’t know it
That’s it! I am breaking my longstanding refusal to admit rap songs, even rap songs awesomely covered by Mr. Schue, to the list because this one is too freaking hilarious to pass up. Although I was initially unaware there were lyrics beyond the title phrase, now I have it just about memorized. Possibly my love is driven by memory of the absolutely fantastic group dance routine, but on the other hand, I’m pretty sure that rap immediately stops being offensive when sung by a teacher and a bunch of relatively innocent white-bread high schoolers. SO CUTE. So catchy! So fun and/or giggle-inducing! Do I dance to this every time? Maybe. Or yes.
37. Glee Cast (Matthew Morrison) – Bust a Move
This here’s a tale for all the fellas
Tryin’ to do what those ladies tell us
I’m pretty sure this would be terrible if heard in its original incarnation, but as it is, I’m just going to love the incredibly catchy bass line, the girls’ singsong backing vocals, and the fact that DEAL WITH IT, FANDOM: (certain) white guys rapping bring the joyful lulz. Again, probably driven by my memory of the best dance routine ever, but then again, I am now here listening to it on repeat with no video involved…and bobbing along, of course.
38. Glee Cast (ft. Amber Riley/Matthew Morrison) – Gold Digger
You will see him on TV, any given Sunday
Win a Super Bowl and drive off in Hyundai
I’m going all the way back to September for this, with good cause. Less addictively catchy than the two above, but it makes me so HAPPY. Bringing an overwhelming surge of love and Feelings, it symbolizes new school years and early fall promise, lyrics made adorable by bouncy spinny dance moves and enthusiastic young teenagers. I can't even explain the overwhelming sensory imagery associated with this song, but it’s bizarrely special to me. I’m sure the original version is the most atrocious of all the above, but when it’s Mr. Schue & the gang? Specifically the tiny starter gang of 6, on a song stripped of all vulgarity and its most inappropriate references? I'm smitten.
39. Glee Cast (Kevin McHale) – U Can’t Touch This
If you can’t groove to this, then you probably are dead
Well, I’m definitely not dead. It turns out that not only is this song incredibly fun, but more than one white guy can make rap hysterical. Who knew? I actually can’t tell if I love it so much as I love how I burst out laughing every time I hear it, but does that distinction really matter?
40. Glee Cast – Bootylicious
[Cannot in good conscience quote lyrics. The stupidity insults my brain.]
No, I don’t know why. Yes, I probably hate the original version. But this version makes me smile and pleases the ear, melodically speaking. I don’t think it’s on the soundtrack and therefore I do not know if it’s technically sung by cast members or just the bunch of girls they hired to be the ghetto reform school, but it’s simpler to just mark everything under one artist.
41. Glee Cast (Matthew Morrison) - Leaving on a Jet Plane
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
Hey, it only took me a year from the first time I heard this clip to when I finally heard it in full…this is special not only for the pretty lyrics, but for being, to date, the only respectable song Morrison has sung alone without putting me to sleep. I wish he would do more of those, as his voice is like velvet.
42. Glee Cast (Lea Michele/Corey Monteith) – Smile
When you first left me, I was wanting more
But you were kissing that girl next door
What'd you do that for?
Didn’t love it in December, even though that’s where its association lies. Loving it a lot now, having finally flushed the memory of Lily Allen’s swearing out of my head and replaced it with this bouncy bit of cuteness. I'm even willing to give up the British accent I once felt it needed, and have a far more positive attitude about "Corey's useless voice trying to duet," I think were my exact words.
43. Glee Cast (Corey Monteith) - Jessie’s Girl
I want to tell her that I love her, but the point is probably moot
Given that this is almost identical to the original, and I don’t admit songs I loved prior to the invention of the List, I probably shouldn’t count this…but I didn’t have the original version, so now I have this instead, and I’ve maybe gotten fond of his voice.
44. Glee Cast (Amber Riley/Naya Rivera) - The Boy is Mine
When will you get the picture?
You’re the past, I’m the future
See above, except that Naya’s voice is really, really pretty. Much better than Monica or Brandy, and this is one of approximately 5 R&B songs in the world that I really love, too. It’s totally the rippling effect that opens the song and continues in the background.
45. Glee Cast (Kevin McHale) - Safety Dance
We can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind
Okay, now I’m stretching. This is really more of a 2-star song, but since so much of Glee involves zero-star songs, I feel like almost anything worth listening to deserves a mention. I do prefer the original, which has better accents and smoother delivery, but this is fun in its own right. Don’t ask me how. Artie enchants me; I waited all year for him to sing something halfway decent with that great voice.
46. Glee Cast (Matthew Morrison/Neil Patrick Harris) - Dream On
Lived and learned from fools and from sages
Check it out, it's the second-ever instance of ACTUAL MAGIC wrapped up in song! I cannot even determine whose voice is more incredible, it’s just a phenomenal, richly supported duet in every way. I think I’ve exhausted twelve different ways to talk about how much I love this already, though, and much of the internet agrees so I trust that you understand and/or are listening to it on repeat as we speak.
47. Glee Cast (Lea Michele/Idina Menzel) - I Dreamed A Dream
But the tigers come at night, with their voices soft as thunder
Sung by who now? Heaven called, it wants to know how you got a piece of it. To paraphrase my original reaction, this is not my favorite Les Mis song and Susan Boyle killed any appreciation for it I had left, but the melding of the two prettiest voices in the world brought it all back, and then some. I definitely do not remember the lyrics being this bittersweetly pretty. I particularly love the harmonizing and the way it’s edited slightly and replaces a pronoun to better fit the show’s context of searching for one’s birth mother.
Now, back to where we were before Glee showed up…
48. Joy Williams – Child of Eden
Eden was perfection, a beautiful dream
There was no pretending, everything was as it seemed
I’m thinking I should do some more exploring into the Christian music scene, because apparently some of it is incredible and/or indistinguishable from my usual genres, as long as you don’t mind more references to the Bible than to relationships. I happen not to mind at all. It's refreshing.
49. Joy Williams – Speaking a Dead Language
Somewhere in all the talking, the meaning faded out
Look at that title! For that alone, I have been trying to fall in love with this song since it tickled my ear in the Grey’s Anatomy season premiere - was trying again when I got distracted by "Say Goodbye" - but it never quite locked in. Finally I said “You’re going to like it by hook or by crook!” and played it on loop until I did. It has the loveliest music and such pretty vocals, especially the way it rises up and quickens on the chorus. I love the slightly echoing effect, perfect for sad stuff.
50. Katy Perry – California Girls (radio edit)
You can travel the world, but nothing comes close to the golden coast
And now for something completely opposite! I put my ears to work, scrutinizing it multiple times for unsavory lyrics or imagery, but couldn’t find anything super-bad and finally had to admit surrender: this is my fun party song for the quarter. You just have to be sure and keep Snoop Dogg’s voice out of it.
(sidebar: why does a sworn musical enemy make it onto my list every summer, in spite of my best efforts? First Rihanna, then Lady G, and now this. I wonder who will get me next year. Unless someone new comes along, I'm gonna bet Kesha.)
51. Sara Bareilles – King of Anything
I hate to break it to you babe, but I'm not drowning
There's no one here to save
At last! After some very dull singles, she got back to her “Fairytale” roots with something so much fun, I initially mistook it for McLachlan. Which I knew wasn’t right, but all I heard was a recognizable voice and something that fit right in with my singer-songwriter collection. Bouncy, plucky, great imagery layered on an endless parade of well-chosen phrases. I was afraid my first listen was a fluke, but I'm enjoying it more with every play.
Quarter 3 beckons you now.