For the awesome folks who have Spotify, I made you a nearly-complete playlist! For those of you who don't, largely unverified YouTube links. Which, FYI, way more effort required. Get Spotify by Christmas or I'll cut you off. *bats eyelashes innocently*
Go back to Q.2 or plunge on ahead now.
Kickin' things off with some country! (from here, where I technically approve everything except 2 and 19-20, but I had to set some limits). Most of these missed their shot in the summer of 2008 and are technically disqualified, but whatever, it was all I listened to for the first half of July. I've never loved them like I do now with the power of nostalgia and associated context.
102. Gary Allan - Watching Airplanes
I'm just sittin' out here watching airplanes
Take off and fly
Trying to figure out which one you might be on
And why you don't love me anymore
It is pretty rare that a country song – especially one by a dude – really snags my ear on the first listen for anything besides lyrics. But the music on this one was just like, HEY, RS, YOU WOULD ENJOY THIS. This is super helpful commentary, I know.
103. Lady Antebellum - Love Don't Live Here
You've got nerve to waltz right in
And think what's mine is yours again
Having lifted my vendetta against them over “Need You Now” thanks to Glee, this is super catchy. They duet rather well. Very The Civil Wars, but faster tempo. There's energy behind this anger!
104. Taylor Swift - Picture to Burn
So watch me strike a match on all my wasted time
Sassy true-country-sounding Taylor Swift. I remember you. (alternate text: And thus begins the foreshadowing of angry revenge songs.)
105. Luke Bryan - All My Friends Say
You know, I don't remember a thing
But they say I sure was raising some Cain
This could not be more honkeytonk/redneck if it tried (edit: yes it could. There's a video). Brad Paisley sounds almost sophisticated next to this. Unfortunately, I started to find that hilarious after hearing it enough times while cleaning, and I cracked up upon rediscovering it.
106. Julianne Hough - That Song In My Head
I don't know who sings it
I keep searching the radio
In sharp contrast, I love how there is practically a calypso vibe over the opening notes. Something upbeat, light and fun for the playlist.
107. Kenny Chesney – Don't Blink
Just like that, you're six years old and you take a nap
And you wake up and you're 25
And your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
I definitely remember crying a time or two while listening to this, just because it is super easy to upset me by reminding me how fast time passes.
108. Trace Adkins – You're Gonna Miss This
She was starin' out the window of their SUV
Complainin', sayin', “I can't wait to turn eighteen”
I WONDER HOW I FARED WITH THIS ONE.
109. Chris Cagle - What Kinda Gone
I heard the door slam, and I couldn't tell
Was it just the wind or was she mad again?
See “Luke Bryan,” although this one is of slightly more sophisticated caliber. Still stupidly hilarious!
110. Kellie Pickler - Things That Never Cross a Man's Mind
That car is too fast, this beer is too cold
And watching all this football is sure getting old
She's got a seriously long list – and literally nothing else. It is loltastic.
And then I watched “Michael” again, so this happened.
111. Glee Cast (Kevin McHale/Harry Shum Jr.) – Scream
Peek in the shadow
I come into the light
You tell me I'm wrong
Then you better prove you're right
I don't remember why this one bothered me anymore. Neither the screaming nor the feedback sound is as loud or prominent as I remember, and I forgot how much I like their voices. And by forgot I mean I'm not sure I've ever heard the second one before.
112. Glee Cast (Chord Overstreet/Amber Riley) – Human Nature
Looking out across the nighttime
The city winks a sleepless eye
I actually almost put this on last time because I like the really simple guitar arrangement. I don't know the song, but it's light and soft and relaxing. I especially love how their voices fall like a waterfall on the last line.
113. Glee Cast – Black or White
They print my message in the Saturday Sun
I had to tell them I ain't second to none
And now that I'm not looking at stupid/horrifying morph technology, my ears are fully able to hear what a great song this is. Group numbers are really always the best, especially when they are uplifting like this. Every time the opening music starts I just get happy.
114. Glee Cast – We Got The Beat
All the kids just getting out of school
They can't wait to hang out and be cool
I shunned it for excessive Santana. I keep forgetting how frequently I like Naya's voice when it comes to fast-paced pop. Plus this is just a great song in any incarnation, so it was already pre-approved.
115. Glee Cast (Lea Michele/Chris Colfer/Darren Criss) – Big Girls Don't Cry
Fairy tales don't always have a happy ending, do they?
This almost got on the list last time, but then I was like, “No self! No! It has PROBLEMS and we will be content with putting it on our performance list!” And then, well, turns out that was actually a gateway drug. Three out of my five Heavenly Angel Choir voices on one song? Yes please. I no longer recognize any problems, not even the fact that it's a Fergie song I have always loathed.
[2011 Flashback: Somewhere out there is an all-female version from Scars on 45 of “Change My Needs.” One day it will be released in proper studio format. And then IT WILL BE MINE.]
116. Scars on 45 - Change My Needs (all-female version)
And from the bassinet to the graveside we never walk
Of everything I've lost, I miss my mind the most
I just realized this never actually got a number on my list last year. So now we can celebrate it in all its glory! Soft, entrancing, ear-catching music. Embedded above because finding a full-length studio version of the right version is still a pain in the arse.
[LIST EXTRA: 75b. Smash Cast (ft. Katharine McPhee) – Shake It Out
Bite me, Glee! I love this cover almost as much as the original. Kat McPhee for all the things. ...no literally, this is working the usual “like you more than the original now oops” magic.
In case you haven't guessed, these next ones are all coming from “The Music of Smash,” but I'm not actually reccing it because that CD is a hot mess trainwreck combo of pop covers and select Marilyn musical numbers from only the first half of the season, and we all need to demand better rereleases when there are enough songs to split those into different volumes. Especially since they need separate Hilty and McPhee versions of, like, everything in the musical.]
117. Smash Cast (ft. Katharine McPhee) – Brighter Than The Sun
We go together like peanuts and Payday
Like money and reggae
Whoops. Sorry, original! You were semi ear-pleasing on the radio, but it took this soundtrack cover to take me around the bend. Adoring the heck out of the harmonies.
118. Smash Cast – Let Me Be Your Star
Fade in on a girl with a hunger for fame
And a face and a name to remember
It has taken a long time for me to like more than the first four lines, but I'm ready to be there now. Defining number of the series, now and forever.
119. Smash Cast (ft. Katherine McPhee) – The 20th Century Fox Mambo
Now I'm blonde but I ain't so dumb
Hollywood will be under my thumb
Although sometimes I think is actually closer to the show's signature number. It is just the best number to dance to, with plenty of jazz band support.
120. Smash Cast (ft. Megan Hilty/Will Chase) - Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Movie stars don't live anywhere here
Except on the local drive-in screen
Objectively, it's a fairly boring number, but I've got limited soundtrack numbers to work with instead of the full show, and the light, pleasant, simple and piano-based duet keeps bending my ear. It has nice little lyrics, that's its draw.
121. Smash Cast (ft. Megan Hilty) - Let's Be Bad
Guns and gangsters suit me fine
Al Capone is a buddy of mine
He's my big shot valentine
And back to your hot-trot jazz demonstration, but now with more squealing and a less dramatic angle. Least favorite of the batch, yet still irresistible. p.s. aw, have a whole scene clip version w/ dialogue.
122. Glee Cast (The Warblers) - I Want You Back
Every street you walk on
I leave tear stains on the ground
Really, I just wanted to flesh out my New Warblers collection. Their voices make me so very happy. Or maybe that's just the Jackson 5 sound.
123. Sia (and no one else) – Titanium
Stone-hard, machine gun
Firing at the ones who run
First, I refuse to credit people who lack prominent vocals. Second, I found this song after being unable to decipher a single lyric after two listens on the radio, but finding it on the third hit when I started googling random unfamiliar titles from the “top songs” list on said station's website (proof of radio's pathetic lack of diversity). Third, the next time I listened to it I used the official music video (linked above, so...watch out), which is so many levels of weird and unnerving that I can no longer hear any kind of other meaning behind the lyrics, which is a shame, because it seems like it could be a cool song about inner strength. Fourth, this worm refuses to leave my ear, so even though I don't really know if I love it or not, here you go.
Tl;dr: It kinda reminds me of a Florence + The Machine song. That's who I guessed it was at first listen.
DISCLAIMER: the next few songs are the absolute cream of the crop from your recs. There are a whole bunch I've enjoyed listening to, but I am trying to steer this list back to songs I have listened to on excessive repeat multiple days in a row. And there's only so many songs I can obsess over at a time unless I've got a physical CD. More may crop up in the future, you never know.
124. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps
Wait, they don't love you like I love you
Courtesy of dollsome, I have finally listened to something by them. Instant Song Appeal, also a rarity. “There is just something achingly honest about it.”
125. Birdy – Skinny Love
And now all your love is wasted
And who the hell was I?
I'm breaking at the bridges
And at the end of all your lines
I have literally no idea what this song is about (probably not anorexia, which is a shame), and have barely even paid attention to the words because in the course of attempting to finally listen to Bon Iver like all the hipsters, this cover was mentioned and as soon as I hit “play” I pretty much went ACKITY FLAIL WHO IS THIS ENCHANTING SONGSTRESS. (edit: it gets even better with the official video) This one is dotty' contrib.
126. Johnny Cash – Hurt
What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
Well, there's a name I never thought I'd see on this list. Courtesy of crackers4jenn. I clicked on the link as a result of being told “DON'T WATCH THE VIDEO IT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO DIE,” which I'm pretty sure is an instrumental part of why this wounds me in the best possible way.
127. (Silent Hill 2 soundtrack) – Promise (Reprise)
Suuuuuuper creepy instrumental! Just wish it was longer than 1:45. [edit: now we can pretend it is!] This one's stunt_muppet's winner. She says its last scene accompanies a suicide, which is where the element of sadness comes in. Totally harshin' my buzz. ;)
128. Death Cab For Cutie – I Will Follow You Into The Dark
Love of mine
Someday you will die
But I'll be close behind
Fine, Grey's Anatomy may own this title forever while I simultaneously associate it with The O.C. for some reason, but I have finally heard the song attached to the words (it's like the Wonderwall of 2012!). NOW STOP BEING SO CASUALLY CHEERY WHILE YOUR LYRICS DROWN ME IN PAIN.
(update: never mind; for a few minutes I originally wanted a slower cover, but now I'm all on board with the discordant cheer. I like the unassuming acoustic guitar.)
129. Pink – Try
When you're out there doing what you're doing
Are you just getting by?
It was described as “Who Knew 2.0,” to which I pretty much went OUTTA MY WAY, GOTTA GET IT. It is disappointing in that respect, as Who Knew is my lost-friendship song and I thought they meant sequel, but people also called it “old school Pink,” and it succeeds in that respect. Bonus, the title does not double as a sexual reference.
130. Smash Cast (Megan Hilty) – Who You Are
Tears don't mean you're losing
Oops, looks like I missed a number on the soundtrack. (I was wondering where all the Megan Hilty goodies were) Well, more than one, but this the only one I'm going to allow as a standalone/on repeat number. Poor Jessie J, I keep liking all her songs on the radio but never enough to nominate them on their own power.
131. Glee Cast (Darren Criss) – It's Time
I don't ever want to let you down
I don't ever want to leave this town
I like how I just decided I was going to fall in love with this no matter what. I was tempted to include the original, just because “Imagine Dragons” is the coolest band name ever, but come on. Generic Band vs. my star, no thanks. To be honest, Generic Music From A Band is coming through pretty hard even on this cover, but I have been dying for a new Blaine solo for so long I don't know how else to feel, and this formula worked for “Cough Syrup” eventually so I'm brainwashing myself.
[edit: Success! Now I am full of quiet angst and sadness every time I hear its plinky opening notes.]
132. Pink – Where Did The Beat Go?
Make him think he's crazy, while his paranoia grows
No, of course I decided to play this 10 times and totally fall in love with the music before I vetted lyrics and learned it was all about dirty, dirty cheating. Ugh! There were just so FEW tracks not labeled “explicit” on her new CD, and of those, this was the only other one that really grabbed my attention. This reminds me more of some of the music on the Missundazstood album. Which, coincidentally, is the only Pink CD I own.
133. Pink – How Come You're Not Here
Are you hiding in the closet?
Are you underneath the bed?
Did you go for a long walk off a short pier?
Now this one refuses to leave my head thanks to its extra catchy whistle echo on the chorus, and as this one is less exciting but also less lyrically objectionable than the above, it can stay.
p.s. Can I just take a moment to laugh at the fact that Vevo finally wised up and started doing their own "official lyric videos"? It's precious. I will even throw them a bone here.
134. Paloma Faith – New York
Her name was New York, New York
And she took his heart away
In case you missed it yesterday...this seemed like a terribly appropriate Kurt/Blaine theme song for season 4, so I decided to fall in love with it. Easy as pie. It's rather bluesier than I like from my lady singers, but kind of an awesome metaphor in general, to be honest. NYC poisons everyone's mind.
P.S. I am officially firing the crap Warblers version of "Teenage Dream" from quarter 1 and purging all evidence of it from my brain and music library because GOOD SWEET LORD:
47. Glee Cast (Darren Criss) - Teenage Dream (acoustic)
I finally found you
My missing puzzle piece
Fireworks are shooting through my ears and exploding all over my brain at how unbelievably gorgeous this is. Are you sure this is still Teenage Dream? Because it in no way sounds like the garbage I associate with all versions of that song, including his live performances. My mind is blown. It's like the song has been dipped in gold and studded with diamonds and set in the sun to sparkle and gleam from every angle. Everything's been stripped out and nothing is left but true-solo vocals and rich supporting piano. I'm decidedly dead now, and what a way to go out.