I've been thinking lately about what qualifies something to be an all-time favorite. Specifically, I've been thinking about this in the context of music. I've been going through some mix CDs I made in college, each one comprised of songs I loooooved at the time. I remember singing in the car at the top of my lungs, or bopping along to my discman on the way to class, enjoying every note. As is frequently the case, however, my tastes have changed in the intervening years, and when I listen to the same discs now, I may skip past a full third of the songs.
There are some, though, that have stood the test of time. I could be in just about any mood and I would still enjoy them. I wonder how much of it has to do with positive associations I've made with the various songs (I suspect this has a lot to do with it, actually) and how much of it has to do with simply liking the way they sound. Musically, lyrically, whatever...they're just good.
Anyway, I thought I would start cataloging these all-time faves, just for the heck of it. My only two rules for qualification - it has to be a song I would enjoy any time, anywhere, and it has to be a song I first heard at least 5 years ago. This is the necessary time factor, of course. Otherwise I'd just end up with a collection of what I loooove right now. ;)
1. The Inner Light - The Beatles
"The farther one travels, the less one knows."
I could list any number of Beatles tunes, probably, given that I was raised listening to them. This one in particular though reminds me of spinning and dancing in the living room with complete abandon, with my mom and sister and probably one or more aunts. I can't help but smile when I listen to it.
2. Precious Little - Eleanor McEvoy
"Precious little in your life is yours by right and won without a fight."
I was about 14 or 15 when I first heard this one. At first I just liked the melody, but later I started paying attention to the lyrics (it's about the fighting between Catholics & Protestants, I'm assuming in McEvoy's native Ireland - "Two people coming from a different place; maybe neither one is right.") I thought it was all very profound, or something, and developed a great fondness for the pretty song.
3. Teotihuacan - Noel Gallagher
Nerd alert. This instrumental track plays over the end credits of the first X-Files movie. So I first heard it at 16, when I saw the movie in the theater. There are all kinds of interwoven melodies, and I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. I considered this one of my "theme songs" for a goodly while. I can be pretty much guaranteed to improve my mood just by listening to it.
4. Cigarettes Will Kill You - Ben Lee
"They swore you'd steal my steam to feed your dream and then be gone; I wish I could say that everyone was wrong."
This one's on the Playing By Heart soundtrack (PBH being one of my all-time favorite movies, but that's a whole different list), so I first heard it at 17 when the movie came out. I don't know that I can even articulate what it is I like so much about the song. It's not particularly happy, lyrically. Ben Lee doesn't have the best voice. And I don't love the song simply because it's in one of my favorite movies. I guess I'll just have to go with the vague statement, "I like the way it sounds."
5. Into My Arms - Nick Cave
"I don't believe in an interventionalist god, but I know, darlin', that you do. But if I did, I would kneel down and ask him not to intervene when it came to you."
This is a pretty easy, pretty obvious case of "I like it because I have a positive association with the first time I heard it." I was 20, and it was playing the first time I rode in the car with Tom. Listening to it brings back that fluttery feeling of rapid-onset massive crush on the handsome boy I hadn't seen since high school but with whom conversation was so easy and comfortable and amusing that we'd talked all night. Hard to argue with an association like that. ;)
Well, there you have it. I'll think about it some more and come up with my next five candidates next week sometime. For now, why don't you tell me in the comments about a song that's one of your all-time all stars?
Oh yeah, and happy birthday, Dad. :)