There are just about 50 days left in 2014, so there’s a good chance I might get through all 40 posts in this series by the end of the year. I’m reviving my weekly 20-song playlists and many of the songs on those lists are favorites too, but I try not to list the same songs twice on those posts. So, all the hundreds of favorites I already included in those posts are not really available for new weekly 20-song lists (though I might start including a few old ones from the playlists I posted 2 years ago; I doubt I have many readers now who already have gone through all those playlists.) I still like revisiting favorites from old lists, though.
I’ve encountered so much great music over the past few years, plus all the music I loved already when I started music blogging. A few songs really stick out though as top favorites, the sort of song that is dangerous to browse past, because the temptation is so strong to get sidetracked and listen to old favorites rather than exploring new, unfamiliar music.
1. “Grey and Green”, Cheryl Wheeler – We don’t get many days in Colorado that are overcast, but the year I spent in Seattle comes to mind with this song, especially those nice drizzly fall days when it rains all day, but never very hard, and always warm enough that there is no ice (there is also ice in Seattle, but I am not so fond of days when it got that cold). I loved how the bright green of the mosses on the sidewalks shimmered against the wet cement, not something we see in Colorado.
2. “Vlad the Astrophysicist”, Peter Mulvey – This is not a song exactly, but it is a track on an album, and one I listen to a lot. This is a story that relates an amazing bit of astrophysical perspective about why we have not encountered any intelligent aliens yet. It comes down to scale- our lifespans and our civilizations’ lifespans are simply so short that the chances aren’t great of our lives or our civilizations coinciding with the advanced civilizations of other species. It’s a fun way to grasp the vastness of the Universe, and also a very well-told story.
3. “Amazing Grace”, Celtic Thunder (It’s Entertainment!) – I am an atheist, but I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian church, and so of course I know this song. Explaining why I still like it as an atheist is complicated, but this recording of this classic song is easier to explain. This is the song that always comes to mind as a comfort song when something bad has happened involving the lads of Celtic Thunder. So, when Ryan was in a coma for 3 weeks, this was the song I and the rest of the fandom listened to. (Ryan is the first voice in this recording.) And, when George died this spring, this was the song we played as a fandom as we slowly let it sink in that he really was gone. So, while I love other versions of this song, too, especially the Katherine Jenkins/Ladysmith Black Mambazo version, the Celtic Thunder recording from It’s Entertainment is the one I listen to most often.
4. “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night”, Simon & Garfunkel – This song is a bit disturbing, a simple juxtaposition of news items and “Silent Night” that captures a sliver of the angst that defines modern life. The contrast between the peaceful theme of the song and the violence, corruption and general wrongness of the news echoes the stress we know as a constant. All the most dramatic, violent, terrible news stories feed into our lives through the news media so that we can always feel a touch of overwhelming helplessness and wrongness no matter what we are doing.
5. “Sorrows of the Sailor”, David Francey – This one is an a cappella tune I get stuck in my head a lot. The title track from this album, “Torn Screen Door” is also lovely and addictive. There are a lot more albums on spotify now from David Francey, but this one remains my favorite so far.