In an attempt to enlighten my readers on the way I play my music on my iPod, I have decided to post my 25 most-played songs since September 2008, since I changed computers and completely reset my iTunes library then. Had I not done so, the rankings would better reflect my musical tastes and less current trends, but nonetheless you will see hints of my musical style throughout the list. I will start at the very bottom, since those are the songs that are most likely to shift in rankings, and give a short (or lengthy) explanation of why that song is special (or not so special) to me. This will probably give you a glimpse into my brain, which is always an exciting experience (sometimes). You might even be able to pinpoint when I listened to certain songs. It’ll be a musical archaeology of sorts, learning about the evolution of my musical preferences over the past year or so. I can only hope that the rankings will not change while I’m doing this daily series (for this week), or else I’ll have to start all over again.25. Almost – Bowling For Soup
This is a song that would have probably been higher on my list had my previous library been preserved, since this is one of the songs that I’ve continued to listen to since high school, when I first had my iTunes library and my very first iPod. It’s a pop-punk concoction by the band Bowling For Soup about the girl who got away and how it was an ‘almost’ love story that failed utterly, sending the narrator into a downward spiral of crushing depression. But they present it in such a catchy fashion, you can’t help but sing along and only later notice the lyrics and go “oh… o_O”. Yes, this song was a staple of my adolescence, capturing the essence of the fear that one day, I might meet an amazing girl but screw things up and ‘almost’ end up on the streets of LA ‘almost’ hooked on drugs. But time and countless romantic comedies have helped me realize that such fear is irrational and quite absurd. And then ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ came along and made me fearful once more. Stupid movie.
24. Take Me To The Riot – Stars
This is a song from a Canadian band that I had never really paid attention to until last year, but I happened to have this song in my library and it made its way onto several of my iTunes Genius playlists where it got considerable playtime, launching it into the higher ranks of my most-played songs. It’s quite a nice song, which is why I suppose it’s up here. But there’s no special story here.
23. Absolutely (Story Of A Girl) – Nine Days
This is another song that I’ve listened to since the days of yore, although I have no idea where I came across the band. After all, I spent the majority of my musical developmental years in Korea away from most of the know-how on which bands were hot at the time, so it’s quite a mystery how I came to love this song. Perhaps it was meant to be. I really like the song. It’s a story of a girl who seems to be quite unhappy, but the singer loves her (absolutely). It’s quite a mystery, but then again, most things regarding love are. Unless some smart-alecky writer decides to dismantle the concept and repackage it as a soul-destroying movie.
22. 1234 – Feist
I think I listened to this song a lot last year when it was really trendy and cool to listen to it (plus who can resist the rolling guitar intro?), but I haven’t listened to it much since. Oh, and this song also hangs around several iTunes Genius playlists, so that also had to do a lot with the high playcount. Typical case of concentrated casual listening. Nothing special. But it makes me feel like spring and warm sunshine!
21. Layla (Unplugged) – Eric Clapton
If any Eric Clapton song were to be on my Top 25 list (assuming there was only room for one), it would be Layla. The original version, of course. Unfortunately, I’m guessing that due to it’s lengthiness, I must have not listened to it as many times as I thought I did. But regardless of which version is on my list, Layla still remains one of my favorite songs of all time, whether it is a bluesy acoustic version or a blistering hard rock duet between Eric Clapton and Duane Allman, two of the greatest guitarists of all time, because of the concept behind it. Like I’ve said in a previous post, Layla was written while Eric Clapton was on a passionate streak for Pattie Boyd who seemed desperately unattainable at the time. After all, she was married to George Harrison and spurned Clapton’s advances. Everything about the original song screams for her attention and love in such a raw, intense manner that you can’t help but be overwhelmed. It is the anthem for unrequited love. One line in particular kills me every time I hear it: “Please don’t say we’ll never find a way / And tell me all my love’s in vain.” You can’t really top it. The first half of the song (the piano coda) makes you feel like you’ve been dragged through a gravelly road for miles tied to the sexiest car you’ve ever laid your eyes on, and then the second half of the song is just pure beauty. If beauty had a sound, it would be the piano coda of Layla. Sometimes I wish that I could write such an inspired song out of love for a woman. Then again, I would rather not have the emotional baggage that Clapton had to deal with. No matter how beautiful the resulting song is.
The unplugged version was recorded twenty years after the original, when Clapton had gotten married to Pattie Boyd and subsequently divorced. It’s quite different from the original in its tone, partly because it’s acoustic, but mostly because you don’t feel the intense emotions of the original. Instead of being abused by a sexy car, it feels like you’re cruising on a desert highway with the wind in your hair and just feeling a sort of gentle loneliness. The unplugged version also has quite amazing guitar work (it’s Eric Clapton duh) and it actually sounds like something that an amateur guitarist-wannabe like me could actually play. With months of practice, of course. But the original, it’s as if the gods themselves picked up a pair of Les Pauls… This version probably climbed the ranks while I was trying to figure out whether I could play it. I haven’t decided if I can yet, but I’ve fallen in love with the song all over again.