Monday, July 14, 2008

There's Something About Music

I have to admit that I have avoided this whole blog-writing venture. I've left it entirely in my dear husband's hands, and, until now, I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting Random Babbles as an innocent bystander. Having studied English in college, I am a lover of the written word, and, in typical perfectionist fashion, I am quite critical of my own writing, never quite allowing myself the creative license that seems to now rear its ugly head. So, I ask that you now indulge this rare moment of writer's inspiration.

After taking a cue from my sister, who managed to win a Bose sound system from a Bay Area news station, I've embarked on a mini-career of entering radio contests for fabulous prizes. Last night we took advantage of some free tickets and ventured out to Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts to see Hootie and the Blowfish in concert. I have never been a Hootie fan, mostly due to a teenage desire to buck popular trends. If scads of people were running towards the Blowfish in a fit of musical adoration, I fervently stayed put or even ran in the opposite direction. It wasn't that I disliked their music - in fact, I often found myself singing with the radio without even realizing it - I simply didn't want to be one of the sheep all going along with this popular trend and craze. I fully admit this is a faulty approach to life - I nearly missed out on Harry Potter! The contest entry was born out of my love for good, free entertainment, as well as the acknowledgement that DH has been a big fan of the band for years - I knew he'd enjoy the concert.

I've always loved music - playing it, listening to it, even singing along with a favorite band, albeit horribly off-key (there's a reason I joined the band, NOT the choir). In the middle of the concert, though, I had a sudden strange realization. The show had been a fun mix of some of those mid-90s radio standards as well as some nice covers and lesser known (to me) selections. All of a sudden, the band broke into "Hold My Hand," and I suddenly felt a little warm and fuzzy. Music is great because it causes you to feel something, perhaps remember something, or even whisk you away to a certain time and place. Even though I hadn't been a Hootie fan, this one song (or even most of their songs from "Cracked Rear View") was almost like a nice security blanket. It felt comfortable, like an old friend I hadn't talked to in a while, but I was all too excited to visit with. It got me to thinking... what are my top comfort songs?

So, in typical Rob Fleming fashion, I'm offering up my own list of top 5 Comfort Songs - these are my happy-place songs. Whenever these pop up on the radio or my iPod, I smile and feel a little bit at home:

5. Birdhouse in Your Soul - They Might be Giants, Flood (1990) - to be fair, I doubt I was aware of this song as an 11 year old - I don't remember when I discovered this band, but oh, such fun!
4. Old Apartment - Barenaked Ladies, Born on a Pirate Ship (1996) - If I had to pick just one BNL song, this would be it. Just love it.
3. Hold my Hand - Hootie and the Blowfish, Cracked Rear View (1994) - surprising, I know. I couldn't not put this on the list since it was the inspiration for this entire venture
2. The Luckiest - Ben Folds, Rockin' the Suburbs (2001) - You'll notice that this is the only song that didn't originate in the 90s and during my high school career. This is a personal favorite for entirely different reasons.
1. Mr. Jones - Counting Crows, August and Everything After (1993) - By far my favorite song ever, and this from someone who hates to be tied down to a "favorites" list. I will never tire of this song.

So, I thank you for humoring my little blog entry. I admit that this list is not carved in stone - it does alter and shift depending on my mood, and I certainly could have easily made it into a top 10 list.

I now turn it over to you - what are your favorite comfort songs/bands/albums?


Josh said...

Nice job. The songs that immediately come to mind for me are:
- "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (I'll never forget where I was the first time I heard it)
- "The Luckiest" (Of course)
- "Black" by Pearl Jam
- "Takeover", "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)", or any and all other songs from Jay-Z's "The Blueprint" (It's what I used to listen to when I wanted to get pumped up for exams and presentations in grad school)

angie said...

Great post! Although now I've had "Hold My Hand" stuck in my head all morning.
The songs I immediately thought of were songs my family and I used to sing along to on long car trips when I was growing up (and there were many!!). Poor kids these days thinking they have to have DVD's and video games...whatever! Just grab some cassettes and start playing the alphabet game or just sit there and stare out the window! ;-)
Anyway, with that preface (to warn you that these are going to be odd choices), my songs would be:
5. "Whoever's in New England" by Reba McEntire
4. "Delilah" by Tom Jones (my aunt would turn in a complete performance...while driving. Just ask Jaimie about my college renditions!)
3. "Hello Darlin'" by Conway Twitty (the adults in the front seat would turn the sound up and down to laugh at my cousins and me who would just keep singing - very poorly - with or without the music)
2. "Amarillo by Morning" by George Strait (actually just about anything by my all-time favorite artist puts a smile on my face, so picking just one song here was a bit difficult)
1. "Nobody" by Sylvia (this one tops the list because it was a car trip song, but also one that my twin cousins and I made up a whole routine to perform for the family at get-togethers. I believe it was actually dredged back up at one of their weddings... We were great, let me tell you!)

Steve said...

I'd pick anything by Mariah. "All I want for Christmas" is a great year-round tune.

Roy said...

Comfort songs? God, my list would be huge. My best, first stab at it:

5. Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg "Nuthin but a 'G' Thang" I don't see my two best friends as much as I used to, but when I hear this song, I'm back in a hurricane at Ocean City, MD, in a crap hotel, playing cards, and having fun. "Baby!"

4. Sheryl Crow "All I wanna do" This song has always made me happy. Always.

3. Prince (or O+> ) "Money Don't Matter tonight" , it sure didn't matter yesterday.

2. Ben Folds Five "Jackson Cannery" Whenever I hear it, I think of that 1st concert with Josh, at the 9:30 club. Big brother got the keys...

1. Counting Crows "Anna Begins" I know every word, every note, every strange live version CC's done of this song. This song got me through first love, lost loves, broken hearts and loneliness for years. "Kindness falls like rain, it washes me away"

Shtetl Fabulous said...

Had to put in my two cents on this one so here's what I came up with... in no particular order.
1. Sea of Love (Robert Plant sings with his post-Zep band The Honeydrippers. It's a sweet song and a version was on the Juno soundtrack.)
2. The Joker (Steve Miller Band's ultimate roll down the car windows and crank up the tunes track. Besides, it features the pompatous of love lyric.)
3. American Music (It's nice to get beyond Blister in the Sun with the Violent Femmes because you find great like this that make you want to get up and dance.)
4. Birdhouse in Your Soul (yeah, Elisha was right on this one. Makes me think of junior high and feeling OK with being a dork.)
5. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard (Paul Simon, though sung by Simon and Garfunkel too. Don't entirely know what it's about and I don't care - I just can't resist the "whoah" in the middle!)