This summer I posted a list of thirteen songs that make me think of my early twenties. But time passes, and while I’m not exactly nearing the end of my thirties, I think it’s safe to say that I’m nearing the end of my early thirties. I thought, because I’ve been struggling with writing lately, that l would throw up another Friday Night Video post, this time about music I listen to right now – music of my early thirties, to parallel the post about music from my early twenties.
Okay, so really Michael suggested I do a Friday Night Video post, and then I came up with the “theme” – if you can call it that. You see, at the end of last year, Spotify did a really cool thing. I’ll admit, first of all, that I shouldn’t listen to Spotify because they don’t reimburse artists enough, but I’ve sold my soul and I purchase their upgraded streaming for $11 a month anyway, because it’s a really awesome, cheap way to mix and listen to music and I’m a poor PhD student. Anyway, at the end of 2017, they provided me with a list of my top 100 most played songs, from 1 to 100. Such a list is cool for two reasons: first, it let me know what songs I listened to the most, and in what order, and second, it provided me with a playlist of 100 of my favorite songs, all in one place. You can see where I’m going with this.
For this post, initially, I thought I would post my 10-15 most played songs, like I did for my first Friday Night Video post (the name, by the way, is just a formality, since I tend to post these on any day that I please). However, this has been an insane year full of teaching classes, working retail, and studying for comp exams, so I was just wanted to post something semi-substantive that didn’t take a huge time commitment – especially since I spent half my night writing a different post and then nixed it and switched directions.
To make a long introduction short (although it’s probably too late for that), I decided to post the top five songs on my top 100 list from 2017, with a little info about why I enjoy each song. The plan is to post #6-10 later, and then #11-15 later than that, and perhaps so on and so forth. By the time I get my top 100 songs of 2018(which I hope Spotify gives me again this year) I plan to have written amply about many of my top 100 songs of 2017. In any case, here are the top five – my five most listened to songs of last year, or songs of my early thirties. I’ve gotten a little older and a little more boring, but the music is still delightful.
- America – Simon and Garfunkel
This is my most listened to song of 2017. And it’s not surprising, because it’s simultaneously romantic, sad, and soothing on a stressful day. I would play it in my Indiana apartment when taking work breaks, and I’d just stretch out on the couch and drown myself in the melancholy, hypnotic lyrics and melody. I was introduced to the song in high school and shamelessly rambled on about how much I loved it in a college admissions essay for the University of Chicago (they waitlisted me). It tells a story, and in a way it’s sort of an appealing story, about just up and leaving what you’re doing and riding a bus across the country. Granted, riding Greyhound buses like Simon and Garfunkel mention in the song isn’t very romantic, but the general ambiance of the song is – in the sense that it presents an “idealized view of reality,” not in the sense that it’s a love song, although it may be that, too. I included the live from central park version in this post, even though my most listened to song was the original album version. I figured the central park video would be more interesting than a video with a still of Simon and Garfunkel’s faces and the lyrics playing in the background.
- Waka Waka – Shakira
I’ve always been a moderate fan of Shakira. I mean, I don’t listen to her albums obsessively, but I tend to like the stuff she releases. Michael does a unit on the objectification of women in one of his classes, and he had a Shakira lesson plan that included the video “Waka Waka.” I honestly hadn’t listened to the song much before he showed it to me one day while sharing lesson plans, but once I saw the video and really listened to the song, I was hooked. If I still ran, it would be a great running song. As it stands, I’m now larger than I used to be and relatively out of shape, so it’s an appropriate walking-on-the-treadmill song. It’s also a song that my friend and I play while we dance around her living room. It’s super upbeat and motivating; no matter how much I listen to it, this song never becomes less catchy.
- Moon River – Audrey Hepburn/Henry Mancini
Ahhhh! I love this song!! I’m not even sure why I love it so much; it’s just beautiful. My first FNV post was all about music from my early twenties, and I tended to associate a lot of the songs with different guys I dated. Since Michael has been the boyfriend of my early thirties, he gets a shout out in a lot of these songs. We went to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s with his mom and brother when Tinseltown released it for their Classic Series, and I was blown away by this scene. I understand why it’s so iconic. So, I always think of Audrey Hepburn playing the guitar when I hear this song, but I also get lost in the story of the song, a story about “two drifters off to see the world.” This is another romantic song that I’m a huge sucker for. In any case, I’m not surprised this song was #3 on my most listened to songs of 2017 list, because I play it incessantly and rarely tire of it.
- O-o-h Child – The Five Stairsteps
I think that some of 2017 were a rough year, so maybe that was part of my motivation for listening to this song so much, but it’s also just one of those songs that I sort of re-discovered and fell in love with. First, it’s on the soundtrack to the original Guardians of the Galaxy movie, a soundtrack I bought at a record store in Bowling Green,Ohio a day or two after Christmas, on a visit with my family to see my aunt and uncle. I love that entire soundtrack,but I particularly enjoy this song. And how can you not love watching Chris Pratt sing and dance to it in the actual movie? The song also reminds me of an interesting scene from Boyz ‘N the Hood when Laurence Fishburne’s character(Jason) is talking to Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character (his son in the movie –Tre) in a car in the middle of a Los Angeles neighborhood while two of Tre’s friends are being taken away by the cops. The song really augmented the mood of that part of the film, although its context is a lot less light-hearted than in Guardians. I love the different vocalists in the song and the instrumental. In short, coming in at my #4thfavorite song last year, it’s another winner!
- San Francsico – Scott McKenzie
Truthfully, I was surprised this was my fifth most listened to song of 2017, but not necessarily disappointed. First, the song reminds me of Forrest Gump. One of the first CD’s I ever received was the Forrest Gump soundtrack, and this song was on it. I remember being probably in middle school and playing the CD on the CD player in my bedroom after opening the album as a Christmas gift. More recently, it’s a great summer song, and a fantastic walking song. I made a giant playlist of mostly older music in the spring of 2017, and this song was on it. On summer mornings I’d bask in this song, and others, while walking around the Peninsula that borders Lake Erie. Ahhh, the warm sun, the verdant trees, the malodorous stench of dead fish that permeates parts of the Peninsula – the stuff that memories are made of, to be sure.
Well, as stated in the lengthy introduction to this piece, there are more songs where that came from – a bizarre, exciting variety of newer rock, oldies, and rap (which I haven’t gotten to yet). Thanks for reading, and thanks to Michael of My Comic Relief for introducing me to this series. Also, thanks to Rob, the originator of the series, on his blog My Side of the Laundry Room. I’m going to try to post one of these a week, so stay tuned for next week, when I continue with more music from my early thirties.