How is this Stop the Hate related? …Shut up, that’s how! The last topic was super heavy, so lets all chill out today and listen to some music.
#25 “Everything” by Alanis Morissette
I’m a child of the 90s, and if there’s one female performer who towers over the sea of fantastic 90s female performers its Alanis Morissette. You’d think that my favorite song of hers would come from Jagged Little Pill, an album where literally every track got played to death on the radio, but instead I choose “Everything.” I love this song. The chorus sums up what I believe love should be about – total acceptance. If you love someone, you dig everything about them, even what they’re ashamed of.
#24 “Laid” by James
Though this list features many songs from the 60s and 70s, make no mistake about it: My favorite decade for music was the 90s. “Laid” is one of the best from that decade. Its anything but conventional, not a standard pop tune, and yet very playful. The song even manages to be insightful about crazy relationships, and how sometimes you just can’t escape from them even when you know you should.
#23 “Five O’Clock World” by The Vogues
Yes, yes, I know – The Drew Carrey Show! That’s where I was introduced to this classic track too, and its been one of my favorite songs ever since. No matter what generation you grew up in, this song will apply to you if you have a job you hate but a pretty girl waiting for you when you get off.
#22 “Rock Me To Sleep” by Jill Sobule
Another great female 90s performer, Jill Sobule is criminally underrated. Best known for singing about kissing a girl long before Katy Perry, Jill was a cute, punky girl with a guitar who managed to be utterly vulnerable when she sang. This song got me through a very rough time in my life. I was too broke to buy the CD, but I would go to Boarders and listen to it on the headphones over and over again.
#21 “What I Got” by Sublime
I’m a Long Beach boy, I had to include this classic Sublime track! This is the song I like to be listening to whenever my plane is flying above Long Beach, its like the city’s theme song to me. Another underrated band from the 90s.
#20 “Waiting for Superman” by The Flaming Lips
Another song that got me through a rough spell, this is one of those songs that I wondered if the artist was speaking directly to me. Raising a daughter on my own in an apartment that should have been condemned, struggling just to put food on the table, I could totally relate to the line “its getting heavy / I thought it was already as heavy as can be.”
#19 “Five Years” by David Bowie
I’m not a huge Bowie fan, but when he’s good he’s incredible. “Five Years” is about how people react when they learn that there will only be half a decade left to the life of the earth. The best line in the whole song is when Bowie sings to us directly and says “don’t think you knew you were in this song.”
#18 “Dance into the Light” by Phil Collins
This is what people who hate Phil Collins are talking about! They can tolerate Phil when he’s angry and singing about letting people drown, but they can’t stand it when he’s happy. Personally, I love happy Phil! After the very depressing Both Sides album, this title track off his next CD was a breath of fresh air, and gave a 16 year old me hope that things were going to get better.
#17 “Daniel” by Elton John
My daughter, Emily, didn’t scream and fuss all night when she was a baby, I was very lucky in that way. She would only wake me up once a night, and I would sleepily pick her up and hold her and sing to her. For whatever reason, “Daniel” was the only song I could ever remember when I was groggy, and so I sang this song to her every night for the first year of her life.
#16 “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan
I can think of a couple of people I would apply this song to. Basically, this is the ultimate “fuck you” song (even more so than “Fuck You”). Its about somebody who was treated badly and watches as the shallow, callous person who hurt him falls on hard times without anyone to help them out. Its very satisfying, in a spiteful kind of way.
#15 “Let it Be” by The Beatles
I’m actually not a huge Beatles fan. I like a lot of their music, but this is the only track of theirs that I love. Its just so hopeful and inspiring, its practically a hymn. Hell, its better than any hymn I ever heard.
#14 “Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
As stated above, I’m from the 90s, and no list of 90s music can be complete without “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Its ironic that Kurt Cobain grew to hate this song after it became such a hit, refusing to play it in concerts. He didn’t want to be the voice of his generation, and that’s why he was perfect for the job.
#13 “Troposphere” by Steve Burns
Yes, he hosted Blue’s Clues, and yes, he’s a helluva singer. With just one released album and a few tracks from a never released second, Steve Burns cemented himself as one of my favorite musical artists of all time. “Troposphere” was to be included on the soundtrack for my movie Bloodshot, with kind permission given by Mr. Burns himself, and no song better fit that story.
#12 “Orange Sky” by Alexi Murdoch
This song is…what is this song? Is it a love song? Is it a peace song? Is it really just a song about dreams? Its a great song because it can be about whatever you want it to be about. I can totally see this song played at a wedding or a peace rally, and fitting in perfectly in either.
#11 “Whatsername” by Green Day
Who would have thought Green Day would one day become The Beatles of their generation? American Idiot is their best album, and while its hard to pick “Whatsername” over the title track, this is the song that really gets to me. I defy any guy to listen to this song and not think it was written specifically about you and a girl you once loved.
#10 “The Great Beyond” by R.E.M.
Next to Genesis, R.E.M. is my favorite band of all time. Choosing one song is really hard, but “The Great Beyond” is the one that hits me in the gut the hardest. From the movie Man on the Moon, this song manages to relate specifically to Andy Kaufman and yet apply to any artist whose ever struggled to say something profound.
#9 “Hallelujah” by Rufus Wainwright
I’ve heard this song covered many times, but I’ve never heard a version as achingly beautiful as this one by Rufus Wainwright. Its so simple, just a voice and a piano, and yet it conveys more than any symphony could.
#8 “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel
The Graduate is the best soundtrack ever recorded for a motion picture. Don’t argue with me, you’re wrong! Despite it being very much a product of the 60s, I completely relate to this song on every level. It is one of the most clever, brilliant pieces of work in all music.
#7 “Son of a Preacher Man” by Joan Osborne
I love the Dusty Springfield original, but this cover is just so down and dirty. The biggest regret I have over not being fabulously gay is that I’ll never be able to sing this song in a drag show. Seriously, where are the gay covers of this song!? That would be so awesome.
#6 “One For My Baby” by Frank Sinatra
This list is very rock heavy, but I love all kinds of music, and have a real affection for old crooners like Sinatra. This is such an amazing song, so filled with regret and loss. I’ve made it clear that I want this song played at my funeral.
#5 “Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel
True, this song is about Gabriel deciding to leave Genesis (“I was feeling part of the scenery / Walked right out of the machinery”), but that doesn’t stop this from being one of the all time great songs. This is one of those magical songs that can change my mood. You can’t be miserable if “Solsbury Hill” is playing.
#4 “Desolation Row” by My Chemical Romance
I love Bob Dylan, but this cover of “Desolation Row” is maybe the most awesome song I’ve ever heard, blowing his original out of the water. Recorded for the underrated Watchmen movie (second best soundtrack ever!), this screaming, wailing punk rock anthem is just…its just…badass. What more can I say?
#3 “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley
Elvis is the fucking man! He’s got literally dozens of classics to choose from, but “Burning Love” has always been my favorite. This is just about the most fun song ever written. How can you not move when you hear it? Its just so infectious.
#2 “Afterglow” by Genesis
You knew they’d be on here somewhere! How could my favorite band not be? Picking just one Genesis song to include on this list is like asking me to choose which one of my senses is my favorite – I like them all. But “Afterglow” best encapsulates what I love about this band: Its an epic. That’s what Genesis did, they took songs that, in lesser hands, would have been forgettable pop numbers and made them sweeping tales of love and loss. That’s why they are, in my opinion, the most underrated band in music history.
#1 “Catch the Wind” by Donovan
My #1 isn’t Genesis! I know you’re all shocked, but this song just makes me feel so good, despite it being a bit sad. I suppose you could call it my “ultimate comfort song.” Its one of those songs that will always make me stop whatever I’m doing and just listen to it from start to finish, and in that few minutes I’ll really feel. That’s what I love about music – a movie takes you two hours to sit through, a book may take you weeks, but with a song you get to have a full emotional experience in just a few short minutes. “Catch the Wind” does that for me more than any other song.