Consider this a follow-up post to last week's post, Music as Inspiration. Wait, you're telling me that was eighteen days ago? Wow! Time flies when you're in captivity!
This captivity is, of course, the state-mandatory kind. The last two weeks of school were of were fist-clenching, teeth-gnashing difficulty. Exams.
But it's over now, so who's complaining? I've roped in straight A's and perfect exam scores all around, so let's celebrate! And what better celebration than music?
These are in no particular order. Oh, come on! It was tough enough narrowing it down to five!
Next week, I promise we'll get back to the bare bones of creative writing. But for now, we party. If I were an adult, I'd say, "I need a drink."
This list is the figurative cocktail of this blog.
I tried to get the original video whenever possible. Some of these songs just don't have music videos. But I still strongly suggest you give them a listen. Without further ado, crank up those speakers and bask in the beauty!
American Pie or Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) - Don McLean
By now, this choice is obvious, and I needn’t say more on the greatness of American Pie. Vincent is another one of his breathtaking songs. It’s open to interpretation, but it speaks to me as an ode to the late Vincent Van Gogh, a renowned artist who struggled with depression. It’s soft in tone but packs an emotional punch of meaning. Although these are in no particular order, this is probably my favorite song of all time.
“For they could not love you. But still, your love was true. And when no hope was left inside, on that starry, starry night, you took your life as lovers often do -- But I could have told you, Vincent: this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.”
Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby - Counting Crows
I’m a huge Crows fan so this was a difficult choice. It was a toss-up between this one and Rain King, and Mrs. Potter won by a small margin. It’s funny I’d choose another eight-minute epic for the list. This is like the Counting Crows’ American Pie in many ways. The lyrics are abstract and poetic, and the piano riff playing the whole song is deviously catchy. The best part of this song is a line early in: “If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts.”
Who would have guessed a song inspired by Monica Potter would be so deep? “I know I don’t know you, and you’re probably not what you seem. But I’d sure like to find out so why don’t you climb down off that movie screen?”
Howard - Bayside
This is the newest song on the list, coming from Bayside’s 2008 album. The whole album is brilliant and catchy, but this is by far my favorite. Like Vincent, it’s an ode to a pioneer of our culture: visionary business mogul Howard Hughes. I don’t know much about Hughes aside from a few of his best quotes and what I learned from the movie Aviator. Coincidentally, it happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time. (Don’t worry, we'll get to that list!) What I really like about this song is the lyrics. It’s almost like a personal letter to Hughes. Heck, the first line is, “Mr. Hughes, how are you? I know it’s been awhile. But I’ve been dying tryin’ to catch your brilliant smile.”
It celebrates him as much as it recognizes how misunderstood his brilliance was. “Free thinkers only thrive in history books.”
Tom Sawyer - Rush.
Who hasn’t heard this song? The opening still echoes in my head. “A modern day warrior; Mean, mean stride. Today’s Tom Sawyer; Mean, mean, pride.” I could have picked a dozen Rush tunes to fit this spot, but this one really speaks to me. It’s the classic, iconic Rush sound. Neil Peart is one of the greatest drummers of all time, and it shows. There’s a message somewhere in this song, but I’m too busy rocking out to fully comprehend it.
“No, his mind is not for rent to any god or government. Always hopeful, yet discontent. He knows changes aren’t permanent. But change is.”
Pretty Women - Sweeney Todd and Judge Turpin.
Didn’t expect a musical on here, did ya? Neither did I, honestly. Musicals have always been important to me. I would’ve felt guilty if I didn’t include a song from one. Sweeney Todd happens to be a favorite of mine. Everything about it oozes cool. The characters, the story, the music. It’s about a barber who returns from prison with one thing on his mind: Revenge. Throw in a colorful cast and some meat pies with questionable contents and you’ve got one great experience. I’m a big fan of “No Place Like London” and the reprise of “Johanna,” but this one takes the cake. Or should I say, the human meat pie? I’ve seen many performances of it, but my favorite is from the movie adaptation, directed by visionary Tim Burton.
We have Johnny Depp as our vengeful barber and Alan Rickman as the tosser Judge Turpin. The suspense during this song is unreal, but it doesn’t take from the beauty of the two men harmonizing. “How they [pretty women] make a man sing! Proof of heaven as you're living."
That's the list folks. Comments? Leave 'em below.
I'd like to hear some of your lists. Why don't you slap something together? Believe me, it's a refreshing experience!