There is no theme for this week’s “Twisted MixTape Tuesday”, which is not necessarily good news for me. I need direction, parameters, if you will. Otherwise, I’m liable to become bogged down by too many choices!
In an attempt to avoid falling prey to this malady and, as a result, being unable to participate at all, I’ve decided to use this week to share with you the five songs that, currently, I find myself listening to over and over and over again. Enjoy!
FOR YOU, John Denver
I’m a sucker for strings, that’s for sure. And this song’s got ‘em. Beyond that, the words are beautiful and John Denver’s voice? It’s both raw and pure — a difficult combination to achieve, but achieve it he does.
This was one of his later songs and, as a result, it’s tinged with what, if I had to define it, I’d call regret. It’s also musically spare — just a piano and those damn strings! I’ve always thought that the sentiments expressed, particularly in the chorus, could easily be applied to a parent-child relationship. To wit,
For the rest of my life.
All the best of my life.
For you alone.
Only for you.
100 YEARS, Five for Fighting
I could just as easily have chosen THE RIDDLE, they both appear regularly on my playlist. Truthfully, I don’t know which one I like better — they’re both just so flipping good!
I think that the story arc of 100 YEARS nudges out THE RIDDLE by a hair, though. They’re both great songs — well-written, beautifully executed, and they pack an emotional wallop. It’s difficult to resist the lesson here — we’ve got about one-hundred years to live — make it count!
FIX YOU, Coldplay
There’s just something inherently human about wanting to “fix” people, isn’t there? Chris Martin and the boys give us their take on what will, inevitably, be an exercise in futility — but they do so in a such an uplifting way that it’s difficult to not feel just a little bit hopeful at the end.
It’s not a mistake that it begins like a ballad — and Chris Martin’s voice is spot on and haunting — works its way to a crescendo, and then comes crashing down at the end, either. That’s how a doomed relationship plays out, isn’t it?
It’s like getting two songs in one, really — it’s equal parts heartfelt ballad and rousing anthem.
There are many, many videos of this song to choose from, but I particularly love this one — it ends with a snippet of a live performance where the audience sings the last chorus — so, so good!
MY LIFE WOULD SUCK WITHOUT YOU, Kelly Clarkson
I’m not one for sappy sentimentality, which may be why this song appeals to me. Well, that and the fact that it’s just so damn funny. Add to that the fact that it also contains a dash of anger and, really, what more could you ask for in a song? Or, for that matter, a person? Yeah, I know. I’m a psychiatrist’s dream, aren’t I?
Move the furniture, give it a listen, grab the vacuum cleaner hose — or a hairbrush, a wooden spoon, whatever floats your boat — and sing along with Kelly as she pays homage to a dysfunctional — and, really, aren’t they all? — relationship. I dare you not to dance.
NOTE: I particularly like this live version. It’s from “Good Morning America” and there’s a great part at the beginning where Diane Sawyer engages Kelly in conversation about how she went public admitting that her image on the album cover was clearly helped by a little thing called Photoshop — she may be a publicist’s nightmare, but she’s the mother of a daughter’s dream!
NOVEMBER RAIN, Guns N’ Roses
For the most part, I was never a big fan of your hard rocking arena-playing bands — with the possible exception of Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones — a fact that owed as much to the appeal of their front men as it did to their music. And then came GNR. Yeah.
For my money, there is no better “power ballad” than this one. Many of the bands that can be classified as “hard rock” have offered similar — even Kiss had BETH — but this one is exceptionally good. Exceptionally good.
What GNR always had going for them, in much the same way that Aerosmith did, was a lead singer who could actually sing. Almost no one can sing like Steven Tyler. He’s just ridiculous, of course. But, there’s something so appealing about Axl Rose’s voice — on this song and all their others — and that is, in my opinion, what made GNR stand out in their genre — The Whitesnakes, The Scorpions, even the Van Halens, and AC/DCs of the world just could never compete with GNR because they were missing that key ingredient — Axl Rose. That man can sing, people!
NOTE: At the time this was the most expensive music video ever made — it cost over a million dollars to produce — it also has the distinction of consistently and for many years now of being considered one of the best music videos ever made. I’d agree.
NOTES on the music:
FOR YOU, written by John Denver, The Wildlife Concert (1995)
100 YEARS, written by John Ondrasik, The Battle for Everything (2003)
FIX YOU, written by Chris Martin, Johnny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion, X and Y (2005)
MY LIFE WOULD SUCK WITHOUT YOU, written by Max Martin, Lukasz Gottwald, and Claude Kelly, All I Ever Wanted (2009)
NOVEMBER RAIN, written by Axl Rose, a shortened version was released as a single in June, 1992, but it first appeared in its entirety on Use Your Illusion I (1991).
This is a blog hop, people… so, get your song on and join in the fun!
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