My Friends Top 20 Favorite Songs & How Music Defines Us

8 Jul

Music has an odd way of connecting people, even in the same friend group.  I had this idea for a while and since I have nothing to do, I decided to get a few of my friends and ask what their favorite songs were.  I tried to look at the friends I’ve made in college who I have hung out with the most.  I already had some ideas in my head, I figured mine would be the most “current” and my friend Anthony would have more influences in the late-60s to mid-70s.  I figured Josh would have more heavier stuff and Jake/Jack would be rooted in 90s alt-rock with Ryan a fan of more “heartland” type rock songs.  There’s also Andrew.  But its interesting to gauge what our “favorite” songs are and how it defines us as people and why we like them.  I bet we could create a list of 1000 songs that we “liked” but picking some above the rest was a harder challenge.  So let’s take a look at what we came up with as long as some of their explanations.

Anthony’s Top 20:

  1. “Time” by Pink Floyd – The guitar solo in this song made me want to play guitar.  The first note is so loud and long.  It is, in my opinion, the best song on one of, if not, the greatest concept albums of all time, “Dark Side of the Moon.” The album takes a man through his trip of how he is running away from life (On the run), running out time to do what he loves (Time), whether he should just end it (Great Gig in the Sky), depression (Us and Them), lack of decision making skills (Any Colour You Like), greed (Money) and ending with him ending up in an insane asylum (Brain Damage). This song offers everything from the album. The famous Floydian sound effects, genius lyrics from Roger Waters that give a great point but yet are soft and mellow, which is then crushed by a guitar solo that will literally rip your face off. You can really get a feeling that Waters had a deep message to let out with his words.
  2. “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles ~ You can never be in a bad mood while listening to this song.  One of George’s best contributions to the band. It really has a great outlook that sometimes things have get worse before they get better. You can really hear that in this. Also, the combination of chord progression and strumming on George’s acoustic is such a pain in the ass to play. I still don’t know how he played it and sang at the same time.
  3. “Basket Case” by Green Day – I remember being about 4 or 5 when this song came out and will never forget it.  Late night on MTV they would play music videos. Green Day is playing in the center of a mental health care clinic and are just rockin’ out. I use to jump up and just jam to this song even as a youngin’.
  4. “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin – The greatest hard rock band ever! This song besides “Time” drove me to playing guitar. Those thundering notes by Jimmy Page are amazing. Oh so simple but oh so powerful. Plus Robert Plant has to have one of the most unique and great voices ever. Plus, anyone who has been in a relationship with a girl and it went sour should love this song. Plant’s lyrics tell a bitch what’s up.
  5. “L.A. Women” by the Doors – I love the line “Mr. Mojo rising.” Jim Morrison is the original American bad ass.  I think he was just too creative and intelligent for his own good. That deep voice just gets me every time. Also, his “not give a fuck attitude” makes every guy wish they could act like him.
  6. “Echoes” by Pink Floyd – This song drove me to Pink Floyd. The creepiness and mystery of the sound of this song is just addicting. The sound effects and guitar rhythms are haunting. Roger Waters lyrics are genius. Plus it’s 25 minutes long. Also, the fact that the band performed this song live in front of NO audience in the ancient Amphitheater of Pompeii is crazy. Creepy setting for a creepy song.  This song really just takes you to another planet. A masterpiece from the most influential band of all time. Music would not be the same without them.
  7. “Honky Tonk Women” by the Rolling Stones – Every time it comes I just have to sing it. I really like this song because it was the first song I ever saw a video of the Rolling Stones performing live. Mick Jagger just singing this song and running up and down the stage. The world had never seen the likes of a front man like that, who would come on stage every night and basically run the show. Never a dull moment with him. Plus Keith’s dirty and almost sloppy guitar works great for this band
  8. “Red House” by Jimi Hendrix – The greatest guitarist ever playing the blues = Awesome. He played so fast but yet with such elegance. He changed the way the electric guitar was played. Before him not too many people distorted their guitars. He did this while controlling feedback, diving-bombing notes, adding phasing effects, and was able to play with his teeth. All the guitars today would not sound like they do without him. He revolutionized the way rock and roll was played.
  9. “Evil Woman” by Electric Light Orchestra – This song just makes me love music. I love singing and hearing this song. ELO is not mentioned but they had 12 radio singles in the 70’s and early 80’s. That puts them with some great bands but are never recognized.
  10. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen –  If you ever got drunk with me than you know why this is here.  I love Freddy Mercury. What he did for the music industry was great. He brought “show business”/Broadway to rock and roll. He lasted and imprint that will never be forgotten. He also had one of the greatest voices in history. He could sing all notes in four octave ranges. If you do not know what that means it’s just amazing most good singers can only sing thoroughly in two.
  11. “Pinball Wizard” by the Who – A deaf, dumb, and blind kid playing pinball. Kind of stupid but they made it work.  It is also brings the “other” greatest concept album of all time full circle, “Tommy.” It is about making life work with what you have been given. Pete Townsend’s thundering guitar chords can always wake you up. Roger Daltry was a nother great front man. Known for running around stage and throwing his mic around. It is also cool that they destroyed their set after every concert. Townsend would than throw his smashed/mangled guitar into the audience. That is rock ‘n’ roll.
  12. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” by Led Zeppelin – “Just like Red House now it’s Led Zeppelin playing the blues!!!! Didn’t know the blues could be so loud.”
  13. “Let It Be” by the Beatles – “God dam, it is just a good fucking song. Marks the end of the greatest bands career.  My Dad’s favorite Beatles song so I heard this song all the time growing up. Almost can bring a tear to your eye when you hear it.”
  14. “Roxanne” by the Police – “Love when Sting yells Roxanne. It’s about a prostitute and can be a drinking game.  The Police are a very underrated band but hear they shine. I think this a great song but yet is very catchy and you can really just jam out to it.”
  15. “Money” by Pink Floyd – “My favorite bands version of a “pop-rock” song but with an awesome guitar solo.  This song was original not suppose to be on Dark Side. Dark Side is such a depressing soft rock album. Their manager said they need to add a poppy song that fans will like and they can promote (little did he know). It actually became one their biggest hits. Great message about greed and how it overtakes your life. With a no fucking around, true rock ‘n’ roll guitar solo. David Gilmour’s guitar tone is one the most sought after in the guitar world and you can tell why here”
  16. “Hotel California” by the Eagles – “”You can check out anytime you like but you can never leave.” Is one of greatest rock lines ever. Sure it’s their biggest hit but I love it. A song that makes you speculate what the lyrics are about and you change your mind every time you hear it is great. Plus the dueling guitars at the end is such a cool riff. Love it!”
  17. “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan – “Come on, if you like rock than you like this song. Bob Dylan was the greatest song writer of all time and this song has been re-made four times by great artists (including Eric Clapton). Great one from a rock pioneer.”
  18. “The Ocean” by Led Zeppelin – “Just one of those songs I love. Catchy guitar riff and Robert Plants vocals are amazing. I especially love the ending where almost turns into a completely different song. Houses of the Holy was also one of their best albums.”
  19. “Shoot to Thrill” by AC/DC – “Just gets me pumped and ready to pound shots.  True, fast-paced rock and roll song. Angus Young will go down in history for his school-boy outfit. His guitar riffs though are so up-beat and “good-to-go.” Guitarist are just not like that anymore.”
  20. “I’ve Seen All Good People” by Yes – “A song about a game of chess but relates to people’s lives. The fact that it is set-up like a orchestral suite is pretty amazing in itself but then make it also a rock song, even better.  Yes is often forgotten. One of best known bands of the progressive rocks scenes where music was always more important than lyrics. Yes had albums that would consist of 2,3, or 4 songs but they would each be 20-35 minutes long. They really put together some masterpieces.”

Anthony’s Honorable Mentions:  Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones, Heart of Gold by Neil Young, Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd, Light My Fire by the Doors, Layla by Eric Clapton, Imagine by John Lennon, Paint It Black by the Rolling Stones.

Anthony’s list is pretty interesting and since I know him a bit better, its partly surprising and partly not.  I got the timeframe right but in our friend group, he has the stigma of being the one that hates some “new music”.  But most of these songs are very well-known songs and were popular in their own right, so its unfair to call him someone who hates “mainstream” stuff.  What was most interesting was how he looked more at the music than the memories about the songs with the exception of Bohemian Rhapsody.  However considering, with the exception of Basket Case, these songs were all made up to twenty-five years before he was born, so how could he have memories of when they came out?  Its interesting to see what he likes.  He relates personally to some songs but while some people focus on lyrics, some focus on technical aspects of a song, he appreciates the artistry of a lot of artists.

So let’s go to Anthony’s lifelong friend and college roommate, Josh.

Josh’s Top-20

  1. “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin
  2. “Life by the Drop” by Stevie Ray Vaughn
  3. “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  4. “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd
  5. “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against The Machine
  6. “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen
  7. “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” by Led Zeppelin
  8. “The Wizard” by Black Sabbath
  9. “Even Flow” by Pearl Jam
  10. “Get Off My Cloud” by the Rolling Stones
  11. “Ramblin, Gamblin’ Man” by Bob Seger
  12. “Born of a Broken Man” by Rage Against The Machine
  13. “The Trooper” by Iron Maiden
  14. “I Got Mine” by The Black Keys
  15. “Them” by Gloria
  16. “Because The Night” by Patti Smith Group
  17. “The Trial” by Pink Floyd
  18. “Hot Legs” by Rod Stewart
  19. “Fly From Inside” by Shinedown
  20. “Gimme The Loot” by Notorious B.I.G.

Comparing Josh and Anthony’s list was a cool thing to do, given their long friendship you have to partly wonder if one or the other impacted each other in some way.  There’s the Zeppelin, Floyd and Stones connection between the two but Josh is clearly a bit more open to “newer” music from bands such as the Black Keys and Shinedown.  Josh also has more interest in heavier music from bands like Maiden, Rage and Sabbath which gives him a bit more variety as does the ranking of a Biggie song.  Josh also strayed away a bit from some of the band’s more iconic songs, showing a bit more interest in album tracks.

Then I decided to ask one of the younger guys on the team, Jack, about his opinions.  Since Jack is about three-to-four years younger than the rest of us, we got a different perspective from him than the other two.

  1. “Alive” by Pearl Jam
  2. “Breed” by Nirvana
  3. “Corduroy” by Pearl Jam
  4. “Lightning Crashes” by Live
  5. “Tell Me Baby” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
  6. “Longview” by Green Day
  7. “Otherside” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
  8. “Breakout” by Foo Fighters
  9. “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais)” by the Clash
  10. “Gotta Get Away” by the Offspring
  11. “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam
  12. “Orange Crush” by R.E.M.
  13. “Selling the Drama” by Live
  14. “Little Black Submarines” by the Black Keys
  15. “Poprocks and Coke” by Green Day
  16. “Icky Thump” by the White Stripes
  17. “So What Cha Want” by the Beastie Boys
  18. “You’re Gonna Go Far Kid” by the Offspring
  19. “Feel Good, Inc.” by Gorillaz
  20. “Polly” by Nirvana

Jack’s Honorable Mentions:  “Better Man” by Pearl Jam, “Ball and Chain” by Social Distortion, “Pinball Wizard” by the Who, “Once In A Lifetime” by the Talking Heads, “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Give It Away” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Now as I stated, Jack is a bit younger than us and while three or four years isn’t a HUGE deal when talking about the shift of music; even six months is a big deal.  Jack takes upon what Josh liked but included more current music and in fact, his best song list plays as a who’s who of 90s alternative rock radio, which obviously isn’t a bad thing.  Jack still harkens back to the 70s and 80s with the presence of R.E.M. and the Clash and also incorporates so-called “alt-hip hop” with the appearance of Gorillaz and the Beastie Boys.

Like Jack, Andrew is the same age and I expected a similar outcome.  But of course, there were a few shockers when he emailed me his list, which you can see right here.

  1. “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin – “Stairway to Heaven is one of those songs that I absolutely can listen to multiple times in an hour. What makes it my #1 is the musical masterminds (Led Zeppelin) created such a strong record; that even at this time in 2013 people still are like, “yo put on Stairway to Heaven”. The musical impact of that song was exponential.”
  2. “Baba O’Riley” by the Who – “The Who are in my top three favorite bands ever. Most people know this song as “Teenage Wasteland”. Lets be real here if you go out and say that your favorite Who song is Teenage Wasteland to me I might laugh at you because its not even the title of the original song. I love the Who and the intro to this song gets me every time. Great song by a great band.”
  3. “Narcolepsy” by Third Eye Blind – “Being a very big Third Eye Blind fan I know almost every album they have had and song. Narcolepsy, I feel, represents their band the most of any song they have. It’s a great song with great lyrics. It’s the Third Eye Blind song I enjoy listening to most.”
  4. “Disarm” by the Smashing Pumpkins – “Unlike most people I do not find Billy Corgan’s voice annoying. Beyond that, the Pumpkins have absolute talent in incorporating guitar into the mood of their songs. Disarm, is one of their best examples of that and therefore, my favorite song by them.”
  5. “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers – “The peppers are such an iconic rock band from the very late 80’s (Magic Milk) till now their music has always been some of my favorite. Under the Bridge, I think, is their best song so far. That being said this song has just such a big lyrical impact that it has landed #5 on my list.”
  6. “Buddy Holly” by Weezer – “This is by far my favorite song by Weezer. Just something gets me about it. Damn, if I could only be Buddy Holly. What also elevates this song is that my best friend turned me onto Weezer and we share a strong bond to Weezer.”
  7. “Foreplay/Long Time” by Boston – “The guitar and drum intros into the song with the synthesizer creates such an awesome intro. This song to me is a great song with the stages of it and the length. The length doesn’t bother me I think it adds character to the song.”
  8. “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers – “The Killers I think where the evolved form of the Strokes and a multiplitude of other band combinations, but with the album Hot Fuss, The Killers created such a name for themselves. I think it’s the best alternative rock albums of the decade. Mr. Brightside is their best song on that album and is debatably their best. Therefore giving it my #8 spot.”
  9. “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind – “This song always reminds me not to jump off a cliff. Oh Joe, I know it wasn’t funny. But in all seriousness, I think this is Third Eye Blind’s most popular song and deserves to be so. It’s a great song to sing along too, and is just a great song in general.”
  10. “Behind Blue Eyes” by the Who – “Its honestly a great song by The Who. It’s a relaxing song to listen to and just get away for a bit, and the short guitar solo to interlude the change in tone for the song is awesome, then followed by the actual solo for the song.”
  11. “Drive” by Incubus – “Incubus is one of those 90’s bands that I don’t listen to all the time, but enjoy listening to them time to time. Drive by Incubus I think is a great song that is their greatest hit. I don’t love Incubus, but I love this song. Drive just rocks I think in general, and I enjoy it.”
  12. “Basket Case” by Green Day – “I think this song has heightened on my list because of the amount we listen to it with Anthony, but anyway it is a great song that kicks ass.”
  13. “Father of Mine” by Everclear – “Everclear is a solid band with good music. I think this song is their best, and I really like it and just jam out to it.”
  14. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen – “This song has also taken off because of school. Just gathering the guys before we go out and just singing to Bohemian Rhapsody is probably my strongest memory of my first year. It just solidifies we’re team, but more important family.”
  15. “Closing Time” by Semisonic – “If I had to pick one song that has been my favorite song for the longest it would be this one. My dad has had a big influence on my music but the song is the greatest he has been influenced.”
  16. “Time Won’t Let Me Go” by The Bravery – “The Bravery are a rip off of The Killers I would say, maybe that’s why I like them so much. Anyway, Time Wont Let Me Go has always been the song I go to, to relax before something. It just calms me down.”
  17. “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” by Cage the Elephant – “I think I’ve been turned on to Cage the Elephant because of their first album. I thought it was rather good and I think this song is a great one.”
  18. “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC – “Thunderstruck is just a great song. Ac/Dc is a good band with a great guitarist. Great song.”
  19. “My Name Is Jonas” by Weezer – “This is just another great song by Weezer. I love the guitar in this song I think it compliments the lyrics in this song bettering the song as a whole.”
  20. “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind – “Third Eye Blind is my favorite band of all time, and this song is one reason why. It’s a great song to just listen to by yourself, in a group, or at a gathering. Third Eye Blind is, and always will be my favorite, and this song is so good for so many reasons.”

Andrew’s Honorable Mentions:  “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2, “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin, “Otherside” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, “1979” by the Smashing Pumpkins

You know, I was thrown most through a loop with Andrew’s list.  I was right in expecting bands like Everclear, Third Eye Blind and Weezer but didn’t expect his list to contain influences such as AC/DC and most profoundly, the Who.  Andrew clearly represents the mid-90s with his music choices and the references to personal memories that some songs hold for him shows off another facet of what drew him to music.  We give him some crap now and then but the fact that Bohemian Rhapsody means that much to him does show that we are important to him, even if he’s not funny.

That brings us to Jake.  I’ve known Jake for nearly three years now and we’ve shared a suite/apartment together for two of those years so I tend to know his likes and dislikes.

  1. “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Yes it’s their most well-known track. Yes it is sung on a weekly basis by drunk bros and stoners across the country. But Under the Bridge is simply a beautiful song in every sense of the word- a retrospective, straight-to-the-point catharsis of loneliness, regret, and isolation. It wasn’t even supposed to be a song; it was a private poem that Rick Rubin encouraged Keides to make into a song. It has spoken to me in different ways on numerous different occasions and will always have an exceptionally special place in my heart forever.”
  2. “By the Way” by Red Hot Chili Peppers – “The song that actually turned me on to RHCP. I love the melodic/chaotic arrangement of this song so much. Just a great tune.”
  3. “Let it Die” by Foo Fighters – “I LOVE how this song builds up its anger over two or so minutes…just to suddenly let it all explode into one hell of a breakdown. For a funny, energetic band like the foos, this is a pretty powerful song. One that really hits you.”
  4. “Interstate Love Song” by Stone Temple Pilots – “I have always loved this song. For me, it is a sensory one- it reminds me of the spring/summer of my sophomore year. The weather had been so beautiful and this song just really reflected the peaceful, laid back nature of it all. One of their best.”
  5. “Blow Up The Outside World” by Soundgarden – “I love A LOT of Soundgarden’s songs, but this one always kept me coming back. I don’t really know why. Its chorus lyrics just seem to give me a release if I’m feeling down or out of options. It’s a brilliant song.”
  6. “The Spirit of Radio” by Rush – “I just love this song so much. Enough said. Great guitars, perfectly-written lyrics, and just a whole bunch of fun.”
  7. “Down in a Hole” by Alice in Chains – “Always a go-to song for me if we’re talking favorites; Down in a Hole is the best example of the agonized, heroine-plagued songwriting sessions that took place during the recording of “Dirt.” It captures the essence of being trapped in a dark place perfectly and effectively. It has always moved me.”
  8. “Arlandria” by Foo Fighters – “Textbook Foos here- a smashing chorus and lots of fireball energy in general. Grohl really knows how to work his emotions into some astoundingly memorable music, and this is a major example.”
  9. “Dig” by Incubus – “What a beautiful song. Seriously. I used to hate this song/band…and then one day I really just stopped and listened to all the little details. I’ve loved it ever since.”
  10. “6th Avenue Heartache” by The Wallflowers – “The Wallflowers were my first ever concert and I barely knew anything by them. So I downloaded a few of their biggest hits- this being one of them- and went into it with a limited idea of what they were like. They belted this one out early into the set and it has made a huge impact on me ever since.”
  11. “The Garden” by Rush – “Arguably the best outro track I have ever heard on any album, ever. Can’t really say much more. Always gives me chills. ALWAYS.”
  12. “Otherside” by Red Hot Chili Peppers – “I always heard this song on the radio when I was a kid growing up in the late 90s. I never knew it was RHCP until I had become a fan of them years later. I love its dreary guitars and building melody. It’s a great one.”
  13. “Yellow Ledbetter” by Pearl Jam – “Sure, the lyrics are practically jibberish, but the instrumentation of this song is nearly unparalleled. One of my favorite guitar solos of all time.”
  14. “Nutshell” by Alice in Chains – “When I saw AiC two months ago, Jerry Cantrell dedicated this song to “a friend of his” (obviously Layne Staley). If that’s not an indicator of this song’s lasting emotional power in the wake of Staley’s death, I don’t know what is. It’s one that makes you remember where you were when you first heard it.”
  15. “Lightning Crashes” by Live – “Ed Kowalysck is one of my favorite song writers, and Lighting Crashes is one of the main reasons for that. The flanger-complimented guitars during the verses are really like nothing else I’ve ever heard in a rock song. Just a brilliantly-written song and a timeless classic.”
  16. “Backwater” by Meat Puppets – “This was the first big-ish song I learned on my guitar. I felt so cool. That’s because the guitars in this song are fucking slick. Curt Kirkwood and the boys are extremely underrated. This was their biggest hit and it’s easy to see why.”
  17. “Alive” by Pearl Jam – “This song single-handedly turned me into the massive PJ fan I am today. Talk about a masterly-crafted main guitar riff. The outro solo is just awesome.”
  18. “She’s Only 18” by Red Hot Chili Peppers – “When I think about RHCP’s “Stadium Arcadium,” I almost always think of this song first. Its bluesy/hard rock/funk mash-up is really a standout moment on the entire album (which is 28 songs in length, mind you). John Frusciante’s solos still make me wanna go grab my guitar and get down every time I hear them.”
  19. “Sabbra Cadabbra” by Black Sabbath – “I love Sabbath’s popular songs, but this one has always struck a significant chord with me. I just love the hypnotic, yet hard-rocking feel of it. Great vocals from Ozzy.”
  20. “Long December” by the Counting Crows

Look at how Jake talked about the songs he loved.  As every person has thus far shown me, there are similarities between us but stark differences.  Jake plays a bit of guitar in his spare time and you can really appreciate how he enjoys the technical parts of music, some of the stuff that people take for granted.  Jake is more of a 90s-early 00s alt rock fan but there’s still a sprinkled appreciation of Rush, who I was shocked made their first appearance on his list.

That brings me to Ryan, who I’ve known the absolute longest.  I had a good handle on Ryan for all the days I have spent crashing at his place so I’m fairly confident in what to expect here.

(RYAN’S LIST WILL BE EVENTUALLY ON HERE)

Which concludes with me.  I figured that I would probably have a slightly more eclectic list than my friends and I expected myself to have the most songs from the 2000s and as a result, the least from the 1900s (isn’t that weird to say that?).  Nonetheless, I consider myself a fan of Top-40 music as well as rock and rap.

  1. “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers – “From the first moment I heard this song back in middle school, to it being one of the last songs I remember played on the old y100 radio station in Philadelphia to one of the first albums I played constantly and now a song that still earns radio play and I can’t stop listening to.  Ever get goosebumps from a song?  Like it really either impacts you or takes you down memory lane?  That’s Mr. Brightside for me, #1 by such a long distance.  I’m willing to bet that this might be my most played song ever.”
  2. “12:51” by the Strokes – “Most Strokes fans are more hit-or-miss on this song but for me it comes down to a few things.  I always loved listening to this song on the way back home from a meet as it just seemed to capture what night felt like once everything was done.  There hasn’t been a single weekend night or a drive back home from a late meet, that I have not played this once I got back home.  It captures my mood perfectly, Nick Valensi’s synthy riffs and Casablancas’s lazy vocals, almost like he’s towards the end of a really bad bender (or he is being forced to sing the song against the will) just sounds awesome.”
  3. “Dammit” by blink-182 – “This is the ideal breakup song for anybody.  Its upbeat but if anything sums up what a high school relationship is like, its this song.  The flip-flop of emotions and the constant changing of “friend zone” or not only to see her dating someone else?  I prefer the live version with DeLonge handling the chorus though.”
  4. “99 Problems” by Jay-Z – “This is the definitive hip-hop single of our generation.  With much respect to a lot of songs, Jay-Z blended an industrial rock sounding drum line framed around one of Ice Ts best lines.  This song gave white America a rapper to like that was “mainstream” (isn’t it the worst when some suburban hipster fella tries to talk about 90s old-school gangsta rap?  If someone refers to rap as old school, leave them on the curb) that also questioned police tactics.  Social commentary on a charting song?  This could’ve fit in on Yeezus, to me it was the number-one song to play before a meet.”
  5. “The Modern Age” by the Strokes – “This is one of the only songs that if I listened to when I was a lot younger, it could rival Mr. Brightside.  Its older obviously but I was exposed to it a little later in life when I really started listening to the Strokes.  Give it a couple more years and this might continue rising in my rankings.  The strong solo by Valensi and Casablancas’s delivery of the chorus in a song-speak manner is perfect garage rock.  If you know me, you would remember this was my #1 ranked Strokes song.”
  6. “Forever” by Chris Brown – “Huge douche.  Massively terrible person.  Nonetheless, this song was big when I was about to enter my senior season of high school and was huge on the radio when I first got my license and every weekend night during my freshman year of college; I heard this song.  Hell even my favorite show of all-time, the Office, used this song prominently in one of the series most important moments.  Its a great pop song in terms of how catchy it is and the fact that it gets solid radioplay on top-40 stations more than five years later is noteworthy.  Chris Brown’s only redeemable quality is this song.  To me, the memories make it so important.”
  7. “Under the Gun” by the Killers – “Buried in the Killers catalogue is Under the Gun and I like the frantic pace of it that kind of harkens to some of “Is This It” by the Strokes.  Brandon Flowers’s flair for odd lyricism, though like some of the Hot Fuss era is definitely Morrisey-inspired, is shown here but this is a must-listen to even if you hate the Killers.”
  8. “Hard to Explain” by the Strokes – “This is another song that gives me goosebumps.  This was the first single by the Strokes and I always catch myself staying quiet each time this song comes on.  I don’t want my voice drowning out this song in any regard.  I might’ve underrated this even but it lacks the nostalgia factor that other songs have for me.”
  9. “What’s My Age Again?” by blink-182 – “If you ever made an ass out of yourself in high school and college, this is that song that you listen to afterwards.  One of the best music videos of all time, I said it, and its such a generic pop-punk song but its done perfectly.  The right amount of humor and catchiness, wrapped in a succinct 2 and a half minutes in which almost every line is memorable.”
  10. “11th Dimension” by Julian Casablancas – “It took me a while for Casablancas’s solo effort to grow on me and while I’m slowly appreciating songs like “Glass” and “Ludlow St.” it doesn’t stack up to how I feel about 11th Dimension.  I find this song to be one of the perfect liaisons between First Impressions of Earth and Angles.  Plus my admittance for loving the Strokes and synths, kinda make this a perfect song for me.”
  11. “Otis” by Jay-Z and Kanye West – “Only about two years old, but it made an impact on me.  This is the most College Dropout-sounding Kanye since that album debuted and the sample of an Otis Redding track is always an added plus.”
  12. “Life On Mars?” by David Bowie – “There we go, something older.  I loved the glam, nonsensical lyrical rock era that defined bands like T.Rex and of course Bowie.  Of course it has an important meaning to the song, but I am not trying to think deeply while listening to a song.”
  13. “Rockin’ the Suburbs” by Ben Folds – “This song probably should’ve been a bigger hit than it was.  Definitive of many lives of some of early-00s best “posers”.  This is one of those songs that I overplayed for probably a year during my junior year into the summer before my senior year.”
  14. “When You Were Young” by the Killers – “I prefer the Killers that wore eyeliner and sounded like a Duran Duran coverband but Springsteen-influenced Killers works too.  The Born to Run inspired tune (I can’t be the only one who hears it?) is the second most influential Killers song after Brightside.”
  15. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga – “Laugh at me all you want, but this is the best pop song of the past decade and its not close.  Other songs might’ve sold more and charted longer, but this is a perfect arthouse pop single.  This reminds me of if Lou Reed were 25 years old today and would write a pop single, this is what it would sound like in today’s generation.”
  16. “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” by the Killers – “The opening track off the Killers debut album is a must-listen to.  Their strongest non-single and my local radio station occasionally spins it.  That’s how good this album track is.”
  17. “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson – “The best pop song ever created and artists today continue to try and emulate and best it even.  They’ve all failed.”
  18. “The Way It Was” by the Killers – “A “new song” that is one of the strongest in the Killers catalog.  Had a lot of hit potential but its one of Flowers’s deepest without being too metaphorical.”
  19. “Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou Reed – “A song about some of the Warhol Superstars?  Lou Reed was/is amazing and this Bowie-penned tune is all thats right with the post-psychedalic rock era.”
  20. “Minority” by Green Day – “Political Green Day without trying to be too profound and one that kept some of the punk elements in their earliest recordings.  I believe that this song is the bridge from early Green Day of the Insomniac, Kerplunk, Dookie, Nimrod and Warning life to their post-American Idiot present.”

Honorable Mention:  “Taken for a Fool” by the Strokes, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by the Beatles, “Change Your Mind” by the Killers, “Last Nite” by the Strokes, “Sweet Jane” by the Velvet Underground, “New York City Cops” by the Strokes

I have two favorite bands, the Killers and the Strokes and the rest are a sprinkled match of memories for me.  For me, what’s most important in music isn’t necessarily how much I love a song or even if its a good song; I love the memories that come with every song.  Billie Jean and Life on Mars? are the only two songs I have on my list that I just think are universally great.  There are way better songs probably but all of these songs represent a snapshot of my life.  I’m more into newer pop songs but its worth noting that the Strokes have five albums and the Killers have four and all of the songs listed above (with the exception of “The Way It Was”) are from the bands first two albums.

Before I finish my analysis, here’s some fun stats for you; for all ten of you that care.

Bands Who Appear On The Most Lists:

  1. Green Day – 4
  2. Red Hot Chili Peppers – 3
  3. Led Zeppelin – 3
  4. Queen – 3
  5. AC/DC – 3
  6. Pearl Jam – 3
  7. The Who – 2
  8. Black Sabbath – 2
  9. The Killers – 2
  10. Rolling Stones – 2
  11. The Beatles – 2
  12. Pink Floyd – 2
  13. Live – 2
  14. Incubus – 2

Most Popular Songs By Us:

  1. “Otherside” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
  2. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
  3. “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers
  4. “Alive” by Pearl Jam
  5. “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

So…any conclusions?

Many thus far, even though I had a good idea of my friends favorite songs; its funny how we sacrifice for each other.  When we play music when we are altogether, its clear that the person who gets the most pleasure out of it is Anthony followed by Josh and Andrew.  I’m willing to say that I get “shafted” when it comes to what songs we play, in comparison to my favorites, I get the short end of the stick.  Though I’m always the one in charge of music, so that is hilarious within its own right.  But I guess when it comes down to it, we all try to find a way to please each other when we jam.  I usually can squeeze in a play of Mr. Brightside now and then and we always make sure “Under the Bridge” gets played at one point to satisfy Jake and Jack, though we still all like the songs.

Its funny what we would sacrifice to make each other happy even though we have a different variety of songs on our lists.  We all have different reasons for liking our own songs as well but its still funny as our music in a way defines who we are.  Whenever I’m out with my friends, its always guaranteed we will listen to music for at least three hours and sometimes we bypass seeing more of our friends to just talk and dissect stuff.  None of us might be qualified to do such but its always something that means a lot to us.

However, I know that when I grab an iPod and put on the Beatles or the Doors, two bands I like but by no means have in my top-20 list of songs, I can tell that it will make Anthony happy.  I know when I play Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin or even a Rage track or two, that it will please Josh.  I know that if I play Basket Case, She or Longview that it will please Andrew and if I play a Chili Peppers tune than Jake and Jack will have a good damn night.  Music is sort of our personal template to what makes us truly happy.  I know that maybe I won’t hear 80% of the songs that I play on a day-to-day or night-to-night basis but I will create a whole night of memories (well, what I can remember) off those songs.

I like Queen.  But man, Bohemian Rhapsody means something completely different to me now.  Whenever we rock out to that song, it makes me want to re-listen to their catalogue and even though I know most of their songs, it makes me appreciate a band more.  I know none of my friends really like the Strokes but I do know that I probably sold them on the fact that at one point; Julian Casablancas was a badass frontman, even if they may not like their music.

Hell look at our friend circle.  Anthony practically loves in the mid-60s to the early-70s, Josh picks up from mid-70s rock to the beginning of the 80s metal movement and then Jake picks up with the late-80s to early-90s alternative scene.  Jack continues the trend by staying in the mid-90s rock scene while Andrew is more respectful of the late-90s pop-punk rock explosion.  Then you have me who is more keen on the early-00s indie movement that returned rock, even if for just two years, to the mid-70s garage scene and brought back the idea of a flamboyant frontman in which Casablancas and Brandon Flowers were at one point (not so much anymore).  Anthony, Josh and Jake seem to appreciate the musicianship and artistry of previous bands while I sponge off the memories of the songs and how important they were to me growing up.  We all complete each other in the same way that we are different.

If you looked at us you would think that we would be more divided, but its hilarious how our division creates what makes us friends and why we continue to just hang out with each other.

One Response to “My Friends Top 20 Favorite Songs & How Music Defines Us”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Our Top-25 Favorite Songs: The Sequel 2014 | Satirical Thoughts - August 7, 2014

    […] But enough talking, let’s get to what you are truly here for.  In parentheses is last year’s ranking.  Here’s a link to last year’s. […]

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