Since I sort of dodged yesterday’s QOTD by listing my top 10 songs over the last 30-plus months, I decided I owed you a more forthright attempt at figuring out my current top 10, the 10 songs I’m actually most passionate about right now.
1.) “Your Rocky Spine” by Great Lake Swimmers (from Ongiara) — As I just described a few days ago, this song—which beautifully blurs the difference between a mountain ridge and a lover’s spine—is haunting and fragile. And I just want to listen to it over and over again. You can listen to the entire song here. Do it.
2.) “Die Die Die” by the Avett Brothers (from Emotionalism) — I rhapsodized about this album a couple of weeks ago, and I haven’t changed my mind at all. “Die Die Die” is dark, jangly, and masculine. It’s hillbilly music cross-pollinated with punk rock. I can’t imagine a sexier combination than that.
3.) “A Mirror Without” by Royal Wood (from A Good Enough Day) — I absolutely don’t understand why this song isn’t a huge hit—either here or in Canada, Wood’s home. This is poppy, polished singer-songwriter stuff. It’s creamy like butter. (P.S. You can listen to the entire song here.)
5.) “Shame” by the Avett Brothers (from Emotionalism, again) — The singer, a lover who has done someone wrong, begs for the “shame, boatloads of shame” to be lifted from him. The lyrics are breathtaking, and the performance is raw.
6.) “Backstage with the Modern Dancers” by Great Lake Swimmers (from Ongiara) — When I saw GLS last week, Tony Dekker explained that this song was literally about being backstage with some modern dancers, who were, strangely enough, on the same bill with him. I’m particularly attracted to Dekker’s vocals on this song, which combine his gentle delivery with an appealing rhythm.
7.) “Before I Drive Away” by Michael Hearst (from Songs for Ice Cream Trucks) — I blogged about this earlier in the month, and I’m still hooked. This may be children’s music, but it’s for the smartest, grooviest kids you know.
8.) “Bring the Boys Home” by Jann Arden (from Uncover Me) — I love Jann Arden’s voice. And on her new album of covers, that beautiful voice merges with some of my favorite songs. “Bring the Boys Home” really resonates.
9.) “Where in the World Are You” by Great Lake Swimmers (from Ongiara, again) — This song consists mostly of the title question sang over and over again. You’d think that would get old, and quickly so, but it really doesn’t. Dekker’s delivery is so heartfelt that I find myself humming along and wondering where in the world certain people—the Soulmate-Who-Got-Away, the Ex, a “lost” friend from grad school—are.
10.) “Sit Down Servant” by Mike Farris (from Salvation in Lights, forthcoming) — This song is iTunes’ free Discovery Download of the week. I’m not ordinarily a fan of gospel music, but Farris’s performance of this gospel staple is so quintessentially bluesy and soulful that I just couldn’t resist it. Farris, by the way, has musical bona fides, too, having been the front man for Double Trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughn’s former band. I don’t go to church
too often at all, but I would if it sounded like this….
Honorable Mentions: “Polynesia” by Mother Mother (from Touch Up) (listen to the entire song here); “Snowed In” by the Joel Plaskett Emergency (from Ashtray Rock) (listen to the entire song here); and—of all things—”Always on my Mind” by Brenda Lee (from In the Mood for Love: Classic Ballads).