It started with a challenge: Make a list of your thirty favourite songs, he said. As if that was easy.
I should have said ‘no’. I would have said ‘no’, if I’d known just how difficult and all-consuming it would become.
For the past two weeks or so, this list has always been at the back of my mind if I haven’t been consciously thinking about it. It has kept me up late. It has distracted me from work. It has taken over my life and forced me to choose between songs that are loved for different reasons, but loved equally and well.
Today, we sat in the pub and shared what we had compiled. Neither of us could come up with a definitive list, as our opinions changed constantly. And we both tried to limit the number of songs per artist to one… which made it easier to share the broader range of our taste, but more difficult to choose between specific songs.
And now, I’m sharing the list with you, dear reader – in no particular order, I might add.
- Feeder – Comfort in Sound
- Muse – Sing for Absolution
- Gemma Hayes – Back of My Hand
- Counting Crows – Angels of the Silences (acoustic version)
- Radiohead – Street Spirit
- Frank Turner – A Decent Cup of Tea
- Bob Marley – No Woman No Cry
- Beatles – Day in The Life
- Foo Fighters – Hey Johnny Park
- Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box
- Garbage – The Trick is To Keep Breathing
- The Postal Service – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
- Ben Marwood – It’s Harder Now To Break Your Stupid Heart
- Dresden Dolls – Girl Anachronism
- Nine Inch Nails – Something I Can Never Have
- Hell is for Heroes – I can Climb Mountains
- Idlewild – In Remote Part
- Biffy Clyro – Who’s Got a Match
- REM – Losing My Religion
- Tim Minchin – If I didn’t Have You
- Kate Bush – Hounds of Love (see also: Futureheads version)
- The Holloways – Generator
- Maximo Park – Girls Who Play Guitar
- Editors – All Sparks
- The Levellers – One Way
- Jim Lockey and The Solemn Sun – Morning Wake Up
- Dive Dive – Ape Like Me
- Sleeper – Factor 41
- Nina Simone – Feelin’ Good
- Van Morrison – Bright Side of the Road
It’s hard to articulate why these are my favourites, and no doubt you will agree or disagree at your leisure.
But what I’ve learnt from this little experiment, what I’ve really truly learned, is that if someone challenges you to list your favourite songs, or films, or paintings, or other cultural artifacts that are easy to love and difficult to quantify… just say no.