Holiday Blog: 10 Songs that never get old

Dec 16, 2019 | Robert Thomson


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For a little fun I decided to put together a list of songs that I never seem to get tired listening to, and write a bit of a story about them.

Holiday Blog- 10 Songs that never get old

 

It's coming up on Christmas, and I wanted to send out something a little fun.

 

Those of you that know me well know I have a deep fondness for music, and I thoroughly enjoy building playlists.

I didn’t want to do a Holiday music list because in all honesty there’s not a lot of good holiday music out there. Most of them get on your nerves after the 3rd time hearing them.

 

Instead I decided to put together a list of songs that I never seem to get tired listening to, and write a bit of a story about them.

 

She came in through the Bathroom Window, The Beatles, Abbey Road

Abbey Road was the final album The Beatles recorded together (“Let it be” was released later, however it was recorded prior to Abbey Road). The story goes that the band was constantly fighting each other during the recording sessions. They had a group of songs that they couldn’t agree on how to finish, so George Martin (the producer) strung them all together. Side B has this collage of songs and when I listen to it, it’s great but it’s also a little sad. This is my favourite of the group. If you’re listening to it, it might be better to start the collage from the beginning through to the end. That starts with “Mean Mr. Mustard”, “Polythene Pam”, “She came in through… “, “Golden Slumbers”, “Carry that Weight” and “the end”. It all goes by pretty quick.

 

Happy, Rolling Stones, Exile on Main St.

My friend Matt’s father told me once when I was over for dinner that he never really got into the Rolling Stones when he was younger. I was over for dinner and we had my Ipod on in the background, and he challenged me to play him one song (and one song only) that would best represent the band…. So I put this one on… and like its title, it’s a happy song.

 

Corduroy, Pearl Jam, Vitalogy.

In one episode of Malcolm Gladwell’s Podcast “Revisionist History”, he speaks about the music you enjoy being primarily based on what you listened to when you were 18-20. It has to do the time span that a certain part of your brain developes. I had never thought about that before he said it, but when he pointed it out I realised that he’s kind of right. My favourite bands today are for the most part what I was listening to at that age. To that point, Pearl Jam was my favourite band through High school, Vitalogy came out when I was 18, and Corduroy my favourite PJ song. Probably the “hardest” of the selections on this list, but for those of you new to Pearl Jam, if you can get past the raw guitar this is an amazing song... and it should be played loud. 

 

Down by the River, Neil Young, Everyone knows this is nowhere.

I was a late-comer to the Neil Young Band wagon, so those of you that don’t like him, I get it. My friends in High school were huge fans and I just wasn’t there. I’m not sure when that changed, but it did and this song is amazing. When I was testing out different speakers for my stereo this was one of the songs I chose to play in order to test out the low range and resonance (Bad speakers have trouble with the opening bass line). it also has what many refer to as the best guitar solo in Rock and Roll. And if you want a laugh, Google “Air Guitar with Bradley Cooper, Jimmy Fallon”, and go for the long version. Bradley does an absolutely amazing air guitar of this guitar solo.

 

Decks Dark, Radiohead, A moon shaped pool.

Two things about Radiohead:

  1. Many call it depressing. I don’t, but Radiohead definitely points out what they see as the problems with society, which can be troubling… and Thom York’s voice can take a bit to get used to… so it’s an acquired taste.
  2. It’s my favourite band and this is my list, so here they are.

Their music is complex and this one is thick in the weeds in that respect. The Lyrics are poetry, there’s overlapping rhythm and changes to melody structure. One of the biggest things I like about this song is at the very end when he repeats “have you had enough of me… have you had enough of me… sweet darling…” The change-up of syncopation (beat emphasis) in his voice is extremely catchy, and I'm not really sure why that is. I actually get shivers whenever I hear this part.

 

You Make Loving Fun, Fleetwood Mac, Rumors

From one of the bestselling albums of all time, my parents used to play this album all the time when I was young. It came out when I was 1, but we definitely had it playing at home or in the car well into my 8th year (along with Elton John and Abba). This nostalgia factor strikes a chord with me, and it is also just a fun happy song that is impossible to not start nodding your head to.

 

Put on, Cologne, Donovan Woods, Don’t get too grand

Toronto boy, not overly well known but he’s getting bigger now. This is a great dinner music song. I really like it, and it’s one that people always seem to ask "who is this" when I play it. 

 

Over the Hills and Far Away, Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy

My sister hates Led Zeppelin. This is a direct result of how much I used to listen to it during high school, and the fact that Led Zeppelin needs to be played loud. Funny story: a Led Zeppelin song apparently came on in the delivery room while she was giving birth to my nephew, and she went bananas.

I remember hearing about a study that discussed how there’s a certain volume level of music that causes a reaction in the brain: endorphins are released, and it causes people to want to physically move (nod head, tap foot, dance)... that sort of thing. It doesn’t matter so much what style of music, it’s the volume.

Robert Plant’s voice is high, and he kind of screams (which may have been the source of my sister’s dislike). I think that his voice adds to this kind of "loud music" reaction though. This song switches back and forth between acoustic and electric guitar really nicely, and Robert Plant does his thing. Whenever I hear it, It takes me back to High School, and I usually think to myself how I need to listen to Led Zeppelin more. It kicks off a Zeppelin binge on my car rides, and if you haven't listened to Led Zeppelin before, this is a good starting point.

 

Rebellion, Arcade Fire, Funeral

Arcade Fire is an unconventional band from Montreal. They have trombones, violins, and all sorts of different instruments in their makeup. This was their first hit and it took the music world by storm. People like David Bowie and Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) called them the best band in the world. They were completely different than anyone else and they paved the way for other folk rock bands that had a resurgence in the early and mid 2000’s.

I’ve seen them play this song live a few times, and it’s been one of the best things I’ve heard at a concert. Whatever song it is they are playing before, they finish with a crescendo of… well… noise. Blaring noise in fact. All band members just seem to be doing their own thing to the point that you lose the direction of what they’re playing… and just when you think, “OK, I don’t really get this anymore and I think it should stop…” the base drum suddenly kicks in under the noise, then a few seconds later they all go silent accept for the bass and “Rebellion” begins… and it’s amazing.

 

Separator, Radiohead, The King of Limbs.

No surprise to those that know me: Radiohead again. I haven’t put these songs in any order, other than this one. This is my number one. It’s my “last song of the night”. It’s a bright, easy to listen to song that slowly builds. When I play it I think of a long dinner party at the cottage… most of the guests have left, and you convince the last group to listen to one more before you shut it down. It’s a good end to the evening.