According to Last.fm this is the top 10 of my most listened songs. How do they know? When I’m not too stressed out or tired I listen to music on my laptop while I’m working and the last.fm Winamp plugin feeds that information back to their site. Usually when I’m in form and working alone I listen to music most of the time, mp3s or online radios. Last.fm knows about 13.000 tracks I listened to going back to 2006, so by now the creepy prying thing has formed an opinion about me. However, I don’t recognize myself in this top 10; if I were to choose my favourite 10 songs none of these would be in the list. Probably these are more played because they blend in better with the way I work.
Well, here they are; I added some videos from YouTube, most are live versions and not what I really listen to. I notice now that the first two are composed to the words of Champions League poets. Not surprising, since words are what I listen to in a song.
Antony and the Johnsons – The Lake
I always like Antony, but this is the song that really brought me into his world and made me understand him and all his music. You may have known a slightly different version of this poem.
In youth's spring, it was my lot To haunt of the wide earth a spot To which I could not love the less; So lovely was the loneliness Of a wild lake, with black rock bound. And the tall trees that tower'd around. But when the night had thrown her pall Upon that spot-- as upon all, And the wind would pass me by In its stilly melody, My infant spirit would awake To the terror of the lone lake. Yet that terror was not fright-- But a tremulous delight, And a feeling undefin'd, Springing from a darken'd mind. Death was in that poison'd wave And in its gulf a fitting grave For him who thence could solace bring To his dark imagining; Whose wild'ring though could even make An Eden of that dim lake.
Susan Graham – L’ Heure Exquise
And Susan in number two. She could sing Abba songs and still be on this list. I’m not the kind of person to develop a fetish about a singer since I fell out of love with Jim Morrison in 1984, but her voice connects directly to the place I go when I dream.
La lune blanche luit dans les bois. De chaque branche part une voix sous la ramée. O bien aimée. L’étang reflète, profond miroir, la silhouette du saule noir où le vent pleure. Rêvons, c’est l’heure. Un vaste et tendre apaisement semble descendre du firmament que l’astre irise. C’est l’heure exquise!
Susan Graham – When I am laid in earth
And here she is again at #3. This is the first aria I heard of her; not the version on the video below, but the one conducted by John Eliot Gardiner; I still remember the emotion I felt, standing up in front of my tuner listening to Antena2 and hoping that they would name the singer in the end. They did.
Arcade Fire – Wake Up
I lost a decade of music starting from the middle 90s. I’m not sure why, maybe I got old. 2004 was the year when I was in tune with music again, busily discovering new music on KEXP and WFMU and the Arcade Fire were a big part of that. Maybe now I’m becoming insensitive to their music, but here they are at number 4 and 5.
Arcade Fire – No Cars Go
Patrick Watson – The Great Escape
Nothing to say about these lovely guys, except “Obrigado Maggy!”.
The National – Cherry Tree
It is only logical that this song would end up here, it is asking to be played on repeat on the background while I’m doing something else and not paying any attention to it.
Susan Graham – L’ Enamouree
Sorry, I couldn’t find a video for this one…
Editors – Escape the Nest
And here are the Editors, the greatest average band in the world… My appreciation of this song is heavily influenced by their concerts; they are a moving band live, transparent even in their affectation.
The Stone Roses – Made Of Stone
It was quite hard to find a video for this one on YouTube. I am a great fan of the punk revolution of the 70s. It brought democracy to creating music: everyone can create meaningful music, without regard to their natural abilities. Everyone, even the less gifted player or singer can make music worth listening to. Everyone? No! It is impossible to listen to Ian Brown singing outside the protective shell of a studio. But he was a master clown and this would be the only song of this list that I could pick for my personal top 10. It’s also one of my favourite driving songs; yes, I can appreciate the irony.