The Great Songs – An Introduction

There are great albums, and then there are great songs.  Music is certainly the most subjective of all the mediums, but songs are in a realm of their own – because we tend to hear the songs we like, love, loathe, and hate over and over and over again, our context shifts with experience, moves with our understanding.  Nowadays, you have to go out of your way to hear an album all the way through, but a song?  Often you can’t get away from songs if you tried.

Many songs affect our lives that we don’t like.  A good friend had a breakup recently, and his girlfriend used to use Alicia Keys’s “No One” as his ring tone.  Well, if you breakup with someone in the early part of 2008, you are bound to hear Alicia Keys’s “No One” quite a lot, feel taunted by it even.  He described to me recently being at an intersection next to a Jetta full of cute girls who sang the song emphatically and, through their window, tried to coax him to sing along.  Could you not see this as some sort of teasing by a power you couldn’t control?

“No One” is not a great song, I believe, but many others are, many that I fell in love to, pined to, broke up to, walked to, danced to, had sex to, laughed to, drove around and did nothing to.  Each of the songs here I listened to probably a hundred times or more.  Since I loved some of these songs back in high school or earlier, maybe it’s in the thousands.

As I said with my Great Albums section, I wish I could retain the context of the songs I’ve loved and haven’t written about the last few years.  Some very special ones got blogs, some didn’t.  I can’t believe I’ve yet to write about, for example, Me’Shell Ndegeocello’s “Thankful.”  The song, to me, is an embodiment of happiness, and in my mind I hear its keyboards kicking in when I even think of feeling happy.  If I died this second, maybe no one would know that, and that, ultimately, is probably the reason I write this.

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