Yes, I genuinely tore at what’s left of my hair for my final Top Five before I graduate from UNF and skip away into the golden land of unemployment. I had to cut Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, Throw Me the Statue, Kid Koala, Tribe Called Quest … shit, SO MANY. The initial task was an extreme challenge for me and too subject to change as an all-time favorites list, so I manipulated the wording some — this is NOT an all-time favorites list. Following in former features editor and Top Five papa Jason Yurgartis’ precedent, I compiled a Top Five Songs Worthy of Taking Up Residency in Your Soul list — in my opinion. So in my opinion, despite its minuscule weight, I’m laying it all out and in turn, handing out the reigns to my able-noggin’d co-worker Max Jaeger. Enjoy … or something. Thanks for kind of caring, you’re in the Jaegarbomb’s hands now.
“Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss” by Built to Spill
This is the ditty which led me to BTS and for that, I will always be thankful. I feel as if it serves as an audio textbook example of merriment. The guitar rollicks around like the instrument itself just polished off a platter of rock candy amidst lead singer Doug Martsch’s quirky vocal work. And all pride aside, I can honestly attest to the life-stabling abilities of lines like, “And if you recognize subtle patterns in the sky/ You’ll take it as a sign, unless it eases your mind.” So stop worrying up extraneous problems for yourself, and start rocking some Built to Spill. Like, now.
“Hoist That Rag” by Tom Waits
Actually penned in a collab fashion between Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan for his 2004 album, “Real Gone,” this is one powerhouse of a song. The song appears as gypsy horse stomping, seamlessly gliding into an able-bodied Spanish guitar which crashes then becomes Waits’ snarl. It follows Waits’ stylistic story-approach to lyricism, this time taking on the persona of a grimy, wild-eyed pirate. More salsa-doused horns and hip-swiveling noodling makes way for a ballad which makes you want to weep with unadulterated joy. In fact, I did just that when Waits graced the River City with a spiritual performance. Am I a little obsessed? Maybe.
“More Than a Feeling” by Boston
I can directly attribute my connection with this song to my dad. Yeah, I know that’s corny but whatever. Sometimes songs transcend into classic rock territory for the sole reason that IT IS GOOD. And for this same reason, I plan to allow this song permanent residency as my ringtone as long as Verizon will allow it.
“Dig for Fire” by Pixies
I first investigated Pixies circa age 15 because some boy I was crushing on happened to harbor a serious passion for the Massachusetts-based bunch. However, after I first devoured “Velouria,” I ravenously consumed their entire discography. However, the dreamy sense of ambiguity and the clean, cohesive meshing of Frank Black and Kim Deal’s (shit, she is cool) voices of this number from “Bossanova” remained at the tippy-top of my prized Pixies pieces. The jangly bits and boardwalk guitar transitions easing along each minute step of the song doesn’t hurt, either.
“Extradition” by Pavement
Not to be meant as an epic final song to the already arbitrary list, this one track from ’95’s “Wowee Zowee” (which is typically regarded as Pavement’s redheaded stepchild album — a notion I totally don’t get) particularly stood out to me as a stand-out through lead singer Stephen Malmus’ astute lyricism. Although it seems the song hones focus to estranged individuals, I feel like Malkmus’ speak-singing delivery paired with the ultra-cool, lazy kind of instrumentation which made everyone pee their pants in anticipation when they announced a reunion nearly a year ago. I’m still considering biting the bullet on air fare to New York City …