I’ve determined that along with my Tuesday short-story updates, I’m going to be incorporating a small tuft of music with each post. For no other reason than because I viciously enjoy many different flavors of music and think it would be seven levels of awesome if someone else enjoyed any of it too. To kick off this process, I’m going to be drawing from a pool of “top ten” lists that me and my friends have made over the last couple years. Here I will now post my “Top Ten Songs of All Time”, which was probably the most soul-burning list that we had to make. In fact, you might as well consider them closer to “Ten Songs That Cooper Really, Really Likes That May or May Not Be His Top Ten”. There are so many hundreds of songs that had to be labelled unworthy, despite my appreciation for them. I also love finding new music, so any who might read this post, please feel free to share your interests in a comment. 🙂
With the exception of the very last installment, these are in random order.
Shattered – Trading Yesterday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_LOOKssMpA “Shattered” by Trading Yesterday. Album: More Than This. This song won the Annual Stephen Music Awards 2012, a self-imposed music competition done by my friend Stephen every year. The reason this song is on the list is because of the change of pace found at 2:25 in the song. The build up of additional instruments and vocals becomes increasingly grandiose until at a precipice and the singer’s raw emotion draws you into his zone.
Broken Mess – The Classic Crime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srgW52CnYik “Broken Mess” by The Classic Crime. Album: Vagabonds. I had a difficult time deciding what my favorite work by this band was, but ultimately I had to go with this one. It starts off sort of pessimistic, a conversation between two brothers: the singer, and his brother who was recently betrayed in his marriage. But it builds into the revelation that love is bigger, stronger, and more beautiful than we imagine or first understand.
Just Another Birthday – Casting Crowns http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Tu6NQ4L01w “Just Another Birthday” by Casting Crowns. Album: Come to the Well. You know that Annual Music Award thing? This is my pick for this year, as of now. The song tells of a young woman and her life over the course of five years and how she is desperately looking to find the approval of a father who never cared about her. Watch the music video (the link I’m posting), it will tell the story. What really does it for me though is the bridge. All of the song, every last mistake she’s made, every inch of her torn heart, is pulled into one sentence that echoes in her mind as she lies on an abortion table. A cry to Jesus: “Be a father to the fatherless”.
On Fire/Souvenirs – Switchfoot http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhcJh-gF1-8 “On Fire” by Switchfoot. Album: The Beautiful Letdown. The oldest on the list and one of the most beautifully crafted songs I know, delivered by who I believe to be a sensational artist. A humble worship song, sung by Jon Foreman, a voice of this generation. So delicate and simple, yet it hits you so thoroughly. The reason another song is on here is because it might be replacing On Fire very soon. “Souveneirs” is from the same artist and equally as good. It’s a bittersweet, final goodbye to a best friend sort of song.
Butterfly Fly Away – Miley Cyrus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGKDKF-jA10 “Butterfly Fly Away” by Miley Cyrus. Without argument, this is the most controversial song on my list. You don’t know how much I didn’t want to put this on the list, because I don’t like Miley Cyrus or any of her other songs. But when I had to be real with myself, I realized that this song touches me too much to not put down. This song appeals to my inner father and I also love the acoustics. The only real problem I have with the song is that note she tries to hit at 1:02. I almost dropped the song for that alone, but alas, here it is.
Fin* – Anberlin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htm4dvI8nzc “*Fin” by Anberlin. Album: Cities. I wasn’t sure whether to put this song on the list or not. It has a bit of a depressing tone to it, but the stride of the melody walks you through what is ultimately a breathtaking piece. The greatest strength of this song I believe is the magnitude of the vocals later on, matched with the dramatic turns in musical style. At 2:52 it evolves a more rock sound. Listen to his voice there! He’s belting out. And then at 3:43 the children’s choir enters the fray, with the singer’s quick return, giving it this almost surreal, entrancing speed. But then it mellows down again by 6:00 (It’s a long song) and opens up space for the singer to deliver his soul to you on a platter. Never mind, this song definitely deserves to be on this list.
Pieces – Red http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Uw8mIcQJn8 “Pieces” by Red. Album: End of Silence. My favorite song by Red. It has a similar ability to Atonement (My #1 song, which you’ll see later), in that as soon as the first couple notes of that piano are played, I suddenly melt. The deep, low rhythm just carries you along, into the song of a man who is forced to be real with himself and with God, realizing how hopeless he is without. Later in the song, the tone picks up into what I would call a “sigh of relief”.
Last Night – Skillet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XCvXyhYLSE “Last Night” by Skillet. Album: Comatose. This song almost didn’t make it on the list. It was competing with a few other Skillet songs from the same album (best album imo) and I almost decided to drop Skillet in general. This is the song with the hardest sound on my list and musically is good, but nothing terribly fantastic. What really sets it apart is the meaning. It is a song told from the voice of God to a girl who wants to commit suicide.
Mark Schultz – Walking Her Home http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ODSx0UfAcA “Walking Her Home”. Okay, so it sort of kills me that I had to choose between this and “He’s My Son”, because both of those songs are so good that I don’t even know what to do with myself. Nevertheless, I picked this one, because I love songs that tell stories. Starting young and progressing through the years, the song talks about a romance that begins at the age of eighteen and lasts through the lifetime and beyond. Emotionally compromising if you listen to it at the right time.
Atonement – Final Fantasy XIII http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lZC8IUj-cw “Atonement” from Final Fantasy XIII. This is my #1 favorite song of all time. It is the only song on the list that is purely instrumental, and it is the only one from a videogame. The song itself is very good and will eventually appeal to the deep parts of your heart, if you let it. I thought it was alright at first, but the more I listened to it, the more enraptured I became. My connection to this piece is bound to be stronger than most because over the last few years I have built many other associations that connect me to it. Now it’s at the point that regardless of what mood I’m in, whether happy, sad, upset, etc, this song sobers me into a contemplative and appreciative mood. I love it.
That’s all of them. While the continuum of music I listen to is vast, you probably noticed some running themes. First, at least half of them have to do with or somehow include God. Second, they are all songs that appeal to emotion, something that I actively try to stimulate. Third, most of them are rock songs, a sub-genre of rock, or closely related to it. I found this interesting for myself, because I thought with how many instrumental songs I listened to, some of those were more likely to appear on the list, but I guess not. Again, comment with your own favorite songs, God bless, and enjoy your weekend. 🙂