Strap yourselves in kids, this one’s a long one…
Driven, I guess, by boredom I’ve decided to make a list of the songs that, were my life to have a soundtrack, would comprise it’s track listing. Some of these are just songs I really enjoy listening to, others hold deep personal meaning or are tied to a specific time in my life. Regardless of the specific reasons for their inclusion, these are all important markers in my life. I’ve tried to offer some kind of explanation for each of them, for what it’s worth.
Listed in alphabetical order, as trying to order them any other way would be laughably futile.
A Perfect Circle – Judith
Just a really great song. A favorite track from a favorite band. Yes, I’m a Maynard fanboy.
A Perfect Circle – The Noose
Don’t let your halo become your noose.
Arrested Development – Mr. Wendal
Every person you meet is special in some way. Those people you walk past in the street and turn your gaze away from? They are human beings, just like you.
The Beatles – Come Together
One of those songs from my youth that’s really stuck with me. Paul and Ringo create such a great and distinctive rhythm, it just sticks in my head for days and days after each time I listen to this.
Black Sabbath – War Pigs
The first time I took notice of music as being something more than the background din of disposable entertainment was Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” album. I dug it out of my dad’s record collection, and only really put it on because I was a D&D nerd and it had a guy with a sword on the cover. One listen to this song and everything was different from then on.
Buzzcocks – What Do I Get
A punk classic. It just makes me want to get up and jump around the room like a fool every time I hear it, and it’s another of those earworms that sticks in my head for days.
CKY – Flesh Into Gear
A simple sound, a heavy sigh could win the whole world over.
The Clash – London Calling
Another of those true classics. I just love this song, that’s all.
Coil – Windowpane
If you want to touch the sky, just put a window in your eye.
The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
I just really like this song. No real special meaning, other than it’s place in my history. Whatever memories it brings back are random and different every time.
The Cure – Lullaby
Just a beautiful song, pulls the ghosts of the past out of the corner for a visit.
Daniel Bell – Losing Control
A classic. No special meaning other than it’s uncanny ability to make me want to get up and move my body every time I hear it. Losing control, indeed.
Depeche Mode – Everything Counts
Coming back from some random and forgotten concert during my metal youth, I had my first encounter with the world of Depeche Mode. DM had played somewhere that same night, and riding back home on the train we were surround by DM fans, many of whom were still chanting the chorus from this song (apparently it was the set closer.) I was very stricken by how powerful an effect the music had on these kids, and was impressed by how forthcoming the fans we talked to were, so I took the leap into a new world.
I’ll certainly never forget a train full of new wave kids still singing “Grabbing hands grab all they can…” long after the concert was over.
Depeche Mode – Halo
“And when our worlds they fall apart.
When the walls come tumbling in.
Though we may deserve it, it will be worth it.”
Dio – Holy Diver
Yeah, it’s crap. But this song is what led me to pick up a guitar and become a musician. We were sitting around a friend’s house (doing what kids do) and this record was on. One guy picked up his guitar and played along with this song, that was when I realized “I want to do that!” Within two weeks, I had my first guitar and amp.
The Doors – Five To One
Another of those songs that I just really like.
The Exploited – Horror Epics
A hardcore classic. My first experience at a punk/hardcore show was seeing The Exploited and G.B.H. and it was another of those moments that opened my eyes to things outside my insulated little world.
Faith No More – Edge Of The World
Aside from just being a great song, this is definitely a piece of important history for me. Once upon a time, I almost got married. It was a weird situation, neither of us had ever officially proposed but, at some point through many conversations, it was decided that we were going to get married. No date was set or anything, but it had been decided that this would be the song for our first dance at the reception.
I never had the heart to tell her that the song she thought was so beautiful and romantic was actually about a pedophile child molester. I left her in the bliss of ignorance.
Faith No More – As The Worm Turns
Thursday you sit in your room
with the lights turned out
and you don’t answer the door.
Friday morning looks sunny and bright,
like it’s going to be a good day.
It would be if only you had a job.
Time is on your side, you’re young.
Don’t waste your time today.
Fugazi – Merchandise
You are not what you own.
Gary Numan – Cars
File under “Just another great song.” I pretty much hated it when it came out (Synthesizers? Eww!) but I’ve come to respect it as a classic since.
Guns N’ Roses – Welcome To The Jungle
Snicker all you want, I’ll defend Appetite For Destruction to the end. Despite the parody that Axl and his ego have morphed GnR into nowadays, their first record stands as one of the greatest rock and roll records of all time, and this song is one of the classics.
H.I.M. – Join Me In Death
Would you die tonight for love?
Jane’s Addiction – Three Days
At this moment, you should be with us. Feeling like we do. Like you love to, but never will again.
John Lennon – Imagine
Do I really have to explain this one? If I do, you probably wouldn’t get it anyway.
Joy Division – Dead Souls
There’s some moods that Joy Division is just perfect for. I’m happy to not be in one of those moods right now, for the first time in a very long time.
Judas Priest – You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
A key song from a key time in my life, one that I’m glad I experienced and that I went through but equally glad it’s over and in the past.
Killing Joke – The Wait
A classic song by a classic band, one of my favorites back in the day. I’ll accept the Metallica cover song in the original’s absence, but I much prefer this version.
Korn – Got The Life
That life you see, that you want so badly? You’ve already got it. Embrace all your hate and pain and misery and go right through them instead of trying to walk around them. You’re there, you just don’t see it yet.
Led Zeppelin – Dazed And Confused
Yeah, I used to be a stoner. Oh, the things I did while high and listening to this record. Most of it was illegal, and what wasn’t was most likely immoral. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything, nor would I repeat and of it.
Plus, it’s one of the great guitar riffs of all time.
Megadeth – Looking Down The Cross
A brilliant piece of songwriting, from the melodies to the riffs to the lyrics. Dave needs to get over his Metallica envy, Hetfield and Ulrich could never write anything this good.
I’ll recall my perils, they’ll kill me with pride.
Megadeth – Peace Sells
But who’s buying? More topical than ever today.
If there’s a new way, I’ll be the first in line. But it better work this time.
Metallica – Fade To Black
If you think you’re my friend, ask me about this one personally. If you’re right, I’ll explain it to you. Otherwise it’s none of your business.
Ministry – Just One Fix
Think you’re not an addict? You’re wrong. Everyone is an addict in their own way, we all have something (or, perhaps, someone) that we simply can’t live or function without. Take a deeper look, you’re an addict just like the rest of us.
The Misfits – Die, Die My Darling
My favorite song by one of my favorite bands back in the day. This is one where the Metallica version just won’t cut it, gotta have my Danzig fix.
Mr. Bungle – Stubb (A Dub)
One of the most beautifully twisted metaphors of all time. Mike Patton is, in my opinion, one of the most brilliant artists of our time. Completely insane? Probably. But brilliant nonetheless. You either get it or you don’t.
New Order – Blue Monday
It’s New Order. Please tell me I don’t have to explain this one. It’s a fucking classic, people!
Nine Inch Nails – Happiness In Slavery
There’s times you have no choice but to yield some control in your life, whether you want to or not. We’re all of us slaves at some point or another. Stack this alongside Just One Fix, you’re a slave and you’re an addict so accept it and move on.
Nine Inch Nails – Hurt
Dark memories from dark times. I made it through, and I don’t regret any of it as it made me a stronger person. More of who I am today was made by the challenging times rather than from the brighter days.
One of the few songs that retains it’s ability to make me cry.
Ozzy Osbourne – Flying High Again
Tied to a specific time in my life, and a specific event really. One that’s far too embarassing to recall here. It involved stoners and roller skates, that’s all I’m going to say. Use your imagination and fill in the blanks, whatever you come up with will still likely have only a fraction of the surreality that the actual story holds.
Plus, it’s Randy Rhoads. Straight up fucking guitar god, no one could touch him then and no one still can now.
Pantera – Cemetery Gates
Speaking of guitar gods, witness Dimebag. I’d place him alongside the legends: Rhoads, Hendrix, Van Halen, Clapton, Page, Iommi, et al. This is one of his finest moments, brilliance at work.
Pearl Jam – Black
I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life, I know you’ll be a star
In somebody else’s sky, but why can’t it be mine.
Another of those tear jerkers, even after all these years.
Pearl Jam – Jeremy
I am Jeremy. Now piss off and stop bugging me about it.
Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
Best. Guitar. Solo. Ever.
There’s nothing quite like self-medicating the pain away. This is another of those songs I really hope I don’t need to explain. You get it or you don’t.
Plastikman – Marbles
Candy? Yes, please. I’ll take two. A well-defined turning point for me musically, from bombastic crap electronic music to the world of the minimal. I was torn between whether to put this or Spastik on here, this (obviously) won out as it came first. Mmm… acid.
Queensryche – I Don’t Believe In Love
Don’t even get me starting on the topic of love. I could fill up a post ten times the length of this one on that subject. Me and love don’t get along so much, and part of me is hating the fact that I’m letting my guard down even a little bit right now.
Queensryche – Neue Regel
Think what you will, this was the first of a number of songs that helped me move towards acceptance of synthesizers and samplers as valid musical instruments, and therefore sowed the seeds for my eventual escape from my heavy metal youth.
Radiohead – Creep
This one really taps into my insecurities. I’m nobody special. I don’t deserve the good things that happen to me. I don’t deserve the people in my life. All that kinda neurotic shit.
Oh yeah, and you can take the “Radio Edit” version and fuck off with it. It’s the fuck-filled original or nothing, I’m more offended by censorship than by one little word.
Rage Against The Machine – Know Your Enemy
Yes, I know my enemies.
They’re the teachers who taught me to fight me.
Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission,
ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite.
All of which are American dreams.
Skinny Puppy – Killing Game
A word can be deadlier than a bullet, if wielded improperly.
Slayer – Raining Blood
One of the best live shows I’ve ever seen was Slayer, on the Reign In Blood tour. Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King came out and just let their guitars moan and scream with feedback for what felt like an eternity, building up an unbelievable amount of tension in the room. Then, Dave Lombardo let out those three tom hits that were the trademark of this song and the place just went absolutely apeshit. I’ve never seen a crowd so explode as it did that day, the energy and fury that persisted through the whole show remains unmatched to this day.
What a magnificently brutal experience that was, I’m amazed I got out alive. Bloody and bruised, but alive. Who needs a fight club when you have the pit at a Slayer show?
Smashing Pumpkins – Today
Today is the greatest day I’ve ever known, if for no other reason that the fact that it occurred. The alternative is far less appealing.
Styx – Mr. Roboto
Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up. Styx was the first concert I ever went to, and I loved this song as a dumb kid. Okay, it sucks now, but it still hold relevance in my life in spite of that. I blame youth.
Suicidal Tendencies – Institutionalized
“I’m not crazy, you’re the one who’s crazy.”
Now go get me a Pepsi.
Tears For Fears – Mad World
An amazing and beautiful song, but truthfully it’s inferior to the Michael Andrews/Gary Jules remake that appeared on the Donnie Darko soundtrack (and Roland Orzabel even admits that himself.) Not sure why I listed the original here instead of the remake, as that’s really the version I like. Get Donnie Darko if you’ve never seen it, it’s placement within the movie is heart-wrenchingly beautiful and only makes a great cinematic moment all the stronger.
Tool – Sober
One of my favorite songs of all time. Such an amazing track by such an amazing band.
“I am just a worthless liar. I am just an imbecile.
I will only complicate you. trust in me and fall as well.
I will find a center in you. I will chew it up and leave.