On Completing the 30 Day Song Challenge

A little more than a month ago, I began posting to Facebook and Twitter responses to the 30 Day Song Challenge.

As I mentioned at the start of it, some friends of mine at work had been doing the challenge, one sent me the link to the “rules,” and I started answering the various questions. Most people would, I think, answer these on the spur of the moment, looking up the day’s question and then answering it. I, however, decided to answer all thirty and then start posting my answers to the various social media sites. On the one hand, it let me think through some of the answers. On the other hand, it gave me ready content throughout the month — and don’t underestimate the utility of ready content. ;)

Let’s review the answers. I’m going to link to YouTube videos rather than embedding thirty videos. And for some of the songs I may explicate or annotate.

Let It BeDay 1 — Your favorite song
The Beatles, “Let It Be

Little surprise to anyone, I think. I love the message of the song — “When all the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer — Let it be.” I love the sound of the song, particularly the album version with it’s absolutely blistering George Harrison guitar solo. The version of the song I’ve linked to here is the version from the Let It Be film, which differs in some respects from the single and album versions of the song.

Day 2 — Your least favorite song
Band Aid, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Ah, yes, “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” I’ve complained about this song before, and I won’t recapitulate most of my arguments. I hate this song so much! The song had a good intent, yet its message is reprehensible. “Tonight, thank god it’s them, instead of you,” indeed. Ugh!

Day 3 — A song that makes you happy
The Leisure Society, “Something

Confession time. I’m merely “meh” on The Beatles’ version of “Something.” It’s a well-written song, but I don’t think it’s George Harrison’s best Beatles song (that honor goes to either “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” or “Here Comes the Sun”), and I don’t think the band really handles the song right. Yet, for all my ambivalence about the Beatles version, I utterly adore The Leisure Society’s cover of it. I love the ukulele, I love the strings and the flute, I love everything about the song, and just listening to it makes me stupidly happy. Heresy to say this, I know, but this is a rare case where the cover transcends the original.

Day 4 — A song that makes you sad
Collective Soul, “Run

This song actually could have gone with day 5, “a song that reminds you of someone,” because this song does remind me of someone quite strongly. In particular, it reminds me of my best friend, who died a few years ago. He loved this song. Listening to it now hurts.

Day 5 — A song that reminds you of someone
Oasis, “Don’t Look Back in Anger

The interesting thing about doing the 30 Day Song Challenge was in discovering the music videos to all of these songs. No song surprised me with its video as much as this song. On a related note to this song and the first, last year I discovered a mash of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” and Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger” by DJ Y Alias JY — “Don’t Let It Be Anger.”

Day 6 — A song that reminds you of somewhere
Eisley, “Telescope Eyes

This song reminds me of where I first heard it — in the Barnes & Noble at Crabtree, in early February, about a week before Eisley’s first album, Room Noises, came out.

I had some alternate choices for this song, including Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life” and Liz Phair’s “Why Can’t I?

Day 7 — A song that reminds you of a certain event
Goo Goo Dolls, “Iris

Day 8 — A song that you know all the words to
Tom Petty, “Free Fallin’

One advantage to answering the 30 Day Challenge for myself before posting was that it let me figure out if a song fit better in a different category than I first thought. I might easily have used “Free Fallin'” as the answer to day 6, “a song that reminds you of somewhere,” because this song reminds me of my senior year in high school.

Day 9 — A song that you can dance to
New Order, “True Faith

Another option here was Information Society’s “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy),” which is the best New Wave song ever based on Star Trek.

Day 10 — A song that makes you fall asleep
Keane, “Somewhere Only We Know

I didn’t outright hate this song until I watched the video for it while researching this list. I thought the song was just sonically dull, but the video is so much worse than that.

Day 11 — A song from your favorite band
Elbow, “The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver

For some explanation behind this song, check out my blog post on my top ten Elbow songs. As an alternate choice, I considered “Fugitive Motel,” because it was the song that made me notice the band, but it was “Tower Crane” that made me love The Seldom Seen Kid. Which I listened to at work this morning while writing, by the way.

Day 12 — A song from a band you hate
Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out

“Hate” is a bit strong. I don’t hate Franz Ferdinand. I just don’t get them. Friends have recommended them to me since their first album, especially those who know I’m into Scotpop. (The album I’m grooving to right now? Admiral Fallow‘s Boots Met My Face. Where are they from? Scotland. Another band I’m liking right now? Aerials Up. Where are they from? Scotland.) Franz Ferdinand just doesn’t connect with me. I don’t like the songs, I don’t like the sound. We don’t mix.

Day 13 — A song that is a guilty pleasure
Avril Lavigne, “My Happy Ending

I’ve mentioned my appreciation for Avril Lavigne before. I considered swapping this song and the next, except that many people do know that I like Lavinge’s music, but few people know I like the next singer’s music.

Day 14 — A song that no one would expect you to love
Kelly Clarkson, “Behind These Hazel Eyes

Other than a few of the Beatles nights over the past seasons, I’ve never watched American Idol, and I couldn’t tell you a damned thing about any of the previous winners. But when I worked at EB Games, some of Clarkson’s music played regularly on the store muzak, and I found her songs catchy and her voice strong.

Day 15 — A song that describes you
The Traveling Wilburys, “Handle With Care

Day 16 — A song that you used to love but now hate
Snow Patrol, “Chasing Cars

Had this question been “A song from a band you used to love but now hate,” I still would have answered with Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.”

I used to love Snow Patrol. I used to love this song. But then, in the autumn of 2006 this song was everywhere, and in the summer of 2007 I heard “Signal Fire,” the song Snow Patrol wrote for Spider-Man 3, and I realized that I was done with Snow Patrol. The band had descended into self-pastiche.

Day 17 — A song that you hear often on the radio
Alanis Morissette, “You Oughta Know

With the “fuck” backmasked, obviously. I think this is one of the songs Morissette wrote about Dave “Uncle Joey” Coulier, but I’m not entirely sure.

Day 18 — A song that you wish you heard on the radio
Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U

I wish I heard Sinead O’Connor on the radio in general.

Day 19 — A song from your favorite album
The Vince Guaraldi Trio, “Linus and Lucy

Surely this song was going to turn up somewhere;)

Day 20 — A song that you listen to when you’re angry
John Williams, “The Imperial March

When I get angry, I give into power the Dark Side of the Force. :h2g2:

Day 21 — A song that you listen to when you’re happy
The Cure, “Friday I’m In Love

Another song whose video completely surprised me. I utterly love this song.

Day 22 — A song that you listen to when you’re sad
Roy Orbison, “Crying

Roy Orbison. Nothing more needs to be said.

I had an alternative choice for this song, which I’ll keep to myself. When I get sad, I tend to wallow in sad songs, and the alternate choice is utterly heartrending.

Day 23 — A song that you want to play at your wedding
John Lennon, “Grow Old With Me

Day 24 — A song that you want to play at your funeral
The Beatles, “In My Life

If you think about this song as a final message from me to my loved ones, this song makes perfect sense. I think. :)

Day 25 — A song that makes you laugh
Animaniacs, “The Presidents

There are funnier Animaniacs songs, true, but I just like this one more.

Day 26 — A song that you can play on an instrument
Requiem for a Tower

So, there I was, in Raleigh for Christmas, when it began to snow. And snow. And snow some more. It snowed so much that it knocked my sister’s satellite dish out five minutes before Doctor Who‘s “A Christmas Carol.” Stranded and unable to leave — which forced me to skip work for one day simply because I was several states away — I started playing with my niece’s toys, one of which was a Fisher-Price xylophone. I’m not sure why I experimented with it, but after about an hour, I’d learned to play the really memorable part of this on the xylophone.

Day 27 — A song that you wish you could play
Jake Shimabukuro, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps

This is the last Beatles-related song in my 30 Day Song Challenge, and it’s a ukulele cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that impresses me every time I hear it/watch it.

I’ve long been impressed with While My Guitar Gently Weeps. For some thoughts on this song and its relationship to the I Ching, because George Harrison was really into the I Ching when he wrote it, you might be interested in this blog post that I posted two years to the day before I answered Day 27.

No, George Harrison, the universe isn’t random. I couldn’t have planned synchronicity like that if I’d tried.

Day 28 — A song that makes you feel guilty
Chris Isaak, “Wicked Game

I mentioned on Facebook when I posted this that I’m not entirely sure why this song makes me feel guilty. There’s something about it that hits an emotional spot I don’t quite understand or even recognize.

Day 29 — A song from your childhood
Kermit the Frog, “The Rainbow Connection

There were two other options here. The Spider-Man animated series song or the song that goes with Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

Day 30 — your favorite song at this time last year
Beach House, “Zebra

Beach House‘s Teen Dream may be the best album I heard last year. It was certainly the song I listened to nigh obsessively in spring 2010. “Zebra” leads off the album. Victoria Legrand has an absolutely amazing voice, and Alex Scally instrumentation is seriously compelling.

That’s it. That’s my thirty songs.

Now to watch some Monty Python… :cheers:

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