Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Random Top 10 #1

Welcome back music lovers this time you really are in for a treat the first of many Random Top Tens! Now a random top ten does not focus on one artist and sometimes not the same genre. There are many songs that I like and over the years I have collected so many of them that I would just like to share with you. I discovered music in many different ways through the movies, television shows, the radio and the MTV and VH1 of my youth. I can't wait because there is so much music to talk about so let's get started on the first ever Random Top 10 of my favorite songs!

#10. Send Me An Angel by Real Life

First heard this song in the movie Teen Wolf Too during a classic 80s montage moment and it was love at first note. Being an 80s child is probably why I have thing about synth melodies thanks to so much New Wave and Soft Rock using synthesizers and why I like newer songs that implement the same kind of beats. It was first released in 1983 and again in 1989 and is about wondering if you will ever find love. I think it is a very seductive yet subtle song.

#9. Possession by Sarah McLachlan

First heard the song on VH1 in 1994 (11 years old)

By now it's common knowledge that Sarah McLachlan wrote this song about an obsessed fan who then almost took her to court to sue her over using stuff he wrote in his letters but it was dismissed when the man committed suicide. The dark tone of the lyrics makes the song seem almost forbidden to listen to it but then you just can not get the damn thing out of your mind! I love the sound of the organ which brings about a Gothic tone which of course intrigues me and Sarah McLachlan just has a velvet voice.

#8. Take My Breath Away by Berlin

No child of the 80s can not love or at least get this song out of their heads! From the soundtrack to Top Gun and produced by Giorgio Moroder, it has of course that instinctive keyboard/synthesizer hook and the hauntingly powerful vocals of Terri Nunn. Being very young when the song came out, I had no idea about how very sexy and romantic the song was and probably fell in love with it because of it being on MTV and VH1 where children respond to the images flashing on TV screens. This is such a great song I don't see how anyone could not like it unless new wave-pop isn't your thing.

#7. Ordinary Life by Kristen Barry

This song is on the soundtrack to the 1999 film Cruel Intentions starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Philippe. It plays during a scene where Ryan's character Sebastian tries to seduce Reese's character Annette and it sets the mood perfectly even though it plays quite faintly in the background. I discovered this song because Kristen Barry helped sing background vocals on The Road Home, an acoustic album by my favorite band Heart. I was interested in hearing what her own voice sounded like instead of being overpowered by the vocals of Ann Wilson and I find it has a raspy, velvet quality. I love the drum beat and guitar that make for a very steamy, entrancing track.

#6. Just Be Good To Me by The SOS Band

Okay this song wasn't on the official soundtrack of the movie but I heard it for the first time in the background of the party scene in 10 Things I Hate About You. It has that early 80s R&B/Funk sound and I think another reason I like it is it was written and produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis who went on to work with Janet Jackson! It of course is another sexy song meant for slow dancing on the floor of the club and it is about loving someone who is known to be a real heart breaker. No matter how many girls he might have you still want him even though everyone else around you thinks you are delusional and as long as you get him for one night as long as he treats you right that's all you'll need. Now I know the message of the song that I pick up doesn't fit well with today's standards but it is one of my favorite songs.

#5. Stay by Shakespears Sister

Okay yes the video is very weird but I think that is why it drew in my attention when I first saw it back on MTV in 1992 when I was about eight or nine years old. Before I get more into the song, the video was directed by Sophie Muller (you may know her as directing a lot of No Doubt videos) and the woman who plays the angel of death going after the guy is Siobhan Fahey, former Bananarama member and former wife of the Eurythmics member, Dave Stewart. I always see the video as a perfect example of visual interpretation of the lyrics which is life and death. Being a person who has been depressed and has known a person who did take their own life it shows one side of being sick of living and wanting to end your life but there is one person who wants you to stay whether it is romantic, family or friendly love trying to pull you back from that dark edge. When the song gets to the bridge that is death trying to persuade you to give in and almost seducing you and may even be symbolic of personal demons such as drugs and nightmares. In the video's case, life and love defeat death. I may be taking the lyrics to a rather unintentional place but after so many years of listening to this song, I think that is why I love it.

#4. Don't Dream It's Over by Crowded House

Possibly one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard! As I constantly state, I am a child of the 1980s so anything from the last half of that decade has burrowed deep into my brain and this is no exception. Being too young to understand it then and now being older and having listened to it a million times, it is a wonderful song about keeping hope in the darkest of times. I think the full impact of it hit me when I saw it used at the beginning of the second part of the mini-series for Stephen King's The Stand (won't spoil it for you but it is worth checking out). I know the lyrics seem to fall more toward a couple staying together no matter how hard the world tries to tear them apart thanks to war, violence or even certain people and is clear to interpretation. Musically, I also love that organ that plays in the middle part of the song before the last verse to bring it an uplifting song one may hear in church. I believe the visuals are what caught my young eye and would you believe the video was directed by Alex Proyas of Dark City and The Crow fame? Guess that's why I thought the surreal feeling felt a little familiar...

#3. Into The Night by Benny Mardones

Not being sarcastic but I have my mother to thank for making me like this song as I heard it on many car rides and many visits to the dentist. Also (again not being sarcastic) I hate to say that this song is probably the ultimate song about jail bait. Okay in the quite literal context it is a guy singing about a girl who is sixteen years old and is much older than her and people tell him to leave her alone but if I disliked songs based on what they are truly about or what picture the lyrics paint...I probably would like less music than I do and that would be kind of a sad thing. I don't know how you could change the first few lines of this song to make it a little less Lolita fuel but I always try to picture it as a man who's older than the girl by at least a handful of years that may make people uncomfortable but not grossed out (up to your own personal standards I guess...) If you put that one little fact aside I find this to be a beautiful song about discovering a love for the first time that is not a crush or infatuation but equally felt between both people. Others around you have not found this true love yet so they don't understand it and try to keep you apart. No matter what kind of obstacles are thrown your way you will find a way to be with that person and if you had to do everything over would. As you can see the romantic in me always tries to find a way to come out on top but in this case, you have to look at this song with rose-colored glasses or you may take it to a ludicrous, mind in the gutter place.

#2. Heartbeat by Don Johnson

I know what you are thinking and it's probably along the lines of what the fuck, am I right? Yes I admit without shame that I love this song and a list that MTV did only has itself to blame. You see I caught a program called 25 Lame where the video for this song was torn apart by Jon Stewart, Denis Leary, Chris Kattan and Janeane Garofolo. They were so busy making fun of it that I could not hear the song and as I could not remember hearing this song in its late 1980s heyday, I searched endlessly to find the song long before You Tube was even created! I found it on an 80s compilation at the mall, purchased it just for this song and I have loved it ever since and that was 1999! This may be considered one of the worst songs ever but I actually like it! Don Johnson may not be one of the greatest rock vocalists and more remembered as a television actor but at least he gives his all on his vocals and he does sound really good (I'm not the best singer so almost anyone is better than me). It may be standard 80s cheese but I love the guitar work and rhythm section that drive the song and the intensity of Johnson's performance. He really brings to life to me a song about a man who has been alone, giving up all material possessions, to try and find love. He's been hurt and almost feels as if his heart has stopped beating it's become so hard. Despite this fact he knows there is a girl out there who feels like he does but her heart has yet to become fully empty of love and it is so intense he can feel it when he almost thought he couldn't feel at all. I may be trying to give more subtext than a song like this deserves but that is just how the song makes me feel.

So a pretty random selection so far, isn't it? So with a list like this, what could possibly be my top choice? For my first ever Random Top Ten...

#1. You Can Do Magic by America

America...a band I came to love again thanks to my mother and this song in particular. I came home from college for either a weekend or a break with some friends and my mother just happened to be listening to the band's greatest hits and when this song came on, we were all dancing and having a good time! I have always loved that soft-rock, folksy sound America had this song is more the latter even though it does have beautiful guitar work of both the acoustic and electric variety but less heavy and more melodic. The beginning of the song is most certainly the hook that reels you in and then the pop sound makes it a great little foot-tapper as I mentioned at the beginning. Of course it is almost a cliche declaring love to be like magic and of course that's the basic premise of the lyrics  but it is kind of fitting to people who think love doesn't exist...I should know I use to be one of them! It's about discovering love that makes a disillusioned person break the stone surrounding their heart and see the world filled the true magic it always had! Sometimes a person can do that for you and then you do the same thing in return for them because once you find a love that is can do magic of your own!

So many artist, so many songs...the possibilities are endless! Will we focus on one single artist or will more random music shuffle your way? Find out next time!

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