I got this idea from Shannon–and I’ve been turning this list of songs over in my head for a while. Coming up with a list of three songs is a difficult task, more akin to writing a paper with a page maximum than a page minimum. One has to cut out the frivolous filler and go straight for the quality songs.
In my top three, I felt I had to include:
Indigo Girls, “Least Complicated.” It was the song that I used in my first planned* public speaking event, and I listened to it on a weekly basis for four years at Beloit.
Ellis Paul’s “God’s Promise” When my parents died, this was the only song I could really listen to. When I went back to my old parish to help with confirmation classes**, I played this song as an introduction to my talk. Woody Guthrie wrote the lyrics to this song when he was in the last stages of Huntington’s Disease and it is a spiritual song I can still embrace.
I think, however, that these songs are outliers–so important to me that they upset the curve. Therefore, they are excluded from my list. This isn’t cheating–this is straight up science in action.
As a kid, my all time favorite song was the Theme to The Greatest American Hero and “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. Today I include them only to suggest that as a kid, I was a tad odd. The only list these song are on is called, “Songs I am completely embarrassed to admit I like.”
The real three song list is in no real order.
First on the real list is New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.” I am not a dancer, but this is song I can never resist. It reminds me of my days in Beloit, even the shitty ones where I spent more whining then actually doing something useful.
Number two on the list is the “Foggy Dew,” by the Chieftains and Sinéad O’Connor. So much better than any version of Danny Boy I have ever heard–and it is a song that my dad and I listened to all the time. When I was in college, my buddy Mark and I played every single version of the Foggy Dew we could get our hands on until we got a caller to WBCR. We played at least 10 versions until someone called in and asked us to stop.
The third and final song on my list is “The Crane Wife #3.” The first time I heard this song, I knew the Decemberists had become my favorite band. More than my love for Led Zepplin as a kid, more than my love for Ted Leo now. The Crane Wife #3 is beautiful, sad, remorseful and for some odd reason, hopeful. I love it.
Special Mention to Damien Rice’s “Cannonball” too. Avoid the covers though–they suck.
*By planned I mean I knew I was going to do it. Not the speaking event where I argued with a nasty piece of work who was teaching us “Horny, sinful teenagers” about sex.
**It wasn’t hypocritical until recently. I have always encouraged the kids to question their faith, reasons to be confirmed and tired to show them out to be smart about being catholic. One or two kids would see my point, the others admitted that they had to do it–and the really honest ones would always talk about how much money they would get after they got confirmed.