Like A Trip Back To Middle School

Sunday, October 5, 2008

the five most perfect songs ever written (as of 9/5/08)

I change this list fairly regularly. But with the realization today that SMOCIOTH is one of my top five favorite songs of all time, it got me thinking about what other tracks make the cut. It would probably be a lot easier to do a top 10 list, but most people reading this probably won't know any of these tracks anyway, so why overwhelm you with even more songs you don't know? =P

5. "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" by Against Me. This song isn't typical "Kerri music" and this band, as amazing as they are, isn't a typical "Kerri band." But I'm glad I gave them a chance because this band is amazing, and this song even more so. I didn't appreciate it as much as I should have until I heard an acoustic version and was able to listen to the words, and then I found out it was about the lead singer's grandparents, and then the first time (the only time) I saw Against Me! live and I saw them play this song and I saw the names "James" and "Evelyn" tattooed on Tom's chest . . . this song is a beautiful song, and every time I hear it, I wish that some folksy non-punk non-screamer would cover it (i.e. the whole "Ben Lee Covers Against Me!'s New Wave" album) so that more people would give it a chance. Every St. Patrick's Day, I think of Evelyn and James. "In all the years that went by, she said she'd always love him. And from the day that he died, she never loved again . . . she said 'if I would have known just how things would have ended up, I just would have let myself die.'" Heartbreaking. "If we're never together, if I'm never back again, then I swear to God that I'll love you forever . . . " GOD I love this song. Maybe pints of Guinness are the way to go.

4. "A Slow Descent" by Straylight Run. Straylight Run had six demos on their website before the release of their debut album. Of the six, this song was one of two that did not make it onto the album. I'm not sure what the reasoning was; it was eventually on their E.P. that followed the debut, and it's one that they continue playing at all of their shows. I don't know if it was left out in an effort to distance themselves from Taking Back Sunday, as I always assumed (and maybe even read somewhere that planted that seed in my head) that this song was about them. Regardless of what it's about, this is without question my favorite Straylight Run song. I wish I had an mp3 available of it to link here; the video clip that I took from Warped Tour last year is only an excerpt and it doesn't do it justice. I think no matter what the context is, this song rings true. It's obviously about the souring of a relationship -- whether it's a band relationship, a friendship, or more -- that's just not working anymore, "a slow descent from unique to routine." It's sad, and it really gets me every time I hear it, from the opening lines: "I'm tired, cynical, and broken, but wiser, heavy with a sense of resentment, but I used to be so much different, I used to have so much faith" to the closing lines: "We drove for what seemed like days, over roads and four lane highways, we said all we had to say, and I realized in time that it didn't mean anything." It happens to everyone, all too often, and it hurts like hell when you realize you've invested time in something or someone and for whatever reason, it's just not there anymore. And it's not anyone's fault and it's not anything you can help, it's just how it is. And you wonder why you even bother because it's not going to end well. "I knew it but as soon as it began it was ruined." "It's only a matter of time." God, I can't even write about this song without crying.

3. "Sell My Old Clothes, I'm Off To Heaven" by Saves the Day. I found out today that this song's title is a line from John Irving's "The Hotel New Hampshire" - of course one of my favorite songs of all time would be titled by one of my favorite author's books. That makes it even more special. I first heard this song at a horrible time in my life, just about two years ago. I saw Chris Conley of Saves the Day open up for Straylight Run, and I didn't know any song that he played, but I looked this one up as soon as I got home and downloaded it from iTunes because I knew that it was perfect. It fit how I was feeling PERFECTLY - that sense of caring about someone so much that you would do anything for them ("what's he got that I don't have? is it his brown eyes? I know blue eyes get boring but I'll wear dark glasses all the time! or hey, if you want me to, I'd take a knife to my own bright eyes") to struggling with the fact that they basically treat you like shit but you still can't stop caring ("now you put me through hell, you break me up, yeah I should hate you, but I can't replace you in my heart") to being able to say "to hell with you." This is one of those songs that I can forget about and go months without listening to, but as soon as it randomly shows up on my playlist, I can't listen just once. I think I'll always associate this song with the same person, despite how far I've come since that first time I heard it. I could write a whole other blog post about that though -- maybe I will sometime. Anyway. Listen to the lyrics. It's great.

2. "Play Crack the Sky" by Brand New. This song has been my favorite Brand New song for years, but it seems particularly relevant these days. Nothing like a fantastic song about a metaphorical ship wreck to get you all worked up, haha. This song is amazing on like a dozen different levels - I'd love to find an interview with Jesse Lacey explaining it. I've been fortunate enough to hear this song live a bunch of times and it gets better with every listen. Jesse Lacey is truly brilliant and one of the most amazing lyricists ever. "What they call love is a risk 'cause you always get hit out of nowhere by some wave and end up on your own" - could truer words be spoken? I loved Brand New from "Your Favorite Weapon", and when I got "Deja Entendu", I loved every song instantly on first listen. But this album closer is the song that made me realize that Brand New was more than just an awesome band, they were the best around. Another song with a great last line: "I need you like water in my lungs." I know what you mean, Jesse. I hate how much I know what you mean.

1. "Konstantine" by Something Corporate. This song has been my #1 favorite song in the world from the first time I heard it back in 2002, although when I first heard it, I'd only heard the live version, "Constantine". Each has its differences and things about them that make me prefer one version to the other, but regardless of how you spell it, this song is hands down the most amazing piece of music I've ever heard. Ever. There are few songs that could pull off being over nine minutes long without me getting sick of them, but this song fills those nine minutes brilliantly. A haunting piano melody. A reference to the greatest Jimmy Eat World song ever. A "not quite a chorus" chorus that changes each time it's sung. The "did you know I miss you . . . God I miss you" on the live version. The first summer I knew this song, I had a 30 minute commute to my internship, in which I would play this song three times. For a long time, I couldn't hear it without crying. On my worst days, this is the song that I stick on "repeat" on my iTunes. I could easily spend hours playing this song over and over -- and I have. Six years later, it still has the same effect on me that it had the first time I heard it. It's brilliant and it's beautiful and don't just take my word for it, give it a listen.

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  • At October 7, 2008 at 8:49 AM , Anonymous Courtnie said...

    My top five looks a whole lot like yours. (we're musical soulmates? haha)

    5. For Me This Is Heaven - Jimmy Eat World

    4. Mistakes We Knew We Were Making - Straylight Run

    3. This Is Not An Exit - Saves The Day

    2. Konstantine - Something Corporate (didn't i introduce you to them? if so, i'm so proud of myself!)

    1. Me vs Maradona vs Elvis - Brand New

    See what I mean? So similar.

  • At October 7, 2008 at 8:03 PM , Blogger Kerri said...

    You TOTALLY introduced me to Something Corporate! And "For Me This Is Heaven", which is hands down my favorite Jimmy Eat World song. And "Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis" is my second favorite Brand New song and would probably make my top 10 favorite songs ever. We really ARE musical soulmates. Now I have to go download "This Is Not An Exit", haha.

  • At October 7, 2008 at 9:08 PM , Anonymous Courtnie said...

    How have we been "friends" for years and I've never harassed you into listening to Saves The Day sooner? They used to be one of my top 5 bands...until that ill fated In Reverie album came out. But seriously, the entire Stay What You Are and Through Being Cool albums are AMAZING.

  • At October 7, 2008 at 9:11 PM , Anonymous Courtnie said...

    Oh and my #6 song is totally a Kerri song. Sharp Hint of New Tears by Dashboard Confessional. You introduced that one to me yeeeaaarrrsss ago.

  • At October 8, 2008 at 8:57 PM , Blogger Becky said...

    This REALLY REALLY makes me want to hear "Sell My Old Clothes, I'm Off to Heaven."

    But let's be honest--if you had an some one-on-one time with Jesse Lacey would you really be asking about his songs? Because I think it may be more important to first foucs on things like how many children he wants, where he wants to live, if he wants a spring or fall wedding, etc....

  • At October 31, 2008 at 12:49 AM , Blogger Pat said...

    Hi! Please remove the hotlink to our music file in your post -- it costs us money when people download it.

    ~ Sound Salvation Army

  • At March 21, 2009 at 1:54 AM , Blogger Tyler. said...

    Wow perfect
    My list is very similar to yours.

    5. Tie between a couple Underoath songs.
    4. For Me this is Heaven - Jimmy Eat World
    3. Make Tonight - Emanuel
    2. Konstantine - Something Corporate
    1. Me vs. Maradona Vs. Elvis - Brand New

    Awesome, awesome blog.


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