The Best Song in the World


Guest Post! Quito-The Mountain Goats
February 10, 2009, 8:56 pm
Filed under: The Best Song in the World, Uncategorized

mgoats5

Hey Folks–Thought you might enjoy a voice other than my own…plus I owe you an update. Here’s a guest post from the lovely Scrumptious

You know how you can listen to an album over and over again through the years, maybe humming along, while you drive or cook dinner or clean the house or whatever. You like it, it’s a good or maybe even great album. Maybe there are a couple of songs on there that blow you away or really speak to you.

And then one day you’re listening, you’re cooking or driving or humming along, and suddenly there’s this SONG on there, this amazing song you swear must not have been there the first fifty times you listened. Because you would have noticed. This song you would have noticed. Where has it been? Did the artist sneak into your house last night and add it somehow?

You know what I’m talking about, I know you do. Is there a word for this phenomenon? Probably not, so I’ll coin one right now. I’m calling it the “hiding track.” Not the “hidden track,” that usually inferior thing snuck onto an album but left off the liner notes. The Hiding Track. It waits for you quietly, like the magic bookshop in stories, only appearing when the time is right for you to hear it.

I had We Shall All Be Healed by The Mountain Goats, a good album by a great band, in fairly consistent once-a-month-or-so rotation from 2004, when it was released, to one night in 2008, when I was cooking dinner or driving or cleaning the house and IT appeared. I don’t even remember what I was doing at the time – you would think I would but it was more like one of those nights where you can remember everything you were doing up to a point but then there’s just a big blank spot and the next thing you know you wake up face down in a corn field surrounded by crop circles.

The song Quito appeared one night and the next thing I knew it was a month later and I was face down in a corn field with a 255-times play count on my iTunes counter.

Should I even attempt to describe it for you? It’s somehow violent and it cuts me open but it also weaves a tight, binding embrace that holds everything together. One night when I thought my heart was breaking and it hurt to breathe and I was afraid if I moved an inch I would shatter I put on my headphones and put Quito on repeat for six hours straight, lying curled on the couch unmoving.

It’s so short it’s almost a throwaway. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice it for so many years. But there’s a kind of yearning lift to it at the end that begs to have the song begin again immediately, in a cycle of endless repetition that actually makes it infinitely long.

And then we ask, what is he even talking about, with the salmon and the bus? Obviously after 300+ listens I have plenty of ideas, but ultimately, I leave it up to you. Those lyrics are pure John Darnielle, whose magic talent is making words so poignant and recognizable on a gut level that they skim straight past your brain to pierce right into the core of you. Anyways, with those violins pushing and pulling the blood through your veins and the breath in your lungs, the words are just the pretty pictures that flash before your eyes while the sinking black tar pulls you under, under and you start to lose consciousness but it’s all good, it’s all sweet, because you’re being held so tight now by the best song in the world.

Listen here!



Caskets-Damien Jurado
January 30, 2009, 12:03 am
Filed under: The Best Song in the World

Okay, so I admit I have not been regular on the updating. I’ve made a pact though, so bear with me. One best song a week. I might do more, but I won’t do less. I don’t want to let my friendly readers down, but I also have a full time job, a wonderful partner (look for a future guest post!), two pet rats to take care of, and a serious addiction to strategy board games. So…once a week for now. Not that I have a staggering following, but hey, I want to do my best to those readers I do have.

Thanks folks! Don’t worry… I’m moving on!

Caskets. What a friggin’ delight. Damien Jurado was one of those artists that I listened to at first and waited for the hooks to cinch. This experience is so odd: I listen to an album once or twice. I am mostly half-heartedly listening. I don’t catch the lyrics, but I get the general gist. I usually never fall in love. (Ragoo was a delightful exception). Then, one day, on about the third listen to a song, it hits me. A surge, like a really cold blue raspberry slushie on a hot day–purple lips and all–that takes over my ears and my heart. The song is perfect. The lyrics coo into my ear. The bass line beats to my pulse, the tones sing at the same pitch as the ringing in my ears. The world melts.
Welcome to Caskets. The opening bass line is that melting, is that connection of music to joy that I search for and find in these songs I categorize. It’s hot. A beautiful combination of melacholy, curious, and frackin fantastic.
I usually don’t shill, but buy this album. Buy it because I was seriously considering putting the next track on this blog, and that’s saying something. One song that is really, truly the best song in the world and then a close competitor following it…well, that might mean a new category: best artist in the world.

But that’s another blog.

Enjoy folks. This is pretty damn sweet.

EDIT: WHAT? This guy is really phenomenal. I was looking for a good image and I found this awesome music video for Caskets. Again! not shilling, but really digging this rad piece of film. YOU WILL LOVE IT.

Instead of putting the audio link, I’m posting this vid. If you don’t like vids, just click to another tab and crank up the volume.



Nantes-Beirut
January 23, 2009, 11:55 am
Filed under: The Best Song in the World

I enjoy orchestral, grandiose displays of fantastic music. It just makes things seem fun and lyrical, like we’re all in a too-bright circus, and things are meant to be bizarre and monstrous. I’ve determined that Beirut also feels this way. At least, that’s what the music says.

Zach Condon is the master of Beirut, and a twenty-two is rocking the music world more than most elder musicians I know. I could go on and on about how badass he is, but everyone else does that, so I’ll move onto my point: the best song in the world.

Nantes epitomizes all that is good and holy about Beirut. The creative instrumentals, the excellent songs, the…fascinating? lyrics. I love this song because I feel like I’ve entered a small town in Europe (maybe in Beirut, actually) and also gone into a doll making workshop where the factory people sing together. It’s awesome.

I love music that makes me joyful. Nantes, and Beirut in general, makes me joyful. Some instruments that I’ve never heard OF can’t pronounce doing awesome stuff makes me joyful. The best song in the world makes me joyful. Enjoy!

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Pink Moon-Nick Drake
January 16, 2009, 3:08 pm
Filed under: The Best Song in the World | Tags: ,

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I just want to put it out there that I loved this song before Volkswagen made that Cabrio commercial. Ahem..

Nick Drake.  I have fallen slightly out of love with him, but he used to be my rock. Any time, anyday, and especially when I hated every song in my music library with a deep passion but desparately needed to listen to something, Nick Drake would be there, ready to embrace me with his buttered voice and  sweet acoustic guitar strums. Maybe I’ve grown up, maybe I was a little disillusioned when his family sold him out, I’m not sure. But, Pink Moon will always be the best song in the world, regardless of its creator.

Another dear friend of mine introduced me to Nick Drake in her living room in family-student housing in Riverside, CA. It was hot, we were sitting on the living room carpet, and a song from Five Leaves Left began playing from her stereo. What can I say? I was in love. I started searching for his music, and soon found Pink Moon the album, beginning with this stunning song.

But that’s not at all. My good buddy from high school, Trevor Hall, who is an incredible, heartfelt, powerful musician, had a special encore for his senior recital. After whipping through some seriously complex classical guitar, playing a beautiful rendition from his soon to be major-record-label album, he closed with a rendition of Pink Moon that still resonates in my ears this day.

And hey, that VW commercial couldn’t even ruin it. It’s actually a pretty great commercial. But probably cuz Pink Moon is just that good.

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Safe Travels-Peter and the Wolf
January 11, 2009, 12:54 pm
Filed under: The Best Song in the World | Tags: , ,


This song is such a sweet experience. I first heard in when I was living in the middle of nowhere, Massuchessets. In order to get out of our middle of nowhere town to a slightly larger town (that had a bookstore, for instance) we took these long winding East Coast roads in the staff car. I had just discovered Peter and the Wolf through the wild and unweildy powers of the interweb, and was surprised to find I actually liked them. This song has stood the test of time, now that I’m back sfae in my home city, with no staff car but a rad scooter!) and many new albums churned through my ipod.
My music taste goes back and forth, and definitely has some consistency of sad, acoustic songs, but Safe Travels has this sort of child-like, joyful twist that always makes me smile. Nothing like breaking the mold to prove that you are, after all, the best song in the world.

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Fire Snakes-Laura Veirs
January 9, 2009, 11:07 am
Filed under: The Best Song in the World | Tags: , ,

A beautiful recommendation from one of the best guys in the world, my good buddy at Big Heart Videos showed me all about Laura Veirs. I love this song for it’s opening. A song with a hooked opening is difficult to find–for me, often I only love a song after I’ve heard it a few times and get cozy in it’s notes. With “Fire Snakes,” Laura had me on the first note. Her voice is both haunting and tonally interesting. Her asthetic on the song has a great blend of classical violin and guitar and almost techo-mix style drums. Not only do I love the music for what it is, but also for being a successful, creative woman artist is always appreciated. For the funk, the depth, and the good ol’ beat, “Fire Snakes” is clearly rockin out as the best song in the world.

Have a Listen!

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Sovay-Andrew Bird
January 7, 2009, 10:48 am
Filed under: The Best Song in the World | Tags: , , ,

I discovered this song about six years ago. I’d heard of Andrew Bird because he was on Ani DiFranco’s music label and I was slightly obsessed with her at the time. I liked Andrew’s music, but there wasn’t much out there. Someone had put a scratchy, staticky live version of “Sovay” on Napster (man, weren’t those the days?) and I loved it. I listened to it all the time, tacking it onto every playlist I made, and loving the tones, guitar, soft swish of drums even amongst the harsh crackle of the live download. In the end, Andrew released this on his album “Andrew Bird and The Mysterious Production of Eggs,” and I got to has it distilled into a perfect, flawless version. At this point, my passion for this song has waned a little bit. I think it has to do with the clear, perfected recording as opposed to the song I was so delighted to download, hidden in my hard drive and scratching across my headphones like an old, treasured vinyl record. Either way, listening to it I can still feel those pangs of delight and that feeling of being part of a secret crowd. You would put you first love on a list of best things in the world, wouldn’t you? Even if you didn’t love her in that same way anymore, but you knew that, when you caught her eye, your heart would catch in your throat still, just for a second? Me too. And so is Sovay…the best song in the world, if not just for a nostalgic, peaceful memory. The sweet thing is, I managed to find a live version. Though I don’t think it’s the same one, I do know that it has that same sweet spice of before, at least a tinge. Have a Listen!

On another note, Jeffery Brown is one of my favorite comic book artists. One the other things I do in my life is draw comics (you can see some pretty pathetic attempts at http://www.everythingisholy.wordpress.com). Jeffery wrote an entire book about his depressing life at the time, set to different Andrew Bird albums. Since I clearly am no longer the only person who loves Andrew, I’m glad that the fan club at least has awesome people.

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Neighborhood 4 (7 Kettles)- The Arcade Fire
January 4, 2009, 11:34 am
Filed under: The Best Song in the World | Tags: ,

arcade-fire

This song has some deep power in it. When my nephew first got sick, I went to visit him in Southern California. In the Inland Empire, there are long stretches of road between everything. There’s no short jaunts–it’s wide, long stripes of pavement surrounded by desert and strip malls. I’ve already mentioned John Darnelle’s of The Mountain Goats wonderful articulation of the southern part of my homeland, but this song will always mean hot and dry Riverside, CA. This song was my salve on those long drives back and forth from the hospital. We went to visit my nephew, then came home to sit on the couch and play xbox or watch movies. Then we drove back. Then I came home to make smoothies, then drove back. Then I went to get coffee, and drove back. I listened to this song every time I got in the car. I knew that I would be indelibly marking this song with my nephew’s illness, but I didn’t care. Now, when I listen to it, it’s a chance for me to remember him, and think of that time. Things were different, but they were still so hard. At the beginning of that time, everything felt like those highways…long, endless, stretches into the horizon, with bare desert cupping me on either side.

Have a Listen!

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Baby Shark!!
January 2, 2009, 11:24 am
Filed under: The Best Song in the World

Well folks, while you’re reading this, I’m at camp! Don’t worry, I’ve left the blogging at home, but I had wordpress publish for me while I’m gone (thanks, computer robot!). In the joy of the rockin’ camp spirit, I get to tell you about the best song in the world, Baby Shark. This song is really so frickin’ awesome. It has the heart of camp spirit through and through, and tells a great story! I learned this song at morning sing my first year of camp, just a baby shark myself at 11 years old.  I loved camp more than anything in the world. My house would get the catalog of camp programs in January, and I would count down from there. Once there, for some reason we all had to go to the auditorium at 8am to do morning sing–I guess it was an old tradition. Some of the counselors would tell crazy stories (there was a “Real World” camp story for the whole summer one year), other times it would just be announcements, but it was almost always extra awesome. My favorite counselor taught us Baby Shark and now, here I am, a grown-up shark, teaching it to my bored, too-cool-for-school campers!

Since you really can’t get the rich flavor of this ingenious song without the hand gestures, I present to you a video! I watched a few different versions, but found the enthusiasm and seriousness of these dudes to be pretty prime. Rock on, baby shark!!

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Orange Sky- Alexi Murdoch
December 31, 2008, 9:49 am
Filed under: The Best Song in the World | Tags: , ,

Ah, this song is so sweet. I don’t even remember how I first heard it, but I do remember feeling so moved listening to it. Something about the way he sings, “Brother, you know you know/ It’s a long road we’ve been walking on/Brother you know it is you know it is/Such a long road we’ve been walking on . . .” that has a ring to the journey that most of us find familiar. Since I apparently think all my favorite songs are secretly about God, I gotta say Alexi hits it home with his chorus, “my salvation is in your love . . .”. Again, who knows if this is secret Christian infiltration, but my salvation is in love, so I guess it’s cool.

As a side note,  this song has apparently been used on the T.V. show “The O.C.” which I’ve heard is a little trashy, but I haven’t seen it so I can’t really judge. The point is that song is super cool, no matter what context. Maybe it’s because it’s 9 in the morning and I spent most of this morning waiting for an invisible bus in the freezing, freezing cold, but I guess this will be a bit of a brief post. I don’t want to short you, Alexi, but I don’t think I even could. After all, this is the best song in the world.

Have a Listen!

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