The Best Song in the World


Pink Moon-Nick Drake
January 16, 2009, 3:08 pm
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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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Sovay-Andrew Bird
January 7, 2009, 10:48 am
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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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Orange Sky- Alexi Murdoch
December 31, 2008, 9:49 am
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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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Hard Time Killin’ Floor Blues-Kelly Joe Phelps
December 30, 2008, 6:25 pm
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Man, can this guy play guitar! I was introduced to Kelly Joe Phelps by my best friend (who will be on this site soon) in his dimly lit Seattle apartment, which I always am drawn back to when I hear his songs. Something about the overstuffed arm chair, coffee, ashtrays, and dirty boots seems a very fitting setting to accompany Kelly’s song and style. I first heard this song and it stuck with me for months. I remember I came back to Seattle quite almost half a year later and spent a good part of my afternoon trying to describe this song until my buddy put Lead Me On in his CD player. Finally, I was returned to peace and joy with the tunes of Kelly Joe Phelps.

KJP has a friggin’ sweet voice, with a mixture of sweet and gravely, and his guitar matches that talent. I love this song because it encompasses everything there is to love about Kelly and his music: a yearning, honest, cracking voice, incredible lyrics, and devilish guitar to tie it together. I love this song so much because of the weight and soul he brings to his lyrics. Granted, it’s a cover which is possibly cheating for my standards, but I’m not sure yet. Regardless, Hard Time Killin’ Floor Blues’ ache, tone, and guitar composition renders it the best song in the world for many times to come.

I could only find a live extended version–but maybe you’ll like it more.

Have a Listen!

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Seven Swans-Sufjan Stevens
December 25, 2008, 3:00 pm
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Before Sufjan Stevens became famous for claiming, and at this point, possibly never completing his 50 states project, he was still a friggin’ amazing musician. I once read an interview with him claiming that he didn’t like his voice very much in his early work, since it was so highlighted it with bare guitar and piano. Though I dig the anthemic, multi-orchestral music of “Illinois” and even “Michigan” as much as the next guy, Sufjan does not need bells and whistles (or trumpets and tubas) to make his work rock your socks.
This is a long ode, so hear the song and read Continue reading



San Bernadino-The Mountain Goats
December 19, 2008, 5:41 pm
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Oh, goodness. This song is so beautiful. The Mountain Goats is John Darnell, a true indie artist if there ever is one. His original work was recorded on casettes in his home, and people still buy and love it (and not just to be cool). He is not even that cool as a person! No shag, no tight pants–in fact, he’s sort of old! But this guy knows about music.

San Bernardino employs the skill of rock violin (also deftly emulated here), and tells a lovely story about some folks giving birth to a baby in a motel. The eternal question of this song, of course, is why do they get in their car to drive to a motel to deliver the baby, but it’s worth it even if their sole purpose was for John Darnell to write them a song. It also talks about San Bernardino which always deserves a little love, the desolate, patchy desert land that it is. John grew up in So. Cal, and he’s done some good work tossing some love to the deserted, craggly areas of the coast that Hollywood tries so hard to erase.

So, good music, good story, and some good healing powers my way. Earlier this year I had surgery and I was scared, and tired, and full of this insane grape-flavored juice that was supposed to clear me out in a very uncomfortable way. My mouth only tasted of grape and bubbles and it was four in the f-ing morning. This song was on from the waiting room to the surgery and through it and really, truly allowed me not to freak out. A good song comforts you, uplifts you, entertains you, and warms you–but only the best song in the world keeps your heart steady in the face of fear.

San Bernardino, everybody.  Not just a crappy town no more.

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Finch on Saturday-Horse Feathers
December 16, 2008, 10:00 am
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I had a hard time deciding which song to pick for this post! I have been mightily enjoying Horse Feathers, so much so that there were three songs I was considering for this post. However, I haven’t been enjoying them in one of those collapsing-on-the-sidewalk-in-a puddle-of-rapture-resembling-an-orgasm, so I was also considering not posting about them at all. Goodness, you say, are you sure you can claim one of their songs is the best song in the world?

Look, you guys, I’m not messing around here. I have a serious reputation to uphold, and extremely strident standards. I’m not just going to grab any old song and by like, yeah, whatever, this is probably good enough for that thing I put on the internet. No, my friends. I assure you, never.

ANYWAY, about Finch on Saturday. Violins are pretty much awesome, but rare, in good alternative rock music. Horse Feathers seems to be bluegrass style, the sort of music that occassionally includes jug as both a wine carrier and percusive instrument. Their violin is probably called fiddle in the liner notes. It’s great. For me though, the sealed deal is the line “Give your tongue to God/Sunday sing . . .” I’ve read the lyrics for a few of their songs and am curious if they are Christian leaning (Google told me nothing, except that Horsefeathers is a common gospel book), but I concluded that they are more story-based. That is, the songs tell a fiction from a character’s voice rather than the artists’ opinion. The point is, Horse Feather wrote  a suspicously good line about God and I think I trust them. Gave me a shiver.

Plus, write a song like that that includes the saw as an instrument? Possibly the best song in the world.

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