The Best Song in the World


Safe Travels-Peter and the Wolf
January 11, 2009, 12:54 pm
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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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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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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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Ragoo—Kings of Leon
December 18, 2008, 6:07 pm
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Ragoo might be my original BSITW. If such a song is determined by deep moving of the heart, healing powers, and desire to listen non-stop for several days at a time, Ragoo is it. I discovered it the week my beautiful nephew died of cancer, and kept it linked into my ear canal for three days straight—no exaggeration this time. For some reason, the bass line, vocals, and lyrics just soothed me. I don’t actually love King of Leon’s other songs that much which is unfortunate—then I’d get to have a new favorite band—but Ragoo is enough for me to forever glorify them.

On a funny note, unlike Horse Feathers (as I questioned earlier this week) King of Leon’s subtly Christian tendencies are actual Christian tendencies—their father was a traveling Pentecostal preacher. United Pentecostal Church is the stereotype of all raging Southern churches, with the spittle-flicking, white-suited preacher warning of eeee-tah-nal damm-nashen! I’m pretty sure their song “True Love Ways” is a ballad to abstinence (which I have some serious raised eyebrows toward) but if they are talking to Jesus every day as they claim and being rockstars, I’m hoping they’re mystical or creative enough to be slightly progressive.
Thank you for this song, Kings of Leon. Especially during that week, but continually to this day, this truly is the best song in the world.

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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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Skinny Love—Bon Iver
December 15, 2008, 8:48 am
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boniver
This pretty awesome blog gave me tip-off to Bon Iver (which is greatly appreciated, awesome blog!) For a week, I’ve listened to this album non-stop, and Skinny Love is easily the best song in the world.

Apparently Bon Iver/ Justin Vernon locked himself up in some shack in the boonies and then came out with this album. When I imagine that, it’s like he and all these songs were locked in a fighting cage, circling each other, both sort of frothy and googly-eyed. Either Justin would tame them into a brilliant, heart-breaking package or the songs would come out triumphant, Justin a limp, music-less skin bag. Bets were made, cheers were shouted, and eventually people just sat quietly, exhausted, waiting to see who would pass out first. Anyway, Bon Iver won! which is pretty good because I don’t know what the songs would’ve done with his lifeless body in the middle of the Pennsylvania woods. Something we don’t even have to think about.

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