Top 5 Favourite Songs EVER

Okay, so I was watching High Fidelity last night, hence the “Top 5” theme of this post. I love that movie. I have to admit I have not read the book and I probably should. I am sure it’s very good, but I love the movie so, with the hangdog, sloppy John Cusack’s Rob, and the brilliant Marvin Gaye turn by Jack Black, and even the uber-creepy Ian of Tim Robbins. I like it set in Chicago. I like Joannie coming in and shrieking “Asshole!” at her brother (which I am sure was like growing up, even though it is part of the script between Liz and Rob, it just seems like a fight in the Cusack household would be.) So I kinda don’t want it, well not SPOILED exactly, but certainly coloured differently by the novelist’s pen.

I also need to go seek out other versions of this movie. This one I got for Christmas from the Big Damn Hero, who nurtures my eternal love of Johnny Cu because, hey, he’s a guy’s guy who makes cool movies, and b) you gotta respect a guy who can kick your as soon as look at you. (Big Damn Hero LIKES that Cusack is a kickboxer. He thinks that is VERY cool. ) This version of the movie has some interviews with John Cusack and with Stephen Frears, the director, which are pretty good. But I want the version that has a bunch of — outtakes, maybe? — that have John Cusack and Jack Black and Todd Louiso sitting around doing top 5 lists. It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty funny.

I am a music fanatic. I admit it. Partly this comes from my father, and partly from a lifetime (well, 25 years) of watching John Cusack films. BDH laughed during the movie that I was NOT sitting around writing down every stinking song they mentioned to go and download.

So, yeah. The top 5 list. Okay, so in keeping with the High Fidelity theme, I decided to post a top five list. The movie’s full of them. And I have spent most of my life making top 5 lists of things so why the hell not? Also, because this is favourite songs, it is subject to change at any moment. There’s not some immutable criteria that these are judged by or anything. It’s subject to whim. Deal.

Top 5 Favourite Songs EVER, in no particular order
1. Roxanne — The Police
My love affair with The Police goes back to the very first notes I heard off Outlandos D’Amour. Brilliance. I was surprised my father could tolerate the endless playings of each and every song off each and every album throughout my teenage years. He also let me go to the Police Picnic, the original music festival road show, predating Lollapalooza and the others, in 1983. I begged to go to the first two, and finally when I was 15 he let me go. It was the closest I have ever come to screaming like the Beatles were coming. It was one of my Best. Days. Ever.

2. Rush — Big Audio Dynamite
What, choosing a song by a post-Clash band and not one of the originals, you say? Blashphemy. Well, I was a teenager when the Clash was big, and teenagers love to dance. It’s not that I did not have a deep and abiding love for the Clash. I did. I cried when Joe Strummer died. But this was something fun, something we could dance to, and it was everywhere during our bar-hopping days. It makes me grin to this day, makes me feel like saying “screw you all” and bolting for greener pastures. Situation no win, rush for a change of atmosphere….

3. Into Temptation — Crowded House
Sexy, sultry song of forbidden lust. Who knew the boys who brought us Six Months in a Leaky Boat (well, give or take a few years and members) would come up with something so gorgeous and hot? Neil Finn listed this song as his favourite among all he has written in an interview he did a few years back. I can see why.

4. Sometimes (Lester Piggott) — James
I don’t know what it is about this song — the jangly guitars, the fabulous imagery, Tim Booth’s voice of an angel — that appeals to me so much. Maybe it’s a combination of the three. I grow to love James more and more with each song I discover. This one is full of good memories for me — it was playing as I was driving to see my first niece on the day she was born. I just never fail to be buoyed by this song, every time I hear it.

5. Friday I’m in Love — The Cure
Oh, YEAH, like there wasn’t going to be a Cure song in this list. RIIIIIGHT. My love for Robert Smith’s turns of phrase, his catchy, beautiful melodies, the visual poetry created in my mind’s eye every time I hear a Cure song — it was tough to choose just one. And which one. Lovesong is gorgeous. The various, interesting remixes of Close to Me pulse with sex and danger. But this one, this one for me is one of the greatest pure “pop” songs ever written (and not “pop” as in the bastardization of modern music currently in the top forty — “pop” as in the brilliant combinations of melody and lyric that were practiced by the likes of Lennon and McCartney, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello…) This is an upbeat, jangly, sunny piece of pop music at it’s finest.

Man. I love Top 5 lists. There are so many. Top 5 Best Love Songs. Top 5 Best Breeding Music. Top 5 Songs to Exorcise a Bad Day. Top 5 Most Danceable Tracks.

But those are for another day.