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Songs That Touch My Soul – And Other Places

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We all have them, songs that seem to speak right to that secret place in your soul –- sometimes secret even from you. They flow into you, through you, whirling, swirling around until they completely surround a tiny spot deep down inside of you. And then they never leave. They can grow and occasionally fester in you like an open wound, or they can heal you, fill you up, and inspire you.

Many times they don’t even reflect your normal musical tastes. They can be shameful secrets that you keep from family and friends (in my case it’s Janet Jackson), sneaking listens when no one is home or when you’re alone in your car. You feel like a drug addict craving your next fix. Thank jebus for MP3 players, the syringe for those suffering with this affliction.

Well I have decided to own my dirty little secrets – and some of them are very dirty. I’m even going to own those that aren’t dirty little secrets. This is my list of some of the songs that speak to me in ways (and places) no person can (or has yet).

In no particular order:

"Unwritten" – Natasha Bedingfield

This is about writing and about being unwritten, something I have always felt I am. It also uses a phrase that echoes something I have said for years (long before the song’s release in August 2005), “Feel the rain on your skin/ No one else can feel it for you.” It has always been my ambition to write to make people feel the rain on their skin. It also has a musical quality that lends itself to belly dancing, and as a belly dancer that appeals to me. How could I not love this song?

"I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)" – Sandi Thom

I know it’s not been out long, but it only takes once to get hooked you know. I don’t know if it’s the Joni Mitchell-style lyrics and vocals or the addictive clapping that do it for me. Or maybe it’s that I grew up a punk/goth in the 80’s in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hard to imagine, I know, but Mormons tend to look the other way when they see something they don’t like or understand and that allows Salt Lake to have a vibrant and thriving counterculture. It wasn’t a bad place to grow up and this song brings some of that back for me.

"Turbulence" – The Working Title

This song is a new one that I first heard when I reviewed The Working Titles new CD About Face. This song actually touches more than my soul. In fact it touches me in a different region altogether. It makes me weak at the knees and quite…sticky.

"Holding Out for A Hero" – Frou Frou

Yes it’s the song originally sung by 80’s poodle-perm diva Bonnie Tyler. This song appears on the Shrek 2 soundtrack and is, for me anyway, only magical when preformed by Frou Frou. Maybe it’s Imogen Heap’s vocal stylings that do it for me. Or maybe it’s because the lyrics “It's gonna take a superman to sweep me off my feet” and “I can feel his approach like fire in my blood” really appeal to me.

"Smooth" – Santana feat. Rob Thomas

It’s not just the Latin beat, which of course does appeal to the dancer in me, but the fabulous guitar and Rob Thomas’s throaty, raw, sexual vocals that make me feel tingly all over.

"Jolene" – Dolly Parton/The White Stripes

I prefer the White Stripes version with the heavier rock guitar and Jack Whites amazing vocals, but I also adore Dolly. I think this song appeals to me because I have “Flaming locks of auburn hair” and “eyes of emerald green.” It’s like my own personal anthem.

"Too Lost In You" – Sugababes

It’s my first dirty little secret. But it’s just that I want to feel this way about someone. And I want someone to feel this way about me. Is that really so wrong?!

"Pure Morning" – Placebo

I love Brian Molko’s whiny, scratchy, and distinctive voice. His voice is the reason I watched the movie Velvet Goldmine. Ewan McGregor’s penis is the reason I kept watching and eventually bought the DVD, but it was Brian first. And although I know this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, Placebo’s best song, it’s the one that got in.

"London Rain" – Heather Nova

A lovely upbeat song about coming home from a long trip, wrapping yourself in your lover’s arms and shagging like mad. What’s not to like?!

"Call The Ships To Port" – Covenant

*shrug* I love Covenant! They create fabulous gothic, electronic, industrial music. And it makes me want to dance!

"Feelin’ Love" – Paula Cole

Maybe it’s Paula’s fantastic voice or lyrics that include lines like “you make me feel like the Amazon’s running between my thighs” and “You make me feel like I want to be a dumb blonde in a centrefold/ The girl next door/ And I would open the door and I'd be all wet/ With my tits soaking through this tiny little t-shirt that I'm wearing/ And you would open the door / And tie me up to the bed.”

Umm…Yes please…let’s do that! Any volunteers?

It also doesn’t hurt that the entire end of the song (which is two and a half minutes) seems to be one long, amazing orgasm that she is just trying to keep singing through.

"When we Oooo" – Janet Jackson

Yes I know. I’m so ashamed. But my dirty little secret doesn’t end with this song. Oh no. My betrayal goes much deeper. I really like Janet Jackson songs. I can’t help it! It’s not my fault! It’s just that I’m a very naughty girl and Janet sings to that side of me like no one else can.

"Jessie’s Girl" – Rick Springfield

I was 11-years-old when this was released. Rick Springfield's was the first “rock” concert I ever went to (and the only one with my mother). More than that I can’t offer, I just love this song! I believe it may be a sickness. They say admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

This is by no means the end of my list. It’s just the end of my list for now. It’s been emotionally draining and I need a lie down and a cup of tea.

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About A.L. Harper

  • Scott Butki

    I dig this piece. Will there be a sequel of more songs that make you feel naughty?

  • These aren’t just songs that make me feel naughty… Well ok lets face it almost everything makes me feel naughty.

    And yes there will be a sequel.

    Thanks Scott!

  • Rick Springfield was my first concert too! I was 9, also with my mother….and I was sooooo in love with him.

  • Me too! I thought he was the hottest man on earth! Boy was I wrong!

  • Steve

    Well, I have three of the songs on this list, A.L. (“…Hero”, “Jessie’s Girl”, “Too Lost In You”) with different songs by some of the other artists (Janet Jackson, Natasha…, Santana, Rob Thomas, Placebo). Not familiar with the rest though I had heard Sandi was #1 in the UK at the moment, the first #1 signed to a label primarily through her own internet promotion…the start of a trend methinks.
    Thanks for sharing, A.L., I reckon you are about a year younger than me.

  • Steve
    I’m 36 later this year so that would make you 36/37 right? What Placebo song has touched your soul?

    Sandi Thom is the first to be signed because of her online presence that I’m aware of. She is very Joni Mitchell only with a modern twist. She won’t be the last to make it this way though. There are so many talented artists out there. Lets hope it works for us writers too.

  • Steve

    Well, A.L., I just turned 37 in the last month or so, so I guess we’re about 18 months apart then.

    Re. Placebo, though I knew it was in my collection, I had forgotten what it sounded like (it was part of your UK NOW compilation series that I have it from).

    So I listened to it again (called “Nancy Boy”), and realised I had only listened to the beginning of it, and had switched it off for the reason that it had a real punk sound to it, which I’ve always hated, ever since it started in the 70’s.

    Listening to the lyrics now, I hadn’t realised the contents of the song were of a somewhat sexual nature, but for me, music is key with a song, if I don’t like the music, the lyrics could be wonderful and I still wont want to listen to the song lol. So, in other words, I guess their song didn’t ‘touch my soul’, as you put it.

    I honestly don’t look for songs with sexual themes myself, being a guy, I don’t find that side needs that much provoking really!!

    Though I do have a bunch of songs that might ‘touch my soul’ in other ways. But I need to get some sleep right now lol.

  • Steve

    I’m not very fond of Nancy Boy either.

    Pure Morning on the other hand is the song that touched my soul, and there is nothing naughty about it.

    Also I would like to note that I don’t look for songs with a sexual theme either. They just seem to catch my attention more than other songs do. But then I’m a highly sexual person and most things that I do are an expression of that. And if some of the songs that have touched my soul are of a sexual in nature that would be why.