I admit, I have been mooning about lately, so perhaps my present list of the moment – the current top songs on my own list, which I compile periodically – is not to be completely trusted.
That said, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t at least try some of these songs. Unless they are way out of your genre (so far that you couldn’t crawl home), then I think, why not give it a shot?
Without any more stalling, here is my list of the moment:
“Je Reviens” by Autour de Lucie – This song just flows through the lips. It has an ever-present French pout about it, and a slight whispering quality that makes this glide out of the speakers soft as baby powder hitting your face. It’s like a very gentle breath blown by a lover on the ear. This song seems perfect for anyone having or wishing to have an affair, for the newly involved or for those lucky few who remain in love despite the many years that go by. Suffice to say, I think this an incredibly romantic, but also sexual/sensual song. See if you can find it and give it a quick listen.
“Ne Me Quitte Pas” by Sting – This is a great cover of a truly romantic song. One not need understand the words to understand that the song is a heartfelt plea (the title, “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” means “Don’t Leave Me” in French). Many versions of this song are available for download, but this one is the best – and who can beat Sir Sting?
“Desert Rose” (Arabic Remix) by Sting – I admit to liking the original, and yes, I know this isn’t a new song, in fact, not many on this list are new. But the List of the Moment is simply what I am listening to most. The Arabic Remix features more of Cheb Khalid, who is doing the Arabic singing, and it’s just beautiful. Like the original, but better. I can practically hear camel bells in the distance.
“Heroin” by Lou Reed - What can I say? Old though it is, this 1974 song still has incredible guts and amazing lines (“it’s my life and it’s my wife…”) and so many other great lines, too many to list. What’s more, it’s honest, probably the most honest song I’ve ever heard about addiction. “Heroin” is completely unapologetic, which in this case is good. Reminds me of Kurt Cobain’s “Lithium” in some ways.
“She’s in Fashion” by Suede – This is like the new version of the Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls” (which I also love). This song has such great style. It sounds like what they are singing about, which is quite a cool trick. I highly recommend you find a copy of this song.
“Thirteen” by Big Star – Why did I ever put that CD aside? I just heard a cover of this tune by the late Elliott Smith and so wanted to hear the original again (Big Star are just a generally amazing band). I listened to the whole album, but this song always sticks. Sweet, a backward glance. And I’ll throw in here “Alex Chilton” by the Replacements, which makes reference to Big Star and is also an amazing song.
“Why’d Ya Do It” by Marianne Faithfull – I have never heard an angrier song about infidelity; for this reason, it makes the list. If you don’t know it, find it. The song is vicious and so worthwhile – it says everything I would say in that situation were I in it. That’s saying a lot – it’s pretty serious. Try a sample if you can’t find it to download, or just trust me and go buy the album Broken English.
“All My Life” by Evan Dando – Ah, one of my favorite artists! Dando also did the song “Hard Drive,” which made another of my lists. “All My Life” is as good as “Hard Drive,” if not better. It’s a sad song, no question, because all the things he thought he wanted he didn’t want at all. You can probably listen to a clip of this at Amazon. It’s from the album, Baby, I’m Bored.
“Hallellujah” by Jeff Buckley – I’ve heard various renditions of this song, even one by Bob Dylan that I absolutely loved. Of course, there’s the orginal by Leonard Cohen, which nobody can really beat, but Jeff Buckley’s version is especially poignant. It’s ethereal and dreamy as if it were sung under water. Eerily enough, Buckley recorded “Hallelujah” for his 1994 LP Grace, which turned out to be his last studio album before his drowning death in 1997. Regardless of that sad fact, this version could make angels weep – it’s that beautiful and that mournful. I know that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement – rush out and buy a depressing piece of music! – but trust me, this is a beautiful, beautiful song, as is “Everybody Here Wants You” from the same album. Check out both of these list-makers.
“Harley David (Son of a Bitch)” by Serge Gainsbourg – A Frenchman singing “Eh, qu’est c’que tu fais sur ma Harley…” is pretty hard to beat. It’s funny, especially given that it’s coming from Gainsbourg. who is usually so self-serious. Maybe he intended this to be serious too. The joke is on someone, though I’m not sure who. Better than “Je t’aime moi non plus,” which is good, but gets tiring after several plays.
“Cigarettes Will Kill You” by Ben Lee – Great lyrics and a great piano key. The main refrain, “And I want a TV embrace…” Me too. A perfect song. It’s that simple.
“See a Little Light” by Bob Mould – Reminiscent in some ways of his ’80s band Hüsker Dü, but still all Mould’s own. Uplifting and harder, but still right on the money. This is a good one. If you haven’t heard it yet – do.
“Heaven” by the Rolling Stones - Flowing and perfect. I would even say it’s one of my favorites, but then, there are so many.
“Answering Bell” by Ryan Adams – I love this song. It has a great ringing quality to it and is so different from the album that followed (Heartbreaker, though there is much to love on there, especially “To Be Young”). “Answering Bell” features great lyrics and it’s memorable. When a song stays in your head that long, or comes back, it has some special something or it’s really annoying. I don’t find this one annoying. I find it pretty great.
And of course, we can’t have a list without Bob Dylan – so the song of the moment for the Bob count is:
“Can’t Leave Her Behind” - This hard-to-find work-in-progress was never released officially by Dylan, was only available as a bootleg until recently. Not sure exactly how I came to have a copy, but you can hear it on Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed Dylan documentary No Direction Home. This unfinished song is a beautiful work; that it was recorded in a hotel room (back in 1966) takes nothing away from it. I can’t imagine why he didn’t release it.
So that’s the list of the moment of the songs I’ve been listening to. It may not be contemporary, but it’s where my head is.
This collection, like anything, is so changeable that I update the List of the Moment pretty regularly. Next installment to follow when things change.