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What do Johnny Cash, Tears for Fears and Leonard Cohen have in common? They are on the list.

The Five Songs Most On My Mind This Week

I have been reading Sadi’s List of the Moments and decided to offer up my own variation, picking five songs on my mind each week and elaborating on why I picked what I did.

This week’s list:
1 – “Mad World” by Tears for Fears. I have always loved this song and used to sing it all the time. (Well, mouth it really, since I have little musical ability). My interest in the song was re-ignited by the excellent acoustic cover of it used in the brilliant movie Donnie Darko, as Wikipedia explains.
Check out these great lyrics:

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had

2 – “Hallelujah” – I like both the Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley versions of this song, which also has amazing lyrics. As Wikipedia describes there are multiple versions of the song — including two versions by Cohen — with varying lyrics. It’s so sad that Buckley died so young. And whether his death was a suicide, like his musician father’s suicide before him, or accidental, he is someone who had so much talent and promise.
From Buckley’s version:

Well, maybe there’s a god above
but all i’ve ever learned from love
was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
it’s not a cry that you hear at night
it’s not somebody who’s seen the light
it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

3 – “I Chalk” by Justin Roberts. This song is my favorite on his children’s music album, which I reviewed previously. It is from his new album, Meltdown!
Sample lyric:

Outside our house, the neighbors just gawk (or maybe not)
Why can’t they see there’s a museum on our block
All the grown ups they just stand around and talk I chalk
I ch-ch-ch chalk
Sister and me, drew dragons and kings (with tiny wings)
While all the grown ups talked about their grown up things
I drew a monster’s door and made sure it was locked I chalk
I ch-ch-ch chalk

4 – “World Destruction” by John Lydon and by Afrika Bambaataa. I listed this song on my “Best Disturbing Songs” list because of its lyrics and
yet it’s a song I enjoyed dancing to in high school. That and “White Lines” and ABC and Pet Shop Boys — anything else and I’d go hold up the wall.
I have been thinking about this song as I consider my opinion of the Sex Pistols. While to me, the Sex Pistols seemed so manufactured, Lydon — aka Johnny Rotten — and his band, Public Image Limited, have put out some great songs.

An excerpt:

This is a world destruction, your life ain’t nothing.
The human race is becoming a disgrace.
Countries are fighting with chemical warfare.
Not giving a damn about the people who live there.
Nostradamus predicts the coming of the Antichrist.
Hey, look out, the third world nations are on the rise.
The Democratic-Communist Relationship,
won’t stand in the way of the Islamic force.

5- “The Man in Black” by Johnny Cash. I’m a big fan of Cash, as I wrote about in a review of some of his concert videos. And for a great piece on Cash, read another one by Richard Marcus.

In this 1971 song, he explains that he wears black as a way to remind the audience of those in America who are disadvantaged and those sent off to die in wars.

I want to close this with some of the lyrics to his song:

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there’s a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he’s a victim of the times…

About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been working in mental health for the last ten years. He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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