"Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song)," Warren Zevon
Pop/rock music is filled with references to football and baseball, but hockey references are few and far between. In fact, I'm hard pressed to think of another song that makes use of the Canucks' national pastime -- much less one written and performed by an American. I didn't become a Zevon fan until after his passing, and when I did, I gravitated to the indie work he wrote later in his career. This is easily my favorite. Using playing hockey -- more specifically, playing the part of hockey goon -- as a metaphor for life, Zevon wonderfully captured the dichotomy between doing what you have to for a living and getting to do what you really love -- even if it's just for one glorious moment.
"Hold On Hope," Guided by Voices
The third song on this list I fell in love with thanks to Scrubs. I make no apologies for the fact that when I'm in depressed, upset, dour or otherwise in some sort of funk, I embrace music that fits and/or enhances that mood. In the immediate aftermath of the end of my first marriage, this was a giant go-to song for me during that period. Yet, while the melody, musical structure and, yes, the lyrics have plenty in common with the type of music I typically listen to when depressed, I used it as an inspirational song at those moments when the only thing I wanted was to crawl into a hole and completely shut out the world around me.
"If I Fell," The Beatles
If you knew me around the time of my freshman year of college, you might be surprised to find out that there are only three songs by the Fab Four on this list. As I said back when I started this project, this isn't a list of what I think are the best songs ever -- this is a list of the songs that I enjoy listening to the most. While I understand why people gravitate toward the band's material from the second half of the decade and appreciate the arrangements and complexities of those songs, I actually prefer The Beatles' less produced, earlier material -- especially when it comes to the love songs.
"In My Life," The Beatles
How the hell did Lennon write this song at just the age of 25? This is not the type of song a 25-year-old should be writing. The lyrics and the way they're sung suggest a level of life experience belonging to someone far older, and the older I get, the more I find myself enjoying this song.
"Intergalactic," Beastie Boys
"Like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock." How can a sci-fi geek not love a song that contains that line? Extra bonus points for the video, which contains segments that looks like something the crew of Mystery Science Theater should be mocking. What's really amazing to me is that as much as I've heard this song over the past 15 years -- it's included in a couple of the playlists I listen to while using the elliptical motion machine at the gym -- I still associate it somewhat with the summer and fall of the year it came out and am still occasionally reminded of what an exciting time that it was for me.