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Hall of Songs, Outer Circle: Part 1

In case you missed it, "Hall of Songs" is the new name for the list of my 100 120 all-time favorite songs. Rather than just list them, I thought I'd try to post a little about each song. I'll be working my way up to the all-time favorites. Given the frequency of posting, it will almost certainly take a while to go through the whole list, but at least it gives me ready-made material when I'm otherwise at a loss for something to write about.

One final note before beginning the countdown. As I've explained previously, the songs are in three groups: inner circle, no-doubters, and outer circle. Within each of these three groupings, the songs are purely listed alphabetically -- for instance, there's no attempt to delineate song #71 from song #120 in the outer circle. So, without further ado, it's time to begin with the songs in the outer circle...

"Action Hero," Fountains of Wayne

In order to make sure that the songs really stood the test of time, I tried to avoid placing newer material into the Hall of Songs, though I wasn’t always adamant about this. This particular song has been something of a rarity for me over the past 5-10 years; I fell in love with it immediately upon my first listening. I actually dare any dad to listen to the lyrics and not tear-up just a little bit. How can you not? Any truly involved, caring dad (at least the geek dads) sees himself as an action hero of sorts -- you have no choice but to relate.

"Am I Wrong," Love Spit Love

By the time the mid '90s rolled around, college was winding down and I was already listening to the radio far less. In fact, if it hadn't been for the movie Angus, an incredibly underrated 1995 teen comedy, I probably never would have encountered this song. I was particularly surprised when I found out that the Angus soundtrack included a version of the song that includes the marching band backing track that was added for the film's opening title sequence. I have a thing for moody, introspective songs -- something that will become readily apparent as this list unfolds.

"Birdhouse in Your Soul," They Might Be Giants

I love They Might Be Giants, although admittedly nowhere near as much as TeenLitGirl loves them. However, over the course of this project I realized that sometimes a favorite band doesn't necessary produce your all-time favorite songs. When I came up with my first list of 550 songs I considered for my Hall of Songs, it contained eight TMBG songs. Yet, this was the only one to make my final cut. Favorite line: "Though I respect that a lot/I'd be fired if that were my job/After killing Jason off/And countless screaming Argonauts." Who hasn't contemplated a job they were incredibly unqualified for?

"Book of Love," Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel - The Book of Love (LIVE) by Qello

Like a large number of songs that I list amongst my favorites, I first encountered this particular one on an episode of Scrubs. I sincerely doubt if I will ever know if my love of the show positively influenced my impression of any song I heard on Scrubs, but I can honestly say that it certainly seemed like my musical taste was regularly in synch with the people who made the creative decisions regarding song choices. The song was played in the last scene of what I considered the finale of the last real season of the show (I choose to act like the 9th season never happened) and I teared up like a little kid with a badly skinned knee that first time. Hell, I teared up on subsequent viewings of that sequence. TeenLitGirl prefers the original version by The Magnetic Fields.

"Broken Wings," Mister Mister

Ah, yes, my teen years -- full of angst, moodiness and feeling like I don't fit in anywhere in the world I inhabited. I know, this is actually a common state for most teens, but it's also a state in which I've frequently dwelt as an adult. I wasn't mature enough to fully appreciate the lyrics, but the sound/feel of the song and chorus certainly spoke to me as a teen -- as one who yearned to fly away to a better place. That teen version of me that's buried under two decades of adult experience still manages to sometimes stir when I hear this song -- especially now that I've experienced an emotional state that was nearly identical to the one expressed in this song.

Part 2 of the list goes online tomorrow night.



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Feb. 10th, 2013 02:07 am (UTC)
FYI - I will be using your list as a way to find new-to-me music!
Feb. 10th, 2013 02:13 am (UTC)
Cool. By the way, I plan on continuing to provide links for each of the songs so that you can hear them in their entirety before deciding on whether to add them to your collection.
Feb. 10th, 2013 02:23 am (UTC)
So far, so good. I actually haven't gotten my hands on Sky Full of Holes yet, and I need to rectify that. Looking forward to listening to that track. I will say that I hear so many people go gaga over the Peter Gabriel cover of The Book of Love, and I just don't get it. (To me) it lacks all of the emotion and power of the original and comes across as flat and nearly monotone. But, to each his own. The song is gorgeous and amazing, regardless. Also, hats off to Birdhouse and Broken Wings.
Feb. 10th, 2013 02:26 am (UTC)
Like I said, it's very possible that Scrubs completely colored my impression of the song -- I heard Gabriel's version a few times before hearing the original, and it had the benefit of being linked to the finale of a show I loved. Things might have worked differently had I heard the original Magnetic Fields version first, but, alas, I'll never know.
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