Consider yourselves lucky because I was about this close to embedding a video of Julie Andrews belting out "A Few of My Favorite Things," but I vomited up my lower intestine in the process. While I always like to see how far I can push all of you before you come running with pitchforks and torches, that was a bit much, even for me.
But there really is a reason for this treacley trip into pure falseness, I swear. See, I’ve been pondering the notion of favorites lately. While on a recent Dostoevsky binge I pretty much cemented what I’ve always kinda subconsciously known: dude’s probably my favorite writer and The Brothers Karamazov is probably my favorite book. Probably. For right now.
I’ve never been the kind of person who has a favorite band or favorite song. In fact, sitting here typing this right now I couldn’t tell you what my favorite band is. Napalm Death? I own more albums by them than anyone else in my collection. Discordance Axis? Certainly one of my most played. Dead Kennedys? Probably been consistently listening to them longer than anyone else.
But I can’t seem to pin it down because my mood will shift and I'll go endlessly listen to something else instead. I recently destroyed Who's My Saviour for about three weeks straight. That seems to be the key. I have a lot of favorite bands and a ton of favorite songs. It just depends on what mood you catch me in. So dragging together 20 or so of my favorite songs into a bizarre musical biography for shits and giggles, I was struck by what those moods say about me. First, I realize just how much of a sucker I am for songs with high, piercing, ringing guitar tones in them. (Note to bands who ask for reviews: I’m a sucker for high, piercing, ringing guitars tones; include those in your song and I’ll probably drool over myself writing a review.)
That wasn’t much of a surprise, but the emotional content of those songs. I consider myself a fairly phlegmatic person; not much ever really bothers me. So why do so many of my favorite songs deal with anxiety, unease, confusion and dislocation. Based on this playlist, it’s like I’m some moody Twilight emo boy. Pink Floyd’s tempus fugit anthem “Time,” Jesu’s anxiety-riddled “Tired of Me” and the Weakerthan’s charmingly awkward “This is a Fire Door Never Leave Open” don’t do much to bolster my self-image. Even Bad Religion’s fuck the world fireball “Do What You Want” smacks of overcompensating bravado now. Then there’s the moments of transcendent beauty: close your eyes when Anneke van Giersbergen sings “deprive of sleep/we jump into the deep” on “Great Ocean Road.” If the note she hits on the word “deep” doesn’t send shivers through your soul, then you’re probably not breathing. In fact, that should be the standard gom jabbar to separate humanity from plankton and idiots who wear Tapout shirts. And though they may be a doddering joke now, the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” never fails to get to me.
And just to keep you from pulling my tr00 card, Sepultura’s “Mass Hypnosis” from the greatest thrash album ever: Beneath the Remains.
So now I’m curious: what is your favorite band or song and why? How can you narrow it down to just one , and what do you think your choice says about you?
Meanwhile, feel free to psychoanalyze my choices here.
Discordance Axis – “Castration Rite”
Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”
His Hero is Gone – “Like Weeds”
The Gathering – “Great Ocean Road”
Pink Floyd – “Time”
Jesu – “Tired of Me”
Sepultura – “Mass Hypnosis”
Helmet – “Sinatra”
Botch – “C. Thomas Howell as the ‘Soul Man’”
Weakerthans – “This is a Fire Door Never Leave Open”
Clash – “Spanish Bombs”
Dicks – “Shit on Me”
Napalm Death – “Siege of Power”
Bad Brains – “I”
Neurosis – “Stones from the Sky”
Anodyne – “Philosophy of Failure”
Bad Religion – “Do What You Want”
Nasum – “The Final Sleep”
Who’s My Saviour – “Save Your Breath”