I can’t bring myself to toss them. And this is quite a random blog post considering I’ve posted nothing for two months.
I was recovering from my kidney transplant over the summer of 2011. I felt like I was freed up to figure out some new career skill to attempt to acquire. I thought about how I been WordPress blogging for years, and how I enjoyed customizing the blog. But I hadn’t ever looked into the best practices for really working with WordPress at a level that might lend itself to career doing something like this. Si I thought I’d start a new blog and use it as my development platform.
I was also feeling nostalgic for my mixtapes of 20 years earlier, which mostly consisted of sappy love songs and a general quality of music that most would judge as pretty darn awful. I was nostalgic for the lengthy countdown cassette series I had made. Top 100. Top 100 II. Top 100 III. Top 100 IV. And then, in college, the Top 200. Each countdown included voiceovers announcing the countdown, Casey Kasem-style. “Up six notches to #12, it’s Peter Cetera with ‘The Glory of Love'” (…more)
Back to 2011. I was curious what a Top 100 15-20 years later might look like. But it had been so long. I could surely come up with 200 or 300. And then top379.com was an available domain. And so I decided my WordPress project would be to countdown my top 379 songs.
One song a day for a little over a year. I’d hit number one on Valentine’s Day 2013. That didn’t quite work out. The bulk of my time was not spent on making an awesome design or on designing some backend database structure that would make for an amazing dynamic data-driven site. It was spent looking up countdown data from obscure websites. And once I started figuring out every country I could find where a song charted, I felt obliged to continue that process. An hour a night was not sustainable.
Not to mention, I constantly lacked the confidence to post these sappy, schlocky ballads. Did I REALLY still like all of these Air Supply songs? I just wouldn’t be in the mood to deal with the question. I’ve listened to a lot of different music in the past 3-4 years, and my taste for sentimentality has dulled significantly. It’s hard to be motivated to post about songs I care nothing about and may be embarrassed to admit liking.
Well, I didn’t intend for this to be a recap of the history of the Top 379. It’s just a recap of the last 10 songs. Now that I’m under a hundred songs to go, I can see an end in sight…somewhere. I feel a need to finish this out, even if there is little interest from anyone including myself to persist. Frankly, I don’t even want to hear half the songs remaining in the countdown, though some of that may be a reflection of my current null-pointer relationship status. (Don’t ask what that means).
So…88 songs to go. Maybe if I can go through two a week, I’ll be done by the end of the year, or next Valentine’s Day.
One of, maybe, five songs I’ve ever sung karaoke to. To a packed, mesmerized room in Las Vegas.
This song is still to come on the Top 379.
I don’t if this is a precursor to a big year of blogging or not. Last year, I had about 25 posts, but only five in the past six months (I don’t feel like counting). There were another 5 or 6 drafts that I felt too self-conscious to post. I used to have no filter, or, at least, a very thin filter. I don’t know what 2014 holds.
No one cares about the music posts. But, in some way, the soundtrack of 2013 sums up the year FOR ME. I’m not going to get into why a song is part of the Soundtrack of 2013. Perhaps, I’ll get some closure here. I’ll move on past move of these songs.
Now, these are all Spotify songs, meaning almost all of them are songs I first discovered in 2013, though almost none of them are 2013 songs. So almost none of them are part of that Top 379, and represent, generally, a major departure from what’s in that countdown. I have a 50-track playlist on Spotify representing my soundtrack of 2013, but about 20 of those are instrumental tracks from movie scores. Those wouldn’t mean anything to anyone. Of the remaining actual songs, with lyrics, I’ll pick
10 20 22 24 25, and I’ll rank them, because, as you know, I like to rank songs.
Here’s part 1 of 3, because 25 embedded You Tube videos is too much for one post.
25. Gordon McRrae – Oh What a Beautiful Morning
24. Ambrosia Parsley & the Elegant Too – Goodnight Moon
23. Florence + the Machine – All This and Heaven Too
22. Imelda (The Voice of Holland) – Gangsta’s Paradise/Survivor
21. Coldplay – The Scientist
20. Jason Walker ft. Molly Reed – Down
19. Julee Cruise – Into the Night
18. A Fine Frenzy – Hope for the Hopeless
17. Michael Crawford – It Only Take a Moment
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
My Rating: 9.14
I could stop the countdown now. This is my #1 as of October 9, 2013.Truly. This song has been my favorite song for the past year, maybe two years. I’ve often pushed onward with this countdown for the purpose of getting to this song. I have listened to “Love Letter” more than any other song; I am certain. What the hell did I ever know about alt-rock, post-punk singer-songwriter Nick Cave prior to about two years ago? Nothing. Perhaps I had heard of him, but I had never heard him. Then, one day, I was browsing a friend’s Spotify playlist. I had to listen to a song called “Love Letter”. And it filled my heart was aching and yearning and passion and all those squishy things that a song should do, but in a richer, more piercing way than any other song I’d ever heard. Just…perfect.
So why only #114? I didn’t know how to rate a song I had never heard before. Each time I heard it, I’d give it a higher rating. In late December 2011, I went through my song list and gave each song a “final” rating. I wrote at the time:
“From unknown to top 10…if i had more time… Hard to know if it’s just a phase. When I finally post this, how will I feel about this rating?”
It would have actually been #11 had I just gone with the very last rating. Instead, it lands down here. Two years is a long time, and, as I’ve made apparent several times, my affinity and nostalgia for some of the lighter fare in this countdown has faded. I hesitate to say my tastes are more sophisticated now. After all, the album “No More Shall We Part” was reviewed by one critic as being at risk of devolving “into schmaltz” (I learn from Wikipedia). So it makes sense why I love this song. But even those people who rate songs at RateYourMusic.com like it; it cracks the top 5000.
As I did my ratings for this countdown, there were 5 or 6 songs I figured had a chance to be #1, and any of them could have wound up on top. If I were doing a countdown based on what I love today, “Love Letter” would be on top. I am certain.
Officially, I have no blog posts posted for the last 2 1/2 months. (I have three drafts that I’ve posted and then rescinded). A post about blog posting can come later. Perhaps I’ll be starting back up again. At the very least, I’ll play catch-up with my Top 379 recaps. Even though most of the songs no longer inspire me as they once did, as they apparently did as recently as two years ago when I rated them, I still feel an obligation to myself to see this through. Unfortunately, at the pace I’ve been posting, it will take me years to get through, and the songs will be even further removed from my present affinities. Though, I must admit, whenever I cringe over a song I need to post, and perhaps there are weeks I procrastinate before posting it, when I finally get around to it, and I listen to the song several times, that affection returns. There were genuine reasons I’ve rated these songs highly, and, I know I still fear judgement for sharing them.
Anyway, I will present my write-up of #114 in full here. I don’t know who’s reading Toastiest besides my father. (Hi, Dad). I suppose I’ll put this link on Facebook. If you’ve seen this via Facebook, I’ll kindly ask that you actually comment in here if you have a comment, just because I don’t share this blog with all my Facebook friends, for various reasons. I can’t quite tell these days if Facebook is still announcing to all your friends when you comment on someone else’s page. I know, I can’t really control this. Enough of this social sharing ruminating…
As I’ve done before, here’s the recap of the rest. Maybe I’ll get to #112 on this quiet Friday night.
More Than Words Can Say
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
Take My Breath Away
Now That I Found You
The Greatest Love Of All
Every Breath You Take
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
My Rating: 9.15
Visitor Rating: NR
Two more months of posts. I just got back into the mode of posting one nearly every day. Why? Isn’t this a lost cause? Am I not reliving the past, a past that by no means warrants conjuring? The romantic in me barely survives, and for as much as I’ve thought that flame deserves to keep burning, I’m sorely tempted to snuff it out. I’m afraid I’ll just continue talking in riddles if I go on with any attempts to write about this. I’ll go on, anyway. I haven’t done a public ramble in awhile.
This list is my life. This list was my life. This list bears no resemblance to my life. All of the above.
Then again, this blog bears no resemblance to my life. Even the darkest, most personal passages that are still out there for public consumption don’t dig as deeply or go as dark as the absolute truth. Ok, that doesn’t equate to “no resemblance”.
This wasn’t supposed to be another one of my meta-blogging posts…but I’m in a no self-censorship mode at the moment, so I shall trudge along…
As the Top 379 trudges along…I want to finish this up. I should’ve hit #1 back in January if I had stuck with the post-a-day plan. I didn’t. And posting these songs, that occasionally mean a great deal to me, is like chopping down a tree in the middle of the forest. For whatever reason, it’s important to me that people rate the songs, even when, and especially when, they hate the song. Because, for as much as I don’t need to defend any music I like, if you think a song is a 2.7/10, I will take that into consideration and my opinion on the matter may evolve in a way that’s beneficial to me.
Enough blathering for now…here are the last 11 songs posted to the Top 379. I think the songs are becoming more and more awesome, as songs of a countdown should. Rate them. It makes me happy when you rate them, so why wouldn’t you?
All By Myself
I’ll Be Over You
Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes
If You Don’t Know Me
Will You Still Love Me
One Moment In Time
Nat King Cole
When I Fall In Love
Weekend In New England
Let The River Run
Lost in Your Eyes
My Rating: 9.12
Visitor Rating: NR
Ok, perhaps more of a stretch than my recent reference to Before Sunrise as best movie.
But I’ve decided that I love, love, love Dusty Springfield.