One Year Anniversary
That’s right! It has been one full year of my weekly bite-sized album reviews. Although “review” is a bit of a misnomer, as I’ve not so much critiqued these albums as I have told you why you should listen to them because ALL OF THEM ARE GOOD. With that in mind and to celebrate this auspicious anniversary, I tortured
tasked myself with picking the top five tracks from the past year of TRML’s Sound Selections. This was no easy task! There are so, so many amazing songs across the 52 albums I’ve written about. These five are my personal favorites and are songs that exemplify a range of inspiring songwriting.5) Jonathan Coulton – Glasses
In my opinion, no song better encapsulates adulthood than Glasses. Jonathan Coulton perfectly distills the adult-with-kids experience into a tight 2 minutes 47 seconds. It’s catchy, a little funny and, most importantly, it’s RELATABLE. I feel that last bit makes it one of his best songs overall, as it dispenses with forced humor or nerdy whimsy to deliver a song that is an excellent snapshot of many listener’s daily lives.
4) Elvis Costello – Indoor Fireworks
Indoor Fireworks is NOT a happy song. It’s about a couple’s argument and Elvis, clearly drawing from his recent divorce, offers some of his best wordplay to describe this dissolving relationship. Comparing an argument to a firecracker is a perfect and delicious analogy and this song is a prime example of why he’s such a legend.
3) The Mountain Goats – Younger
For an album about role-playing games, you might not expect as much depth as you find in the song Younger. But then again, if you’re not expecting that, then you’re not listening to the Mountain Goats. Younger not only portrays an interesting situation in an engaging way, it also expertly shows the depth players put into their tabletop game characters, as not only is the character in the song looking back at his younger self, John Darnielle is too by reusing a chord progression from an old song. This kind of meta songwriting is why, out of the HUNDREDS of songs he has written, Younger is, for me, one of John’s finest.
2) Stevie Wonder – Living for the City
Simply put, Living in the City is a very, very powerful song. So powerful that it can move someone who has not even remotely experienced what this song is talking about. Stevie was already well respected when he wrote Innervisions, but he solidified his status as a master songwriter with this song. Living in the City is not an easy listen because it’s disturbing, but that’s entirely the point. The spoken audio bits as a young man’s life is ruined is an important and powerful message and is part of what makes it so incredibly good.
1) Iggy and the Stooges – Search and Destroy
Search and Destroy is, bar none, the BEST album intro song of all time. Right away it grabs your attention by your sensitive nether region and drags you through what Iggy and the band are about. It’s songwriting 101 for a mission statement song and one that is well worth a study for any aspiring songwriter. It certainly influenced me as I’ve learned so much from these simple three and a half minutes. That’s why it’s number one in this list and in my list of favorite songs of all time.
Phew! There you have it. the top five songs from the first 52 Sound Selections. Next week it’s back to normal with more album picks you need to hear or, if you’ve heard them already, albums you need to hear again. Thank you all for sticking around this last year and I hope you continue to enjoy this little pet project of mine. I’ve got plenty more albums to write about! You might see a few alumni pop back into the Selections, but that’s because you need to hear those albums too! Although I do promise to keep it to one album per artist per year, so I’m sorry to say it won’t be four months straight of Lou Reed albums. (I know, don’t threaten you with a good time.)
Thanks again for reading and see you next week!