Sunday, 5 April 2015

High Fidelity & My Top Fives

This has been a good weekend for book buying. Less of a good weekend for my bank balance, but I am the proud owner of a bunch of superb books. (I'm going ahead and making the assumption that they're going to be good. What can I say, I feel very optimistic about them!) One such book is High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. I watched the film a couple of years ago and I enjoyed it, but I definitely preferred the book. The soundtrack to the film is great but the music referenced in the book is more stuff that I'm familiar with. I thoroughly enjoyed the book but am slightly out of the swing of reviews so am going to go off on a related tangent instead! 

Before I do that, you can click here to be taken to a playlist that is loosely inspired by the novel. I'll be honest, it's mostly just a mix of soul music but it captured the mood of the early pages of the book to me.

If you are not a fan of lists then you will probably want to stop reading right about now because the rest of this post is mostly comprised of top 5 lists. 

I find ranking things, especially music, incredibly hard because there are so many factors to take into account. For example, what is my favourite song? I always answer this question with Samson by Regina Spektor. My last.fm stats show this to be true, it is by far my most listened to song, so it's the one I always choose. It's pretty and sad and I like it a lot. But is it one of my most influential songs? Not by a long shot! It hasn't really shaped me as a person, it wasn't the soundtrack to a particularly memorable time of my life, and it doesn't even particularly have any memories attached to it. But I always say that it is my favourite song. 

Things I try to take into account when I rank something:
  1. Did I enjoy it?
  2. Given the fact that I enjoyed it, is it actually objectively good?
  3. Even if it's not particularly good, does it do what it's trying to do well?
  4. Does my enjoyment of it counteract whether or not it can be considered good?
  5. Has it stayed with me and left a lasting impact? Even if I didn't necessarily love it at the time?
And so on and so forth. 

The fact is, I love a lot of things. And I know some people think that by throwing the word 'love' around the place diminishes the meaning somehow. But I can't imagine only loving a contained amount of things. I say that I love things a lot but I absolutely mean it every time I say it. I might not love a song the same way as I love a person but in each case there is absolutely something in the very core of my being that is responding to that thing and love is the only word I know how to describe it. 

Slight tangent aside, I bloody love music. There are so many songs that mean so much to me for so many reasons so when I'm put on the spot and asked to rank them I get a little bit flustered and lose the ability to speak coherently, let alone actually come up with song names. But all of the top 5's that happened in High Fidelity made me ponder, and I have come up with some lists! 

Top 5 Most Influential Songs

Silver Springs - Fleetwood Mac
Piece of My Heart - Janis Joplin
Wild Hearted Woman - All About Eve
Cosmic Love - Florence and the Machine
Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

Top 5 Songs as Ranked on Last.FM

Samson - Regina Spektor
Closer - Tegan and Sara
I Hear The Bells - Mike Doughty
I Was a Fool - Tegan and Sara
Uncomfortably Slow - Newton Faulkner

Top 5 Influential Albums

Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
Lungs - Florence and the Machine
Little Earthquakes - Tori Amos
Mother Earth - Within Temptation
Handbuilt by Robots - Newton Faulkner

Top 5 Soul Songs

I've Been Loving You Too Long - Otis Redding
Call Me - Aretha Franklin
When I Fall In Love - Sam Cooke
Cry to Me - Solomon Burke
I'd Rather Go Blind - Etta James

Top 5 Classic Rock Songs

The Spirit - Magnum
Always Somewhere - Scorpions
Try Me - UFO
Love Ain't No Stranger - Whitesnake
All I Ever Wanted - Thunder

Top 5 Classical Songs

Cello Sonata #3 in A Op.69 - Beethoven
Cello Concerto First Movement - Elgar
Tristesse - Chopin
Nefeli - Ludovico Einaudi
Claire de Lune - Debussy

Top 5 Meaningful Songs

Last Hope - Paramore
I Hear the Bells - Mike Doughty
She Keeps Me Warm - Mary Lambert
I'll Follow You - Shinedown
Collar Full - Panic! at the Disco

There are so many songs that mean so much to me that aren't on any of these lists, but if I tried to include them all then we would be here forever and this probably wouldn't be a very interesting post. So I'll leave it here for now, but let me know your top 5 songs of any category! I always love hearing about the music that influences and inspires people so recommend me stuff as well.

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