Tim's Uber-Compilation of Musical Quintessence (Top 20)

Multiple discussions have prompted me to compile a list of my Top 20 songs of all time. This is about as close as I am going to get, and it has taken me over 6 months to get this far. I've had to let lists settle, throw out songs, add songs I had forgotten, and all kinds of other edits. Plus I was too lazy to write all of this, and too meticulous to just leave it at a song list. So here it is, Tim's Quintessential Song List of All Time, To the Extreme!

Also, for those Facebook savvy folk, you can actually listen to all of these songs. I recently added a great application (one of about 3 I can say that of) called Boombox, where it will play music hosted by third party sites. I uploaded what wasn't already there, and assuming everything goes swimmingly, I should have that list up soon. It should be on my main page.

1. Norwegian Wood (this bird has flown)- The Beatles
I've mentioned this song in a previous post. I love it. It is rather short, but with the most brilliant lyrics I have ever heard. Just an awesome little short story with a surprise ending (and if you know me, that's a big factor). The sitar is a wonderful touch that adds a really nice touch. It is simply brilliant.

2. Brick - Ben Folds Five
I recall having a conversation with a few friends about the timelessness of this song. Somehow I listen to this song now, and it grabs me just the same way it did when I first heard it. The combination of the rather difficult subject matter, Folds' magnificent vocals and his super-talented piano playing is just incredible. It is over a decade old, and I've listened to it an innumerable amount of times, and continue to absolutely love it.

3. God Fearing Man - Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
Quintessential Harper. The song clocks in at nearly 12 minutes, and every second is gold. It has long slide guitar solos, lyrics that are both powerful and softer at spots, really accenting Harper's vocal talents. Long songs can often be tedious, but this song does it very well, as good as the power ballads of Zeppelin or Queen. I could easily see this one taking top spot after it has had some greater longevity behind it.

4. Baba O'riley - The Who
Some may know it as the popular, yet incorrect, "Teenage Wasteland" or (shudder) "The CSI:NY theme". Personally, the awesomeness of this song was first really revealed to me by the fantastic movie American Beauty, though I had definitely heard it before then. (You'll find this isn't the only movie tie-in on this list.) The musical progression throughout just gets me all stirred up in the same way the first few seconds of Smells Like Teen Spirit do (to me and others, I've noticed). I've since heard it used in multiple movies and television shows. Apparently it is catching.

5. Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
I remember I first really heard this song in late high school. About a year or two later I stumbled across it again, and realized it was this same song I had adored but never got the name of. Incredibly talented acoustic guitar backs up poignant and beautiful lyrics. It is too bad that I just can't get into the rest of Pink Floyd's stuff.

6. No Rain - Blind Melon
I'll definitely receive some um... criticism for this one, methinks. I just simply love this song. Musically simple, it is a fun little song. And I absolutely love the vocal harmonization. And, again, longevity is a huge factor. Like Brick, I have continued to listen to this song regularly for over a decade (actually, in this case it is over 15 years), and I still love listening to it. Then, about a year ago I discovered an alternate version of the song, labeled the "The Ripped Away Version" (released a few years after Shannon Hoon's, the lead vocalist, death). Noticeably different from the original, and yet I find it very nearly as good as the original. Apparently you can even retool the song quite a bit, and I still like it. Hence #6.

7. Money City Maniacs - Sloan
A little bit of Canadian content for you. A ridiculously catchy song, that is just fun to listen to. Every time I hear the song's introductory sirens, I find myself cranking the volume. This one definitely has the longevity thing going for it, released almost 10 years ago. But with the increased radio play, you can probably tack on a few years worth of listening.

8. Loser - Beck
Strangely addictive. Something very different than other songs on the radio, and yet somehow it just caught on. The fun mixing, distortions, backtracking, nonsense lyrics, other languages, turntables, etc. all make this song stand out as some of the most original rock of the 90s. And different is right up my alley. And it has the longevity factor. And it taught me one of the only Spanish phrases I know: Soy un perdedor.

9. We Suck Young Blood - Radiohead
This one was a bit hard to come to grips with. It is hard for me to throw a Radiohead song from their second newest album when OK Computer and The Bends were such masterpieces. But frankly, this song has been on my mp3 player steady since I purchased it over two years ago (and it ain't no 8 gig iPod). The haunting clapping, the wonderfully miserable vocals from Thom Yorke, and general awesomeness just make this song very re-listenable.

10. For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield
Pretty much a one-hit-wonder from this band, I've loved this song for a long time. That said, it wasn't until I heard it over the opening credits of Lord of War. That said, I know that I had often heard it and hoped they'd say who it was before I got out of the car, and to no avail. And I'd never remember to look up the lyrics. So a great movie made that a lot easier (and that opening sequence is probably one of my favourites, perhaps only second to the Nine Inch Nails' Closer over the opening of Se7en). Simplistic musically (those repeating alternate notes) over some anti-war lyrics. Great stuff.

11. Nada - The Refreshments
The Refreshments have been one of the major staples in my musical history. It was one of my 3 first CDs and I have been listening to it regularly since. Lots of great songs, but Nada always struck a chord. A beautiful harmonica solo makes a great intro to an inspired song. I particularly like the timing and progression of the lyrics and his voice is perfect for the song. And that it closed out the album, full of some other fantastic songs.. And a reference to tequila. What else can I say?

12. Walk Away - Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
This represents all of Harper's work that God Fearing Man does not. That and it was the song that introduced me to who is now my favourite musician. Everything I could ever want in an acoustic song. Great lyrically, fantastic vocals, and striking guitar.

13. I Like Birds - The Eels
This one is also an introductory song to one of my favourite artists. I had heard some Eels previous, but this one was the key to me checking out their library (I wasn't disappointed, obviously). This song is nearly to the point of silly, but it is the light-heartedness of it that really sucked me in. And the whistling. I've always loved whistling in songs, and this one has a rather large amount of it. If I had to pick a song that best represented me, this would be it (on a good day, anyways).

14. Where is my Mind - The Pixies
Not surprising that the song playing over the closing credits to my favourite movie is in my top 20. I just really like the song both musically and lyrically. It has some really cool effects to it, from the ghostly howl and guitar build up, and Fincher chose it wisely, I think. It really makes you feel like a small thing in a huge world, but not in the scared or meaningless sense, but in a way that makes you appreciate everything else. A very appropriate song for the close to that movie.

15. Used to be Alright - I Mother Earth
A little more Canadian content... While a ton of I Mother Earth would make my top 50, only this one makes my top 20 (the next closest is Earth, Sky and C, particularly because of the awesome Por Todos drum intro on the Earth Sky and Everything In Between release). Used to be Alright is from Scenery and Fish, another one of my three first CDs. It has been my favourite from the album since shortly after hearing it and has remained pretty much my favourite songs from one of my favourite bands.

16. Talk Show Host - Radiohead
The second of two bands to show up twice on this list. It was also difficult for me to put on here, as it is not on any album, but it was definitely my favourite Radiohead song prior to Hail To The Thief's release (and it took some time for We Suck Young Blood to supplant it). Thom Yorke's vocals are awesome, great lyrics and musically very interesting. Seeing it over Leonardo DiCaprio sulking isn't as nice as just listening, though.

17. Sympathy for the Devil - The Rolling Stones
Lyrically, I love what they have done with this song. I love the way it is the Devil talking about himself and all his accomplishments, as if it was his closing remarks before the sentencing, or somesuch. Musically, I'm not that interested, but that has something to do with my general apathy towards the Stones (except for Angie, which would also hit the top 50).

18. Tomorrow - Silverchair
The breakout song for the ridiculously young Aussie trio is amazing. I wish I had created something so cool at that age. Great hard guitar, some good lyrics, and just the feel of an anthem for that generation. Not as brilliant as some of the list, but I've loved it for a long time, and it is just a great aggresive song.

19. Redemption Song - Bob Marley
A classic protest song, that. Fantastic lyrics combined with decent guitar and singing have placed Redemption Song this high. I had also considered putting Trenchtown Rock on here at one point, simply for the lyrics. However, I wasn't willing to throw a cover up here (that wouldn't really be right, would it), and since I don't care for Marley's version and much prefer the Sublime cover, I didn't (also, I have since changed my mind). Also, apparently Bob Marley is now, "new rock". Thanks, Edge 102, just because reggae is hip now, doesn't make this "new".

20. Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
This song just makes me happy. Vocally it isn't great. Lyrically it isn't great. Yet it is terribly catchy, and reminds me of so many good times, particularly hearing a band cover it on New Years eve, 2000. There isn't much to it, and I love it all the same.

There you have it, my top 20 songs.
One of note that missed the cut on a technicality is Requiem For a Dream. It's a difficult one, though, as it is "classical". So it is in a bit of a different situation there aren't lyrics, and you can't hear it as it was originally written. Really I only know of the versions from Requiem For a Dream and from the trailers for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and I can't rightly attribute it to them, can I?
Also there are a bunch more from some of the artists listed above (Selective Memory by the Eels, Fred Jones Pt. 2 by Ben Folds, While My Guitar Gently Weeps by the Beatles) as well as plenty from other artist I both own (Jolene by Cake, Wheat Kings by Tragically Hip, Video Bargainville by Moxy Fruvous) and do not own (Golden Years by David Bowie, Ramble On by Led Zeppelin, White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane). Just thought I'd name drop another 10 or so songs there for you. Not sure why.
Hope you enjoyed reading, I know it was sure tedious to write.