1. Talking Heads | Heaven
My brother and I grew up listening to a lot of Talking Heads, compliments of our father and his band playing Psycho Killer and other various hits. At a young age what struck me about Heaven in particular was how David Byrne conjured arguably his most beautiful melody and wove in a very tedious desperation with a loving sarcasm, as only he can do.
2. Patti Smith Group | Because The Night
Even though Smith herself has said this song is commercial shit, I still keep coming back to it. I can’t help but Love her voice on a Power Pop ballad like this. I’m not sure if it's because Bruce Springsteen gave her this song to finish and the exercise for an artist of her caliber to go in that direction is fascinating or because part of me is curious to hear a whole album of Springsteen & Smith songs, regardless I love it and I love her.
3. Bob Dylan | Most Of The Time
My current favorite Dylan tune. The echo laden field in which the melody finds itself really allows the lyrics to be that much more powerful and affecting. I love the contradiction of being so resolute, able to take what's happening and the Ultimate Denial of Lost Love.
4. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers | That Summer Feeling
I got heavy into Jonathan around the time I was trying to understand what it meant to be alone again. Dealing with buried feelings and letting The Truth have its day. This is my favorite song about Sentimentality and fleeting moments that make up our favorite memories. Also appropriate to what the song's about, his sound reminded me of artists I’d loved growing up and was lucky enough to meet in various coffee shops and house shows. Some of my favorites being Hush recording artists Amy Annelle and Graves.
5. Michael Hurley | I Don’t Care X 3
Charming Apathy at its best. My friend used to play this song so much I thought it was his, that’s how I first heard of Michael Hurley. I heard Michael’s version of Pancho & Lefty and subsequently ended up at Townes Van Zandt, a connection I’m forever thankful for.
6. Tom Brosseau | Love High John The Conqueror Root
Nothing makes me feel more at ease then the voice of Tom Brosseau. Off of 2014’s simple and masterfully crafted Grass Punks, Love High John The Conqueror Root is a perfect blend of Tom’s uncanny history of the great American songbook and his perfectly controlled guitar playing.
7. Smog | Held
Bill Callahan’s often simple and repetitive structure allows for a keenly told narrative and lyrical phrasing that is more akin to a Jazz player than that of a conventional songwriter. Held is about Complete Vulnerability, surrendering yourself to trust another. The dissonance of the eerie electric guitar in the background, playing minor notes over a major key, perfectly creates the anxiety in letting go.
8. Morphine | Claire
Jazz, Sex and the real feel of Blues. You can’t beat it. The sound they had was so unique and powerful. How this song builds is nothing short of Perfect. Dana Colley’s baritone work is some of my favorite to date.
9. Bruce Springsteen | Lift Me Up (Limbo Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
I find this oddly beautiful. I heard it randomly at the end of some movie I don’t remember and the song just stayed with me. Hearing Bruce sing the whole thing in falsetto when his voice really isn’t suited for it and still retain the delicate quality the melody has to offer is enticing. The coda is especially alluring. The song itself is simple and doesn’t pretend to be anything it's not, which is ultimately why I find myself putting it on repeat usually between two and three AM.
10. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds | I Let Love In
Dark and gloomy. Starting with a forceful Western themed guitar that hooks you in and creates a sorrowful drama. When I first heard his imposing delivery I felt an immediate relationship with the warning in the words. All my Paranoia with Love coming true.