Next time, I promise we’ll be perfect

Lately I’ve been compiling a list of “perfect songs” in my head. I know this is controversial; I’ve been arguing with myself about it, but right now I have a short list of songs that I think are just perfect.

– Let Down – Radiohead
– Don’t Rain on my Parade – Babs from Funny Girl
– Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite No 1 in G Major
– Maynonaise – The Smashing Pumpkins

Those of you that know me know there has to be at least one Smashing Pumpkins song on this list, but this is incredibly difficult. I want to say Drown, Mayonaise or Rocket – or maybe all three. Ok, Mayonaise is getting bumped up. (As you have already seen as you read this in the order it is on the page, not the order in which I wrote it.)

I know there has to be an Iron and Wine song on this list too, but reviewing my favorite I&W tracks would probably make me cry as this has been a long, difficult week. So I’ll have to think about that.

Honorable mentions/teetering on the brink
– Common People – Pulp
– 3rd Planet – Modest Mouse
– Come Together – The Beatles (recent addition, I’m still wrestling with this one)
– I kind of want to say I Still Miss Someone – Johnny Cash, but I feel like that one would get bumped from the list – so it’s here but not here

I can’t even begin to decide what Shins song should be on here, if any. According to last.fm I listen to more of them than any other band. (1. The Shins 2. Iron and Wine 3. The Beatles 4. Ani DiFranco 5. The Smashing Pumpkins 6. Dar Williams 7. Johnny Cash 8. Radiohead)

Just writing this post is stressing me out. I’ve been batting these around in my head for weeks, but putting them down on paper (well in pixels) feels so so final. I need to post this and think more. If I add any more now then I am ruining the organic process of discovering perfect songs.

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  1. Matthew’s avatar

    For me:

    – Beatles – so many to choose from, but “A Day in the Life” is a perfectly constructed song and shows off the greatness of their songwriting partnership.

    – Ray Charles’s version of “America the Beautiful” is pretty awesome. Came out during the Civil Rights era. It’s the song we all know and love, but done in a way that no one’s been able to duplicate in any other song. How a song can be so patriotic AND sorrowful is pretty amazing.

    – The Band’s version of “When I Paint My Masterpiece.” It’s a great arrangement of an already great Dylan song.

    – Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York.”

  2. Kelly’s avatar

    Third Planet….you might be right there. But I don’t know. So many of MM’s songs are just…perfect.

  3. Martha’s avatar

    well I would like to nominate …..The Stones , Jumpin Jack Flash – but then again , I would bump Johnny Cash ….

  4. librarylea’s avatar

    @Martha – I’m not really a fan of the Rolling Stones, but now that you mention them, I know that You Can’t Always Get What You Want was on my mental list. I like big full dramatic songs. Which reminds me – Under Pressure is definitely on the list. Bump Johnny Cash, really?

    @Kelly – Every once in a while I forget how good Modest Mouse were and go on a binge. The World at Large grabs my heart and is one of the few things I like on that album, Paper Thin Walls is so poppy and fun with some lyrics that are super fun to sing, I have deep love for Shit Luck, any song that mentions Orange Julius is a-ok with me (Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine), hmm and I just realized I’m missing an album from my iTunes that I know I own. I only have Ohio (natch) from TiaLDfSwNtTA.

    @Matthew – Nice list! I also love love love A Day in the Life. It’s hard to pick Beatles songs as they are kinda the standard for all pop music that came after them. I need to think about the Beatles more and see which songs come to the surface, and stay there. I <3 me some Simon and Garfunkel and I LOVE to belt out that song (secretly as no one wants to hear me sing, so sad). I'll have to think about that one too, because America and the Boxer are sneaking into my mind right now, but I think tOLBiNY might be the winner. On the long drive from my parents' house back to home over Christmas I faded my Simon and Garfunkel over to one speaker and worked on my harmonies (still terrible - I can only sing backup on doo wop). It was a long long drive - a long drive for someone with nothing to think about.

  5. Hans’s avatar

    I guess I will narrow mine down to “songs that I don’t think could possibly be improved on because they’re great just the way they are”.

    1. Queen – We Are The Champions
    2. Pachenbel’s Canon
    3. Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven
    4. Dream Theater – Hell’s Kitchen
    4. Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me…okay, just kidding on this one. 😛

    I can probably think of many other good songs, but I am drawing a blank now.

  6. Paul’s avatar

    This is a really difficult list to make because I feel that I am front-loading on more classic songs and forgetting about more contemporary songs…but here goes:

    1. Tears for Fears- Shout
    2. Queen- Don’t Stop Me Now
    3. Arcade Fire- Neighborhoods
    4. Broken Social Scene- Stars and Sons
    5. Cat Stevens- Moonshadow

    There are many more songs, but I thought I would stop there before it goes into the double digits.

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