My Top 10 Favorite Songs of All Time

27 Feb

Now that I live in Austin I spend a lot of my day stuck in its infamous traffic. It seriously starts at 3 in the afternoon and doesn’t let up until about 9 at night. Being that I spend a lot of time in my car, I have a lot of time to listen to music. I also have a lot of time to debate in my mind what my favorite songs are. There are a couple staples that have stayed with me for years and years and will never relinquish their spots on this list. Then there are others that are new to the game and could be interchangeable as the years go on and my music taste either matures or worsens.

So without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite songs of all time.

10. “Right Here, Right Now” – Fatboy Slim

Reading these first few entries on the list you may realize that I really like a good instrumental score. The basis for if I truly like a song is if I can picture it set against some sort of film or television show – it’s me, go figure – and scores seem to have that impact on me. However, if you were to ask me to name any other Fatboy Slim song, I probs couldn’t do the deed. “Right Here, Right Now” was and has been the peak interest I’ve had with the 90’s band. This song is so incredibly campy, creepy, sexy, and intense that it’s no wonder Veronica Mars used it when she finally uncovered who the campus rapist was. And if a song is used to unmask the evil of rape, well, then it’s fine by me.

9. “Intro/Islands” – The xx

I’m still in a love affair with The xx. As I mentioned above, the mark of a good song for me is if I can picture it set to a moving picture. Add to the fact that I can listen to it at night before bed on a continuous repeat and you’ve got yourself the number 9 position on this list. It’s hard for me to choose just one song off of their debut album, that’s why they get two. Both “Intro” and “Islands” are perfectly cinematic in that they make you feel incredibly sexy and give you an I-could-own-the-world-right-now-if-I-wanted-to attitude every time you give it a listen.

8. “In The Hall of The Mountain King” – Edvard Grieg

It’s the greatest piece of symphony work in the history of symphony work if you ask me. Only one word can really describe it and give it justice: EPIC.

7. “White Winter Hymnal” – Fleet Foxes

It’s hard to not hear the beginning of this song and not automatically feel safe and warm. While Fleet Foxes have admitted that the lyrics in the song don’t mean too much and that the song was initially made to experiment with different vocal techniques, the feeling that I get after listening to this song is much like a little boy on Christmas morning. I feel like I’m on the plush carpet in my grandparents wood cabin up in the high mountains of Alaska with a nice fire cracklin’ next to 7 welsh corgi puppies sleeping soundly. That is to say, I feel at peace with everything in the world.

6. “Hurt” – Johnny Cash

For the longest time I used this song as the fantasy theme song to my fantasy television show that I dreamed about creating. There is so much raw emotion in Cash’s version, that he makes Nine Inch Nails’ ode to regret and the low’s of life all his own. I still get goosebumps whenever I listen to the song, and if I’m watching the music video whilst listening, then bring on the waterworks. My father gave me an interest in Johnny Cash, Walk The Line gave me respect for Johnny Cash, Cash himself gave me love for the man in black.

5. “Rolling In The Deep” – Adele

Much like celebrity deaths, there are certain songs that when you hear for the first time you can remember every aspect of what was going on during those few minutes. During the first time that my ears were honored to hear this 3 minutes and 48 seconds I was sitting in my apartment at my desk completely in shock and awe at the power that I was hearing. While a lot of people are sick of the song because of its constant radio play, I could hear this song everyday (and I did for a good year) and never tire of it. This is the one moment of my life that I will allow for cockiness and arrogance because upon hearing this song, I rushed to tell my good friend, Lion-Haired Girl, about it and swore that if she did not sweep the next years Grammy’s for the song then I knew nothing about nothing. Thank you Grammy committee for proving my prophecy correct.

4. “No Cars Go/ Neighborhoods #3 (Power Out) – Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire is my all time favorite band… for all time. When I talk about music sounding cinematic, this band is the standard to which I hold. It’s so incredibly hard for me to pick just one song of theirs to stick on this list, that is why they also get two. I’ve had the privilege of seeing the band perform 3 separate times, and all 3 times they completely blew me out of the water by inventing a completely new show. “No Cars Go” is my fantasy song that if I had any musical talent at all, I would perform in front of thousands of people and they would be oh so impressed. “Power Out” is my ringtone, running song, shower song, driving song, everything song. This is the song that I make people listen to first if they’ve never heard of the band. It’s powerful, playful, and like almost everything the band does – fun.

3. “Crazy In Love” – Beyoncé

This be my jam! Like Adele, Beyoncé’s tour de force of a first single will always and forever be the greatest female pop song. This is the song you crank at the beginning of a party to get everyone in the mood to keep going all night long. From the first note of those blaring horns to the final uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, oh no no, Bey and Jay keep the insane anthem to hot love thumping. My awkward junior high school moment memory comes courtesy of this song. Thanks to the radio playing it in my 7th grade art class, I came to realize, only by the time the song was over, that I was the only one belting out lyrics… in front of the whole class. That is what this song does for you, though. It takes you to the soul-funk world that Miss Knowles created and only lets up once the dust has settled after all those booty bounces.

2. “Walk Through The Fire” – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The moment where you realize that you can no longer live in youth adolescence, but rather have to nut up and just deal with the problems that the world can throw at you has never been more clear than in this Joss Whedon penned song from “Once More With Feeling.” I love this song so much that I painted lyrics from it onto a canvas and pinned it up on my bathroom wall sophomore year of college. “I will walk through the fire cause where else can I turn. I will walk through the fire and let it burn” is what greeted me each morning. Many could have taken this as a sign of depression, but to me it was just a reminder that life isn’t all sunshine. The villains sometimes win, the good guys don’t always get their way, and that is okay. That is the way life is. The song has basically been my free therapist for the past few years. Now that I am in the transition of moving from adolescent boy into a, hopefully, strong man, I can’t think of a better song to guide me.

1. “Evil” – Interpol

For some strange reason, this labyrinth of a song about a two timing bro-dude was my introduction into what music could do. Up until my listening of this song, I had never really paid much attention to music. I listened to what was on the radio, whatever country CD my family played in the car (Gretchen Wilson for the win), and the NOW! compilation cassettes I owned. This song is the reason I have my “picture it set to film” rule. This song is how I learned I could be inspired by something. This song is the reason Interpol can do no wrong. This song is creepy, it’s confusing, it’s funny, it’s completely terrifying when you watch the music video (I have a thing about dolls and puppets), and yet, it captivated my young mind as to what music could do for a person. It’s still the most played song on my iTunes, and whenever it shuffles on I can’t help but press the repeat button and feel like that young lad once again.

Well there you have it, folks. You stuck with this list until the very end. I hope that you got more out of this list than just “geez, his music taste kinda sucks.” Now I’d like to hear from you. What are your favorite songs? What music moments make you stop every single time they’re played? Let me know in the comments below.

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4 Responses to “My Top 10 Favorite Songs of All Time”

  1. christiecz February 28, 2012 at 2:35 AM #

    You know, I have my staples and the ones that come and go…
    STAPLE: Moon River- Henry Mancini (This is my favorite song of all time. I’ve always loved the simplicity of it and, yet, the deep meaning of every lyric. My favorite part is, “Two drifters off to see the world, there’s such a lot of world to see.” It makes me think of an adventure with the one I love, and that makes me all tingly inside :))
    STAPLE: Yellow/ Fix You/ The Scientist/ Clocks/ Strawberry Swing/ Death and All His Friends- Coldplay (Favorite band, even though proclaiming that brings the rain of fire from anyone with an opinion)
    STAPLE: Desperado (cover)- Johnny Cash (It’s so sad, but I love it. It’s heartwarming to me)
    STAPLE: In My Life- The Beatles (I visualize my life as a slideshow set to this song when it’s played. And I cry.)
    STAPLE: Trouble/ Hold You In My Arms/ Shelter- Ray LaMontagne (I feel safe when I hear these songs, these words, his voice.)
    STAPLE: Postcards From Italy- Beirut (makes me want to dance, and sing, and gives me that homey feeling, but the excitement of travel!)
    STAPLE: Home- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (Maybe it’s the connection to memories, but this song never fails to make me happy.)
    POTENTIAL STAPLE: Holocene- Bon Iver (I know this song just came on the music scene pretty recently, but I have listened to it on repeat during multiple 3 hour car rides. I just can’t seem to get enough of this song)
    POTENTIAL STAPLE: Ten Cent Pistol- The Black Keys (I feel some sort of power when I listen to the Black Keys. And sexy. I love it.)
    POTENTIAL STAPLE: Truth- Alexander (It’s the mixture of folk and rap that I love about this song. The rhythm and the lyrics…. man, good freakin’ stuff.)
    CURRENT FAVE/ POTENTIAL STAPLE: Emmylou- First Aid Kit (This song could easily become a staple. I have listened to this one again and again and I get that little happy feeling when I hear the steel guitar come in. It was love at first listen with this one.)
    CURRENT FAVE: I And Love And You- The Avett Brothers (I have yet to purchase this one, but I hear it on the radio every now and then and always turn up the volume for this tune.)

    I’m sure you got more comment than you bargained for, but this is something I’m easily excited to share! I can’t wait to listen to the recommendations I haven’t heard yet!
    -CZ

    • zackarywilburn February 28, 2012 at 7:50 PM #

      Thank you for the long comment, they are what I live for! I know you love Coldplay and don’t feel bad about that. They are the band that people are going to love to hate until they actually listen to them and realize that it is life altering music. I was contemplating putting Home on the list but there is no real way to put into words the way I feel about that song haha. I’m sure you know that feeling! And you should listen to that girl Beyonce. I hear she’s going places!

  2. Meagan February 28, 2012 at 1:56 PM #

    Wilburn has a playlist? Instant download!!!

    Just a couple faves (this might end up a lot longer than expected. Hm)

    Maggie May / Rod Stewart

    Coconut Records. Love. Love.

    Tom Petty anything, but Among the Wildflowers makes the heart oh-so happy

    Clocks / Coldplay (got to agree to Christie up there on Coldplay)

    Hurt and Personal Jesus / Johnny Cash (playlist crossover time)

    This album Houston Kid by Rodney Crowell, the kind of music you can only like if you grew up with I think.

    The Weight / The Band

    Have You Ever Seen The Rain / CCR

    Gimme Shelter / The Rolling Stones

    Border Reiver / Mark Knopfler

    Mostly anything by Regina Spektor, but I think Laughing With God in particular is brilliant.

    Pork and Beans by Weezer, best song to start off the day with.

    Yann Tiersen a la Amelie soundtrack

    Big Love by Lindsey Buckingham, even this weird “ooh ahh” thing he does at the end.

    Young Bride / Midlake

    Coahuila / Balmorhea

    New love: Safe and Sound / Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars (LOVIN’ it, even apart from it’s attachment to The Hunger Games)

    🙂 Thanks for the awesome blog post! Coming up with some songs has been a nice way to kick off the day, I’ve never listened to Interpol or the xx!

    • zackarywilburn February 28, 2012 at 7:45 PM #

      Ooooh I love me some Midlake, Coconut Records, and Coldplay. And isn’t Safe and Sound the best?! It gets me so pumped for the movie to come out. Also, Gimme Shelter is the best! It’s hard for me to pick just one Rolling Stones song, though! I love Under My Thumb and Wild Horses will forever make me cry.

      Please listen to Interpol and The xx! They’re both bands that I love so much that not many others do. And if I find someone else who likes them I automatically latch on as their best friend.

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