#1000 – In My Life, The Beatles (1965)
The first hint that my music tastes tend towards that of a white kid born to a middle-class family in 1952: this list starts with a Beatles song.
Okay, I guess lots of people would have a Beatles song as their 1000th favourite
if they were stupid enough to have such a list because they’re the most famous band of all time, they have 200+ original songs, and very few of those songs have been completely banished to the obsessives-only discography (especially if you exclude their first couple of albums).
So not only is there a relatively high chance (as these things go) that a Beatles song would be one’s 1,000th favourite song in the world, there are many different Beatles songs that one could consider their 1,000th favourite: the sort of song one knows and enjoys because they’ve heard it a bunch and it’s pleasant, with a great melody and a better bridge with a couple unique instrumental turns thrown in. Not the type of song they’d ever rave about, but one they’d rarely, if ever, turn off.
And this would especially be the case if they grew up in a house where the Beatles were on all the time, because that’s what classic rock radio stations played in the early 90s, and that’s what their parents listened to, and they never felt the need to rebel when they were a teenager, and then they grew up to like nostalgic things anyway, and so when they ranked their top 1000 songs, yeah, a Beatles song made perfect sense for the bottom of the list.
ANYWAY, In My Life is nice. Professional critics tend to lionize it because it’s a convenient song to pinpoint when discussing the band’s transition from teeny-bopper idols to Most Important Band Ever, but remove the history and it’s a fairly slight number, harpsichord solo that is actually a piano solo recorded with a tape running at half speed excepted.
But, you know, I wouldn’t turn it off.
Bonus In My Life media: Sean Connery did a weird spoken word version of this in 1998.
#999 – You’ll Be Coming Down, Bruce Springsteen (2007)
Ironically, the Beatles have the most entries in this list, and Springsteen has the second most.
This is not a particularly good Springsteen song, but it comes from his album Magic, which came out a few months before his 2008 show in Vancouver, which was my first Springsteen show, and I was determined to know any of the album songs he would inevitably play midway through his set.
All of which is to say I listened much more than it deserved, but its pop craftsmanship (and one of the last great Clarence Clemons sax solos) wormed its way into my head.
#998 – Yellow, Coldplay (2000)
I promise Coldplay does not occupy the third most amount of entries on the list. This is the only one, because that first high note is very very purdy, and the rest of the song ably demonstrates the group’s skill in putting together lush inoffensive modern pop.
#997 – The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, The Smiths (1985)
I did not go through a Smiths phase growing up, and self-aware moodiness and Morrissey brooding aren’t my jam, but I loves me some tight jangle pop, and so here we are. I wish the song went somewhere musically, or that the final 80 seconds weren’t just an extended layout, but alas.
#996 – Without You, Badfinger (1970)
I know in general, melodic British bands from 1965-1975 are the most overrepresented group in the pop music canon, but I wish more people really liked Badfinger, because they had a quietly great short run, exemplified by the fact you probably know this song better when it was recorded a year later by Harry Nilsson.
Which is well done, but most of the time, I tend to like the original version of a song more, because my brain tells me to respect the composer over the performer, and that manifests itself in
which versions of songs are ranked in my stupid list very deep and important ways
#995 – Badhead, Blur (1994)
MORE BRITPOP YAY. If I was a British teenager in the 90s, I definitely would have preferred Blur over Oasis, because even though Oasis had the superior singles, Blur were less obnoxious twits, and had more beautiful secondary songs, like this Parklife cut with a neat little chord progression.
#994 – Over and Over, Fleetwood Mac (1979)
Protip: when you make a list of your favourite 1,000 songs, there ends of being a big chunk of songs you like enough to consider, but ultimately not enough to make the list—and because I like nice melodies and large bands, there is a lot of Fleetwood Mac that just missed out: Never Going Back Again, You Make Loving Run, I Don’t Want To Know, Monday Morning, and a couple others.
But this laid-back opening to Tusk made it, because I love how Christine McVie’s vocals float over the song, and it builds juuuuust enough throughout, even if it does mask much of the weirdness to follow on the album
#993 – Myth, Beach House (2012)
“Justin, try and like new music!” people occasionally say. And then I grumble at them, and lament how New Music Is Bad, and generally act like a curmudgeon, but sometimes those people persist, and get me to listen to new stuff, which is often dreamy indy pop, and then a grudgingly admit that, okay, Beach House is up my alley, and this is a perfectly good single.
#992 – Samson, Regina Spektor (2001)
This song currently has over 58 million plays on Spotify, which makes me happy, because quirky piano-only sketches based on bible stories aren’t exactly the most commercial thing in the world.
But this song did great, and a surprising amount of people really liked all of the album it was on (Begin to Hope) and for a brief period it looked like Spektor was going to be more than a mid-market taste. Which didn’t happen, because art and commerce is fickle and stuff.
#991 – Where Does The Good Go, Tegan And Sara (2004)
Half of the songs in this first batch of 10 are from this century, and I promise you that will not be the norm. Don’t worry. We’ll be soothed into the calm cradle of dad rock soon enough.
In any case, the driving beat in the chorus is really great, the lyrics are clear and direct, and the chords explode pleasantly, which is about all I ask for down here.
Categories: Top 1000 Songs