Tuesday, May 5, 2009

100 Songs To Save Your Life

While watching One Tree Hill tonight, I was inspired to start a "100 songs" list of my own. In the show currently (for those of you who miss out and aren't fans), one of the long-time main characters, Peyton Sawyer, is pregnant. She has been told her pregnancy is high-risk; she's on bedrest, and all that good (dramatic!) stuff. In the past few episodes, she has been putting together a box of things for the baby "just in case." One of the things she includes in this episode is a video of herself talking, in which she explains some of the items in the box. One of these is her "100 songs" list. Here's her quote from tonight's episode, "Show Me How to Live":

Peyton: "So if you flunk a test, or have a really bad break-up…or just miss someone so much it hurts, listen to this - my playlist: a hundred songs to save your life."

Thus the inspiration for me to do the same thing. I'm not sure mine is a list of songs that will "save your life," but it's definitely an eclectic mix of music that I have lived my life to... Here are numbers 1-14 (More to come soon... And why 14 you might ask? Well, because that's where I've gotten to so far!):

**Just a note: these are NOT in any kind of order. I don't think that would be possible. Besides, different songs are my "favorites" at different moments.

1 “Angel” – Sarah McLachlan: This song reminds me of listening to her play at Lilith Fair. I had never really heard of Sarah McLachlan before Lilith Fair, except for the song “Possession” which came on a tape Taco Bell handed out at one point in time. The song later became really popular (I hate when that happens) and I didn’t like it as much then. It’s really a beautiful song, though.

2 “You’ve Got a Friend” – James Taylor: This song reminds me of my mama singing (always) when I was younger. My best friend Caroline and my aunt Carole are also huge James Taylor fans, so it makes me think of that, also. This is hands-down my favorite James Taylor song. It reminds me of good friends from all the various times in my life, those I talk to all the time & those I don’t get to see enough!

3 “Wonderwall” – Oasis: This song is from one of those high school era albums you played nonstop for hours on end. To this day I still think What’s the Story (Morning Glory) is one of the best albums of all times. The Ryan Adams cover is awesome, but this is the original.

4 “If You Could Only See” – Tonic: I have always loved this song. I’m not sure why – it’s one of those inexplainable things – but it remains in my top ten, no matter what. I think it might be the line: “If you could only see how blue her eyes can be when she says… when she says she loves me.”

5 “Wagon Wheel” – Old Crow Medicine Show: Anyone who knows me knows that I have probably listened to this song more times than any other song in my life. I can’t get enough of it, whether it be the recorded version from OCMS, the recorded cover version from Against Me!, or any number of live covers by any band around. I love it, can’t get enough of it, don’t think I ever will. It’s one of those “change-your-life” songs for me. Sometimes I think my happiness level rises directly in proportion to the number of times I hear this song!

6 “Runaway Train” – Soul Asylum: Again one of those high school songs. Ninth grade to be exact. I was huge into grunge alternative, and Soul Asylum fit that bill. It still remains one of my favorites, though.

7 “Far Behind” – Candlebox: Ooooh. A middle school song. I was still in a grunge-y metal-y phase, and this song was one of those great “ballads” with a hard edge. A boyfriend in 7th or 8th grade had a friend who died on a motorcycle that year, and they played this at his funeral. Not a funeral song, I always thought to myself (and not a happy reference to go along with a song I liked), but it always makes me think about that regardless. Still does.

8 “La Cienega Just Smiled” – Ryan Adams: You’ll probably see quite a few Ryan Adams songs on this list, but this was my first taste of him, thanks to my musically-minded brother Carson. Carson always had his thumb on the pulse of “hot, new” music when we were younger (and probably still does!), so I “stole” a lot of his favorite music as my own!

9 “Piano Man” – Billy Joel: I had to be pretty young when I first heard this song, because I never remember a time when I didn’t love it. It’s simple sound is what draws me to it, I think. And I always like a good “storytelling” song. I like to imagine the setting for the song, the people he talks about. Probably also doesn’t help that I’m a sucker for a guy playing the piano… Now I’m kind of in the mood to visit Big Bang (the piano bar) in Nashville…

10 “Let That Pony Run” – Pam Tillis: This may seem a departure from my usual fare thus far, but let me assure you that like any good Tennessean, I definitely went through a country phase. I still like some of it, although I’m not quite as into it as I once was. I think my mom truly hated that music phase… I blame it all on my cousin Brian. He brought me over to the dark side when we were young with his Alan-Jackson-loving-self. This particular song reminds me of my friend Rachel Brown. She can sing like an angel, and I can’t tell you how many nights we spent singing this song at the top of our lungs!

11 “Let Me Love You Down” – INOJ: This isn’t a masterpiece in music or anything even close. What it IS is a great song to ride around to when you are 16 or 17 years old. And let me tell you, Shellie Barnes and Lindsey Crim and I used to do just that! There is one infamous incident in which the three of us were riding in my old Thunderbird listening to this, dancing & singing, and a guy driving past us literally ran off the road and into a ditch because he was watching us in all of our crazy teenage glory. He was okay (I think), but it was hilarious!

12 “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” – Poison: Back in the days before cable television made it’s way to the rural areas, my cousins from Nashville used to bring hours of tapes they made of MTV. This was back when MTV played videos, not reality shows, and one of the first videos I ever remember seeing/hearing was for this song. A power ballad – what’s not to like?!?

13 “Please Forgive Me” – David Gray: They say you never forget your “firsts”, and this song is no exception – my first taste of David Gray’s beautiful voice and music. This was yet another Carson-stolen favorite (I try to at least give him credit & not claim finder’s rights for myself). I must also give Nicole Worzek credit, too, because she has been a longtime David Gray fan. I also have to put a restriction on this choice – I only like the acoustic version, not the techno-style version of this song.

14 “Jackie’s Strength” – Tori Amos: This is one of those weird songs which can’t really be easily explained when it shows up on someone’s “favorite” list. I will try to explain somewhat by saying that I have a fascination with Jackie Kennedy, the inspiration for the song. I also like Tori Amos’s oddly unique voice, although I’m not overall what you would call a “Tori Amos fan.” I used this song when I did a presentation over a research paper for a religion class in college. The subject was “Jackie Kennedy: An American Goddess”. It also reminds me of the movie “The House of Yes”. An extremely twisted independent film starring Parker Posey, it doesn’t feature the song, but it does relate to Jackie O.

***UPDATE: A year and a half later, I revisited this topic and added 14 more songs. Find #15-28 of my 100 songs to save your life here.


  1. breaking benjamin - forget it :)

  2. I need to revisit this list & add to it... After all, it did say 100 songs, not 14. Maybe someday! Goodness knows there are hundreds of songs that are important to me, not just 100!

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