Songs to Learn and Sing

In an effort to escape the daily grind of…things, I’ve become a regular listener to Itunes radio.

Specifically, the Classic Alternative channel.

When I was in high school, music provided a level of escape at a time when I just didn’t fit in.  In the fall, I would rake leaves in my parent’s expansive backyard with my Walkman strapped firmly to my hip.  I would listen to some tapes repeatedly.  I would make countless mix tapes.

The Classic Alternative Channel has helped cheer me when things are low and led me back to some happier times.

Give these songs a listen (or 12)–trust me, they are life-changing.

  1. Suede “Animal Nitrate” — the first Suede (not London Suede, just Suede) was released while I was in high school.  Brett Anderson’s high-pitched drone made me think of central London and High Street and tea.  It seemed impossibly foreign and very sexy.
  2. Primal Scream “Movin’ On Up” — There is nothing like a tune that combines the spirit of Madchester in the early 90s and southern Gospel music.  Primal Scream was on the bill of my first concert (Depeche Mode/Stabbing Westward rounded it out).  This track is  uplifting and just fun.
  3. The Verve “The Drugs Don’t Work”  — I bought this album the day it came out at the Best Buy in Peoria, IL.  I was a sophomore in college. “Urban Hymns” spoke to me at a time when my mind and heart were confused.  These days, the line, “they just make you worse, but I know I’ll see your face again” reminds me of the sadness I am struggling to overcome.
  4. Echo and the Bunnymen “Do It Clean” — I bought the cassette tape of this at Orbit Music in Mishawaka, IN in the mid-90s.  “Do It Clean” is one of those tracks that is heard best recorded live.  I had the pleasure of seeing Echo and the Bunnymen as an 18-year-old radio intern.  The couple in front of me was impressed I enjoyed their music and were kind enough to allow me to step in front of them (I’m short, so I wasn’t blocking the view).  They finished with this song and I was bemused to see 30-somethings form a mosh pit.
  5. Ministry “Everyday is Halloween”  — Prior to 1994, I was only familiar with the hardcore industrial incarnation of Ministry.  During a high school field trip, I heard “Everyday is Halloween” and was blown away.  As an aging sort-of Goth and lover of Halloween, this became an instant Top 10 all-time favorite song of mine.  It’s also a fabulous song to dance to at the club (if I went to a club anymore for such things).
  6. The Smiths “Rubber Ring” — This track is at the end of Side One of the cassette “The Smiths – Best Of: Vol II.”  It features a sample of a 60s hypnotism session.  I love this song because of the lyrics, “when you’re dancing and laughing and finally living, hear my voice in your head and think of me kindly.”  Oh, Morrissey.  We get your pain…or something.
  7. PJ Harvey “50-Foot Queenie” —  If there was ever an anthem for short girls, this is it.  PJ Harvey is also a teeny woman.  This is a fantastic song to get “fired up” if you play a contact sport.
  8. Sinead O’Connor “I Want Your Hands On Me” — This track is very unexpected in a lot of ways.  O’Connor never struck me as someone who was bursting with in-your-face sexuality until I heard this song for the first time the summer after college.

Music, like exercise, helps heal the vast majority of the time.


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