I called the list maybe ten for a couple of reasons; one, there are actually 11 songs in the list. (One is a translation, so technically 12 tracks, another reason the list is called maybe ten…) Two, the other reason I called it maybe ten was when I first compiled the list I started with 30 songs and brought it down to these 11 and cannot bring myself to take one off the list because it would take one of my favorite tracks out of the list and make it an incomplete list and experience. The last reason is that I envision this list as if it were a burned CD, a mixtape if you will, and the final song in the list would serve as a hidden and unlabeled track if I were to burn this to give to a friend.
Music is very important to me. I am almost always listening, researching, and sometimes even playing music (maybe not very well but I try). So while the top ten lists are fun to read and listen to they are a little difficult for me to make. Now mixtapes on the other hand I love, and are for me, easy to make. So I approached this list as if I were making a mixtape of “maybe ten” songs for a friend.
Also, these are not ten (well 11) of my favorite tracks because that is a longer and might even be an impossible list to compile and narrow down to just ten songs (which I couldn’t even do for just important songs) but… I have made a YouTube playlist as well because Spotify does not have some of the versions I want them to have. (I will indicate a difference (if there is one) in the track breakdown below.)
I do not know if you are aware of a series called LateNightTales (I have the albums curated by MGMT and The Flaming Lips) but, well, I’ll let the label describe itself; “Late Night Tales invites the world’s best artists to delve deep into their music collections to create the ultimate “late night” selection. Late Night Tales: music and stories worth staying up for.” So I am approaching this list as a mix of that and a mixtape. So I am writing a track by track breakdown of sorts along with some random history and/or why I include it the list.
Because I am extra if I were to burn this to a CD I would include two more tracks and add them to the top of the list. The first track would be the Bobby Darin recording of Beyond the Sea, but in reverse with a long fade-in that stops halfway through the track. The next track would be the now iconic (in my eyes at least) mashup/remix track of Pachelbel’s Canon in D with the vocal track from Nicki Minaj’s Starships. I would re-remix it to be the complete version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D with the Nicki Manaj part first then the rest of the song would be normal until the end where it would mix to flow gapless in Fancy by Doja Cat.
Now into the playlist:
- Fancy – Doja Cat (followed by Freak on YouTube because if Freak were on Spotify it would be track one and Fancy would not be on here)
- Beyond the Sea – Bobby Darin (on Spotify) Robbie Williams (on YouTube)
- Perfect Day – Lou Reed
- “Heroes” / “Helden” – David Bowie
- Run Like Hell – Pink Floyd (on Spotify it is The Wall album version and on YouTube it is the version from the Is There Anybody Out There live album)
- You’ve Had Me Everywhere – of Montreal
- fallingforyou – The 1975
- Sometimes – Britney Spears
- Snake Eater – Cynthia Harrell (on Spotify it is the album version and on YouTube it is the Abstracted Camouflage version)
- Simple and Clean (PLANITb Remix) – Hikaru Utada (on Spotify I only have the English version on YouTube I include the Japanese version and if I were to make the CD I would mix the two together like the “Heroes” track where it is but where the Japanese version is first and English second)
- Deepthroat – cupcakKe
Fancy is my favorite track by Doja, but if her other song Freak were on Spotify it would not be on this list because I like Freak better. In her debut album Amala (which is her real first name) Doja Cat blends together Pop, Hip-Hop, R&B, and some psychedelic imagery and short soundscapes. In the case of the track that I included here, Fancy, she brings in a sample from the classical track Canon in D by Pachelbel, as well as has her normal rap beat style of production on the track. Lyrically she goes into topics of having money and being royal (which she is) the stand out lyric to me is “Used to be daughter, they call me mother now.”
(YouTube bonus track) Freak, on the other hand, is the track I would have loved to put on this list instead. Musically a similar effect is used, this time the song that was sampled is Put Your Head On My Shoulder by Paul Anka (and the unauthorized use of this sample is why the track is only on Soundcloud and YouTube but not Spotify) and lyrically it delves into the realm of BDSM with her going from being the Dom to the Sub. The “safest” standout lyric that stands out is “Milkshake bring the boys to the yard” referencing the classic track Milkshake by Kelis which Doja also references more in her meme hit Mooo! Which is how I first found out about her and have been in love with/stanning since. So I present these to tracks as the yin and yang of Doja Cat.
Beyond the Sea is originally a French track from 1945 named La Mer by Charles Trenet. It was translated to English by Jack Lawrence and recorded by at least 30 artists. The two I chose, the most popular version (recorded by Bobby Darin in 1959) that was used in the video game Bioshock, and in the movie Austin Powers in Goldmember, along with a bunch of other media but those are the two I know this version of the song from. The other version is Robbie Williams’ recording from 2001 that was used in Finding Nemo, which is the movie I watched the most as a child and is why his version is the one I would have included on the Spotify list but they don’t have it anymore.
Lou Reed’s song Perfect Day from his 1972 album Transformer, produced by David Bowie (we’ll get to him later) and Mick Ronson (who was Bowie’s guitarist from 1970-1973) is my favorite track solo track by Reed (only barely beating Vicious) I was introduced to Perfect Day from the first volume of the soundtrack album to the movie Trainspotting. (Which I haven’t seen as of writing this) The song is a chronicling of what Lou and his first wife, Bettye Kronstad’s, day together that Lou really enjoyed. “Oh, it’s such a perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you”
“Heroes” (as an album) by David Bowie is the second part of the Berlin Trilogy and (as a track) written and produced by Bowie and Brian Eno, (and the whole album was produced along with Tony Visconti) While not being my favorite track by Bowie, that goes to either Lady Stardust or Queen Bitch, it is a very important track by Bowie. Being covered by many (Peter Gabriel, from the early days of the band Genesis, and Blondie’s covers being standouts) and is used in many films and TV shows. The songs used in the 2012 film Perks of Being a Wallflower is what made me fall in love with the song itself along with the music video for the track. It is his most streamed song and most often talked about outside of his song Space Oddity and his character Ziggy Stardust. The reason that the title of the song (and album) is because “the quotation marks in the title “indicate a dimension of irony about the word ‘heroes’ or about the whole concept of heroism”.” David Bowie is my favorite solo artist, and Hunky Dory is my favorite album by him. I include the version that is in both English and German because of the song, and album (along with Low and Lodger, parts one and three of the Berlin Trilogy) was inspired by and recorded in West Berlin while David was distancing himself from his first wife Angie and the heavy drug use he was partaking in during his Thin White Duke phase of Young Americans and tour of America. Standout lyrics, “We can be heroes, Just for one day, And you, You can be mean, And I, I’ll drink all the time, ‘Cause we’re lovers, And that is a fact, Yes, we’re lovers, And that is that”
Run Like Hell is my favorite track from Pink Floyd’s album The Wall to listen to as a solo track and not as a part of the whole album. (When listening to The Wall it is best to listen to the whole album and not as separate tracks. You can disagree with me, but you are wrong if you think otherwise.) The version of the track (and album) I like the best is from the live album Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81 which was recorded during the first tour of the album. As an experience, The Wall is my favorite concept album (barely beating Operation Mindcrime by Queensryche by an inch) and is my second favorite Pink Floyd album. (Animals is my favorite)
You’ve Had Me Everywhere is a very recent addition to songs that are important to me. Ever since I met an old friend of mine in high school, hey Julia, of Montreal have been a band I had listened to but never really enjoyed their music. (I like their music but never repeated and learned the lyrics to their music) When this track was released at the start of this year (January 9th, 2020) I instantly fell in love with the song. The 80’s Pop-Rock and New Wave influences, along with the lyrics really vibed well with me. I have been revisiting the song at least once every couple of days since the track came out. The album that it is a part of, UR FUN, is also an enjoyable experience. “I no longer feel like lying is just a form of self-love”
fallingforyou by The 1975 is also a recent addition. The band was introduced to me by another high school friend. (Hey Lindsey) I don’t really have much to say about this track other than it is my favorite track by the band and it should be included.
I view the song Sometimes by Britney Spears as a kind of look into how Britney originally wanted to sound. She is singing in a more natural voice, with hints of the baby voice. (As with a few other songs on her debut album …Baby One More Time. She wanted to be a young Cheryl Crow but more contemporary. Lyrically Sometimes is from the point of view of a shy person wanting to be more open and expressive toward her lover. “Sometimes I run, Sometimes I hide, Sometimes I’m scared of you, But all I really want is to hold you tight, Treat you right, be with you day and night, Baby all I need is time”
Everytime (Youtube Bonus track) almost has the same theme but after a breakup. This is from a little later in her career and is in her more iconic baby voice and written as a response to her breakup with Justin Timberlake and his song Cry Me a River. Britney wrote this with her back up singer Annette Stamatelatos. One of my new favorite pop princesses, Slayyyter, did a cover of Everytime as a response to when Britney was forced to go to a mental institution in 2019. Once again Sometimes and Everytime are like a Yin and Yang of each other so I include both in the YouTube playlist.
Snake Eater by Cynthia Harrell is the theme for the 2004 video game Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. The game takes place in the 1960s so the main theme of the game, written by one of the composers of the game, Norihiko Hibino, was made as a tribute to the opening themes of the James Bond films. Cynthia Harrell’s other single I Am The Wind (also from a video game, 1997’s Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) is her only other piece of solo work. While I have played (and beat) more of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, I watched my cousin play all of the PlayStation games in the series. The vocal stem of this track is just *chef kiss*. Also, the song is just amazing and important.
Simple and Clean (or the Japanese version Hikari (Light)) by Utada Hikaru is the theme for the first Kingdom Hearts video game (as well as various remixes of the song are the theme for other games in the series.) The version(s) I’m including is the original PLANITb remix(s) of the English and Japanese versions. While I mostly played Kingdom Hearts II (its theme is Sanctuary (or its Japanese counterpart Passion) that I am not including here but because this is already bloating beyond the constraint) I heard the theme to the first game more because I would watch the opening cinematic to the first game then play the second one. Also Simple and Clean is more known so it is here (in the YouTube counterpart) in both English and Japanese.
Deepthroat by cupcakKe would serve as the unnamed bonus track after about two minutes of silence. I include it because it is a fun track to play to mess with people and I like the track. Using it in the list(s) works in a way like Fuck Frankie by Marilyn Manson. It is a palate cleanser and I (hopefully) leave you after going through a journey of listening to this music confused. I have been following cupcakKe since around 2017 and while I enjoy some of her more serious tracks… there is just something about Deepthroat and Vagina (again that I won’t include here because there are already too many tracks already) that are just classic.
- The lyrics of the songs mentioned.
- Liner notes.
Photo Credits: Duran Duran – Planet Earth 12″ Vinyl B-Side
Zachary is the Lead Videographer at The WOLF Internet Radio (since 2018) and the co-host of The Crate and of HollyWOLF Studios. For videos checkout Waylin WOLF on YouTube.