Tag: Jewel

Friday Five: Favorite Songs from the 90s

Hi guys!  It’s Friday which means it is time for the Friday Five!  This is a series I’ve been participating in on my youtube channel where you get a topic and then pick 5 songs in said topic.  Last week was pick a song from a decade and I chose the 50s and nearly everyone else picked the 90s.  So, this week being a grab bag week I decided to add my two cents into my favorite songs from the 90s.

The 90s were of course a very formative time for me as it was the decade I went from 10-19 (doesn’t get more formative age range than that!).  And I remember my Mother telling me ‘all the songs sound the same’ and I didn’t really understand what she meant. But now I hear current music and I think ‘that sounds just like….from the 90s’.  I think whatever is that formative music era is like that for most people.  It shapes how you listen to music the rest of your life.

The 5 songs I picked are also from what are in my opinion perfect albums.  Something like REM and their album Automatic for the People is an album I could listen to start to finish and love every song.  I feel in the digital Itunes age the value of an album has diminished but I still love finding one especially if it tells a story with all the songs.  Coldplay’s Viva la Vida is a great example of a more recent perfect album.

What do you think of my 5 picks and what are your favorite songs from the 90s? What to you is a perfect album?

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Favorite Songs

My friend Camille has recently done a series of posts on her favorite songs.  To make it easier she classified them as “song that makes me laugh”, “song that makes me cry” etc. Perhaps I should have followed her example, but I thought I could whittle down my nearly 9,000 ipod songs to a top 20. Boy was I wrong!  It was hard! To start off I cut out all religious, classical and Broadway music (that will be for another post!).  Next I created a top 50 list- even this was harder than I thought it would be. Finally I narrowed it to a top 15.  When push came to shove many songs I LOVE didn’t make the cut.

As will be no surprise to anyone, a majority of the songs are slower and melodic, and many of them are on the melancholy side.  This is strange because I am a very happy person.  I just love romantic sad songs!   I like a number of these songs so much that I have learned how to sing them in my weekly voice lessons. Over half are songs I have loved since high school and every single one of them are tracts I could listen to again and again (and have done so!).  I will be curious for both your thoughts on the list and the songs I should have included.  What are your favorites? By the way, I didn’t put A Song for You, King of Anything or Gravity on this list because I just posted them, but they are some of my favorites.

Listed in no particular order

1. Over the Rainbow- this one is my favorite song.  I love it.  I sang it in May and have at least 12 versions in my ipod.  I have yet to hear a version I do not love.  My favorites are probably a great version by Eva Cassidy and a classic by the Hawaiian singer IZ; however, nobody can top the great Judy Garland.

2. Nightingale- Norah Jones blows me away.  I love all of her albums and could have put a number of her songs on the list. I chose this one because I think it is a beautiful lullaby.

3. Dream- Priscilla Ahn’s first album A Good Day was amazing!  If you haven’t heard it go out and buy it.  I could have picked any song from this album.  I love it!  Dream is another lullaby that is lovely.

4. Everything- Michael Buble. Everybody knows I love me some Michael Buble. He is still the only artist I have seen live twice.  He is a great performer and singer- not to mention terrific songwriter.  I think he has surprised a lot of people by branching out of the Great American Songbook and writing his own stuff.  I was torn between Haven’t Met You Yet, Home and this one, Everything, but I figured put an upbeat song in there!

5. I’m Yours- Jason Mraz. This song reminds me of Hawaii and summertime.  What could be wrong with that?

6. Foolish Games-Jewel. I was obsessed with Jewel in high school.  I think I may have listened to Pieces of You and Spirit albums hundreds of times! Foolish Games is a sad song but one of the first ones I learned in voice lessons.

7. Dreams- Cranberries.  I also loved the Cranberries in high school- still do.  This is such a great song- the only song that ever made yodeling cool!

8.  Awake- Josh Groban.  Josh Groban will always have a special place for me because of the amazing experience Camille and I had at his concert- we got moved from the highest seats to right by the stage where I touched his fingers!  So cool!

9. And So it Goes- Billy Joel.  This was a tough call between the Longest Time (love that romantic song) and this sad song.  The fact that I sang it as one of my first voice lesson songs put it over the edge.

10. Both Sides Now- Joni Mitchell.  She set the bar for all female singers/song writers after her.   This is another song I performed in a recital for my voice lessons.

11. Man on the Moon- REM.  The first album I remember buying was Automatic for the People by REM.  I have loved it ever since, which makes nearly 20 years of enjoying this song.

12. Travelin Soldier- Dixie Chicks.  So I don’t like their politics but I love this song.  It is pure poetry.  You’re probably tired of hearing this but it is another one I have sung in voice lessons.

13. Life is a Highway- I have loved all of Rascal Flatts’ albums.  They know how to write catchy hits and this one is their best.  No wonder it was the final encore at their concert!  (I was tempted to pick God Bless the Open Road but I figure an upbeat song is good!)

14. Unwritten- Natasha Bedingfield.   This is probably the only ‘dance’ song I have ever loved.  Despite being over-played and the theme song to the Hills I still love it!

15. Let It Be- The Beatles.  Many Beatles devotees would probably pick something more edgy from the psychedelic phase or more obscure but I’ve always thought this song was beautiful.   This is a version sung by American Idol alum Brooke White.

16.  This Side- Nickel Creek- Ok.  So I did 16 but I just couldn’t leave Nickel Creek off the list.  They are amazing! I must sound like a broken record but I love all of their albums.  They are peaceful, calming and full of gorgeous harmonies.  If you aren’t a fan check them out!  This Side is probably their most popular song and I think you will see why!

Phew!  That was tough.  I’m already picking apart my list.  How is it I didn’t have room for Trouble by Ray LaMontagne, Every Little Thing by the Police, anything by Cold Play,  Ingrid Michelson, Sara Bareilles, Carol King, Regina Spektor, Crosby Stills and Nash, and More.  How did I not have room for any of the standards like LOVE, World on a String, Real McCoy, You Make Me Feel So Young etc?…I guess I will just have to make another list!  I hope you guys enjoy the music.

Music Galore

As I plugged in my IPOD today and put it on shuffle I thought about the variety of music that I like and how each type had touched my life. My mom and dad used to sit in bafflement over the power music had over me. I would spend way too much time figuring out the perfect song/CD to do silly things such as clean my room. They also didn’t understand why I felt so offended at the idea of anyone (particularly them) not liking my music. Neither of them understood how much of my heart went into the selection of my music. I have always felt that music had a special power to connect me to moments- to express my inside when my words failed miserably. As I’ve grown up I have learned to accept that music is an organic experience and can not be transferred to another person no matter how we might wish it could be. My parents will never understand my music and nothing can make them. It’s just doesn’t move them the way it does me- and that’s the way it is. In this spirit it may seem futile for me to share with you my favorite bands/musicians. I am well aware that each of these groups may not suit your tastes; however, perhaps in my sharing them you will understand a little more of my heart- what moves me, makes me laugh, and motivates me to keep going.

You will notice that many of these are groups from the 90’s. Sorry I can’t help it. That’s when I experienced my most formative musical period. These are in no particular order.

1. REM- Their Automatic for the People album is still one of my favorites. It is one of those great CDs that I can play start to finish. It was actually the first tape (yes cassette tape) that I remember purchasing on my own. I love Everybody Hurts, Man on the Moon, Sidewinder Sleeps, Try Not to Breath, and more. Other albums feature It’s the End of the World As We Know It, What’s the Frequency Kenneth, Losing my Religion, Stand, the Great Beyond and At My Most Beautiful. They are wonderful songs I could listen to again and again.

2. The Cranberries- 2 albums are essentials in my music collection No Need to Argue and Everybody Else is Doing it so Why Can’t We? Songs like Dreams, 21, No Need to Argue, Zombie, Pretty, Dreaming My Dreams and Linger are hauntingly beautiful and bold. Dolores O’Riordan is the only woman who could make yodeling cool.

3. Jewel- I know that she has a cheesy side, but I can’t deny the effect her albums have had on me. Pieces of You came out when I was a freshman in high school and while my friends were all into Oasis I couldn’t get enough of Jewel. Foolish Games, Who will Save Your Soul, You Were Meant for Me are amazing. I also listened her album Spirit over and over again and it is still one of my favorites with songs like Hands, Little Bird, Down So Long and Life Uncommon. It is no small chance that one of the first songs I learned while taking voice lessons was Foolish Games. It’s perfect.

4. Kenny Chesney- I am not going to try and argue that Kenny is an original performer; nevertheless he was my introduction to country music and his songs make me smile every time. He hasn’t put out a bad album yet. He is also important because Anna and I went to one of his outdoor concerts in 2005 and the memory is one of my favorites of the last few years. I love You Save Me, There Goes my Life, Don’t Blink, No Shoes No Shirt No Problems, Summertime, Big Star, Live Those Songs, You Had Me at Hello, Tin Man, and Good Stuff. He’s also the cutest man in a cowboy hat for my money.

5. Fleetwood Mac- Can you top Stevie Nicks? Not for me. Silver Springs, Landslide, Rhianon, Everywhere, Dreams and Go Your Own Way are all great songs. Her voice is raspy but deep and the lyrics are beautiful and fun. I have liked Fleetwood Mac since I was in Middle School. I bought their Greatest Hits right when I purchased the REM tape, so it was one my firsts. I still like it at 27 and that says something!

6. Jack Johnson- Can we all be grateful that Jack took a break from surfing to take a crack at music. What a talent! He just keeps putting out one great album after another. Even his soundtrack for Curious George had great songs. Perhaps it is my love of Hawaii that enhances my appreciation for Jack Johnson, but I could listen to his music all day. Flake, Good People, Sitting Waiting Wishing, Dreams by Dreams, Upside Down, Supposed to Be and If I had Eyes are some of my favorites. I can’t wait to see him live in August!!

7. Michael Buble- My mom has always groaned at Megan and my pleasure at what she calls lounge music. Michael Buble has taken that to a new level for me. He is the only person I have seen live twice and each time he amazed me. Entertaining is the word. He is funny, engaging and of course talented. He sings with a massive band and yet is still the star of the show- now that takes charisma. Not only is he great at singing classics like World on a String, Feeling Good, and Try a little Tenderness but he is a great songwriter penning one of my favorite recent songs Home along with Everything, Lost, and That’s Life. It also doesn’t hurt that he isn’t too hard on the eyes and that voice…

8. Josh Groban- Another performer that I have always liked but gained a whole new infatuation for after seeing him live. It’s a long story but through some luck Camille and I got bumped to the 5th row. He even touched my fingers! I know I sound like a gaping teen, but I can’t help it. It was that cool! I wondered before seeing him if his voice would carry in a large stadium. It certainly did. What a talent! On key, singing in Italian half the time, and completely mesmerizing. Where do I start on his songs- all amazing. My favorites are Awake, So She Dances, February Song, The Prayer, Weeping, To Where You Are, and You Raise Me Up. I just hope that David Foster decides to do a Buble/Groban tour- that would be awesome!

9. Joni Mitchell- There have been so many copy cats of Joni that she doesn’t seem as original as she deserves to be. I joke with my teacher that I love bitter woman songs. Joni definitely fits this category. I don’t know why I love these songs, but they hit an emotion in me and in so doing I feel more understood by the world- more able to move on. Both Sides Now, River, California and of course Blue are pure and peacefully melancholy. If I could sing like anyone it would probably be her. I just love her voice and the simple beauty of one woman singing at a piano or a guitar with no airs or pretense for the crowd!

10. Norah Jones- Rarely do I hear a song on the radio and think- “I love that song, I have to pick it up”. Norah Jones’ Don’t Know Why was one of those songs. Her Come Away album is perfect. Every song could be listened to many times and is great for relaxed settings-even work. She has such a beautiful voice and her arrangements are smart and simple. You can picture her sitting at a piano singing her favorite songs- and then oops they got recorded. I have appreciated all of her albums but Come Away is the best.

11. The Beatles- It would be hard to not put the Beatles on such a list. They have so many great songs- songs that you can dance to, songs that are slow and melodic and songs that are poetic-telling you a story. How different are She Loves Me, 8 Days a Week, Something, Eleanor Rigby and Let it Be? It doesn’t seem like it could be the same band. I am jealous of anyone who ever got to go to a concert live.

12. Judy Garland- I feel sorry for Judy Garland. She had so little choice in her life. She listened dutifully to her mother and doctors and ended up drug addicted and unhappy. I admire that despite everything she kept singing- trying to find something over the rainbow. When I was younger I appreciated Judy as a kind of Disney singer but her songs have a bittersweet meaning to me that I find very moving. Only those that have studied voice understand the difficulty of her arrangements and the purity of her voice. If I could sing like anybody she would be at the top of my list. Incredible.

Wow! That was hard There are so many more I want to include Rascal Flatts, Counting Crows, Maroon 5, Barbra Streisand, Alison Krauss, Nickel Creek, Dixie Chicks, Billy Joel, Barenaked Ladies, Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette, Harry Connick Jr., Adam Pascal, Natalie Merchant, Annie Lenox, Elliot Yamin, James Taylor, John Mayer, Alicia Keyes, KT Tunstall, Billie Holiday, Bonnie Raitt, Johnie Cash, Reba, U2, They Might Be Giants, ColdPlay, Beach Boys and more. I am so blessed to have music in my life and hope that I never stop appreciating it and developing my own talents. I can’t imagine heaven without music and I don’t think it will be all hymns up there either! Take care friends and share with me your favorites.