Drinking Chai Latte (not soy, Pat Monahan, you talented bastard with bad taste in beverages!) at one of my favourite coffee places, watching the traffic and the rain and listening to …
- Killing Me Softly by Fugees off the album The Score (1996)
This Roberta Flack cover from the Grammy winning second studio album by Fugees might have been the first song I “heard to death”. Or rather, it was played to death. I loved the song back in the day – yes, it’s been 15 years now – but after hearing it everywhere all the time it lost its magic. Overkill is the word. Hearing it today, for the first time in a very long time, I can say that it has been resurrected for me. I may not like it quite as much as I once did, but Ican listen to it and enjoy it again.
- Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan off the album Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968)
Originally off the album of the same name (well, originally a single that later gave the album its name), I got Hurdy Gurdy Man off the soundtrack of the 2007 movie Zodiac about the killer of the same name*. It was written by Mac MacLeod who, despite the most Scottish of names, is English, and first performed by the Scottish musician Donovan. If you want another cool version of the song, go look up the cover radio legend Howard Stern did with his band The Losers for their first Battle Of The Bands in 2000.
- Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty off the album Full Moon Fever (1989)
The first track off Petty’s first solo album, also the first song completed for the album and his first solo no. 1. That is, if you count the Billboard Album Rock Tracks. On the Billboard 100 the song went as high as no. 7. The place names in the song all refer to places in or around Los Angels. In the order they appear in the song: Reseda, a district of L.A. in the San Fernando Valley – “the valley” refers to exactly that San Fernando Valley – Ventura Boulevard used to be U.S. Highway 101 before a freeway was built (freeway also mentioned in the song) and is an East-West route through the San Fernando Valley – Mulholland, the Mulholland drive or its extension, the Mulholland Higway, both also East-West routes through the Valley.
- Polyamerous by Breaking Benjamin off the album Saturate (2002)
Another first single from a first album. Polyamerous is the third track on the Breaking Benjamin debut saturate and the song that turned me on to the band. Not as a single, though. Two years after the release, it was included in the soundtrack of a video game, together with Firefly, the fourth track (non-single) from Breaking Benjamins second album We Are Not Alone (2004). The same year the band created another song exclusively for the soundtrack of another game – this time Blow Me Away for Halo 2.
- Wasted Little DJs by The View off the album Hats Off To The Buskers (2007)
And … another first single … from another first album? Don’t blame me, I got my iTunes on random. Yes, it is track no. 8 from indie rock band The View’s (who, like Donovan, are Scottish) debut record, which peaked on no. 15 of the UK charts, same as the second single Superstar Tradesman, only to be outdone by single no. 3, Same Jeans, which is track no. 3 on the album, and peaked at no. 3 of the single charts. For those paying close attention: Wasted Little DJs was released in August of 2006. The album, however, was not released before January of 2007 (by then, both Superstar Salesman (October) and Same Jeans (a week before the album) had been released).
- Price Tag by Jessie J off the album Who You Are (2011)
Phew, close one. It’s a second single from a debut album this time around. And it is one of the best pop songs in recent years. But not only do I enjoy the song itself tremendously, but also some great covers that it has spawned. For some reason, the “ch-ching, ch-ching” and “b-bling, b-bling” parts always give me goosebumps when I hear them on a good YouTube cover (like here). Definitely a 2011 song to remember in the years to come.
(Listening to while finishing this blog entry: Price Tag by Jessie J)
* That’s the Zodiac killer, not the Hurdy Gurdy killer. No one would be scared of the Hurdy Gurdy killer. Then again …