These are apropos of nothing. I was just bored during the 17 flights I had to take to make my way from South Carolina to Oregon, and got to thinking. (I know, shhh.)
These are not meant to be definitive or anything, it's just what I like. And by "I like", I mean what I like right now. It's impossible to commit to hard-and-fast favorites, but one of the criteria I used when thinking up these Top 3's was that the items had to have been on the forefront of my mind for at least the past 5 years (or so).
Top 3 80's Songs
1. It's My Life - Talk Talk. Not to be confused by Talk Talk, by the band Talk Talk, off of their album Talk Talk. I love the singer's voice and his phrasing.
2. Desperate, But Not Serious - Adam Ant. His voice is dark, the horns are bright, and the lyrics make no sense. Welcome to the 80's!
3. Call Me - Blondie. I have a girlcrush on Debbie Harry. The lyrics in this song are simple, straightforward, and unapologetic.
Honorable Mention: Sweet Child o' Mine - Guns 'n Roses. Lovers of guns, roses, and apostrophes. I like this one mainly because of Slash - his guitar playing shines in this song and makes me want to go to a concert, tease my hair, sit on some dude's shoulders, and scream "I love you Slash!!! Wooooooo!!!" Then I'd take a swig of Miller High Life and pass out.
Top 3 90's Songs
1. Better Man - Pearl Jam. This is a song, see, that could have come off sounding very sensitive-ponytailed-man, but instead grabs you and makes you think of every woman you've ever known who has lived this song.
2. Blow up the Outside World - Soundgarden. I actually don't know how to explain why I like this one. All I know is it makes me close my eyes and rock out.
3. Paranoid Android - Radiohead. That intro gets me every time. There are so many contrasts in melody and feeling, and Thom Yorke's reedy voice adds to the tension in the song.
Honorable Mention: Grace - Jeff Buckley. I'm a big Jeff Buckley fan, and this is the first song of his I remember hearing. Another song that I like mainly because of its contrasts; a melody that's full of longing, and a voice that sounds almost anxious.
Top 3 Songs That I Hate With a Burning, Itching Passion
1. I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) - Meat Loaf. I won't even get into the old and tired jokes about the title. Also, I won't speculate on what it is he won't do, because I'm pretty sure I've narrowed it down and I probably wouldn't do it either. But aside from the lame title, Mr. Loaf has to be the most annoying singer I can think of. The stupid title, the stupid voice, and the stupid instrumentation make this one stupid song.
2. We Built This City - Jefferson Airplane. I can't explain this one. A fairly average mid-80's song, but from the moment my 5th-grader self heard it, I knew that I would hate it for the rest of my life. And look here, I was right.
3. (Everything I Do) I Do it For You. Oh my God, Bryan. Actually, I hate everything you do, but this one...this one just trumps it all. And to think that you do it for me, in your treacly, trite way, just makes me feel icky inside. This is just wrong, Bryan. Go find a girl who will appreciate the fact that you rhyme "love" with "love" and forget that I even exist.
Honorable Mention: I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston. Aaaaaaand IIIIIIayayayIIIIIIIII wiiiiill aaaalwaaaaaays looooove youuuuuuuuu woahhhhhhhh! My work here is done.
Top 3 Covers That I Like Better Than the Originals
1. Take Me to the River - Talking Heads (originally by Al Green). There's something slightly wrong about this song. He's singing to a 16 year old. I don't care how early people hooked up back in olden days, that just ain't right. And when David Byrne sings it, and the Talking Heads play the music, all that wrongness comes out in all the right ways.
2. Rusty Cage - Johnny Cash (originally by Soundgarden). Soundgarden made this song badass enough, but when Johnny says he's gonna break his rusty cage, you believe it. That man will do it, no question. I also love how he brought out a country twang in an alternative rock song.
3. Got to Get You Into My Life - Earth, Wind, and Fire (originally by The Beatles). I might get in trouble for this one, because omg teh beatles are teh awesome!!1!! And they are, but whereas the original song was good, this one brings out the basic melody and makes it groove. The one downside is that this song is from the worst movie ever made in the history of the universe, as well as whatever was around before the universe: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Honorable Mention: None. I got nothin' for this one. Suggestions welcome.
Top 3 Sitcom Theme Songs
1. Good Times: I always wanted to get up and dance to this song when I heard it. And I will be forever in debt to Dave Chapelle, who finally cleared up the mystery of what it is they sing after "scratchin' and surviving". (It's "hanging in a chow line.") I always pictured James and Thelma as the singers.
2. Diff'rent Strokes: "It don't matter what you got/Not a lot/So what?" So true. So, so true. And you Puerto Ricans out there, don't tell me that about a second after the name of the show comes on, you don't expect the voiceover dude to come out and say "Blanco y negro".
3. All in the Family: Maybe it was the song coupled with the images that went along with it during the intro, but I always feel a little verklempt when I hear it.
Honorable Mentions (because I can't do just one): Barney Miller, The Rockford Files, Sanford and Son