I feel like whenever I tell people how passionate I am for music, I get the same questions over and over again. “Who is your favorite band?” What is your favorite song?” “What is the best album of all time?”
I hate the first question. Music is a big enough medium that I feel like it is an injustice to say that there is a single “Best Band” or who my favorite is. I have been in love with music for as long as I can remember and I don’t want to name a favorite.
The best album of all time is treated in the same way in my mind. I can understand that there have been albums that have really touched peoples lives or have stood out among the rest, but for me, I will stick to saying there isn’t a best.
Now, what my favorite songs? This is something that I did a lot of soul searching to discover. And that will be the meat of this first blog. To make this whole process easier and better, I will be discussing my top three favorite songs.
Broken – Seether featuring Amy Lee
” I don’t feel right when you’ve gone away… “
Anyone who knows me will not be surprised for a second that a duet with a man and a women made it onto my top list of songs. I am such a sucker for the variance between how a man’s voice works along side a really powerful woman’s. And who else can deliver that then Shaun Morgan and Amy Lee together. What makes this song special outside my own personal feelings, is that they were together as a couple to make the song. This adds a really personal sense of romance to the song that makes it just that much more impactful.
As for my personal feelings for this song, it really takes me back to another time and to a whole new realm of emotion. This song was a massive success reaching the 20th spot on the Top 40 charts in 2004, the year it was released and was certified Gold selling over 100,000 copies of the single. and comparing everything that we were hearing at the time, especially in the mainstream music scene, this was definitely the black sheep of the time for it’s somber lyrics and melancholy tone and timbre. Musically this song is beautiful. One of my favorite things about the song is that it was recorded multiple times on different albums. Other versions are just the solo by Seether, and it is in a different key.
The song doesn’t change much, but it definitely has something missing. That gaping hole is filled by dropping the guitar tuning down to E Flat and adding the female counterpoint to the song. also the orchestra that was included in the later version really adds a different dynamic that makes the song soar above the original. Lyrically this song is outstanding and the part that touches me personally. It deals a lot with the idea of a lot of inner turmoil and becoming dependent on others. The idea of feeling “Broken” is something that a lot of people have had to go through, and I am so thankful that they were able to convey that feeling through song and help people not feel so alone in that feeling.
What makes me so drawn into this song, was that I was in a very serious relationship and had lots of feelings invested, and sadly things did not work out, but afterwords I definitely had a better appreciation for the song and its meaning. That feeling of being empty and hollow without the other person was something that hit me like a ton of bricks and i really appreciated the song for its message so that I didn’t feel so alone in going through all that. But now that I have grown up and gone through the motions of moving forward, I still turn to this song and think of all the emotion packed into this song and how much it impacted me and carried me through some of the toughest emotional times in my life.
Hate Me – Blue October
” Hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you… “
Wow. There are so many things to say about this song, and this band as a whole. There were so many times that I would listen to their albums, and just relate to line after line, which was terrible because Justin Furstenfeld was a bipolar meth addict and was very open about it and how it destroyed his life and the relationships around him. I was just so engrossed by everything that was said though, because it was saying things that I wasn’t sure could be put into words, let alone lyrics to a song.
The song brings up the topic of self loathing, so much so that you want to burn all bridges around you so that you can stop worrying and stop lying to everyone about how things are and how much of a burden you feel like. These were very real feelings in my life. I was actively in the mindset where I was so self-destructive that I couldn’t connect with anyone anymore. I was dependent on so many things emotionally and I just hated that it had taken over me like it did that i just wanted to sever all ties around me and figure out the rest alone. Thankfully I was in a situation where i was surrounded by people who care about me and slowly helped me dig myself out piece by piece whether they knew it or not.
Lyrically this song speaks volumes in my mind. It opens with a voicemail from his mother asking how things are and saying she loves him, then in bookended by the sound of breaking glass. Very interesting for someone going into the song with no knowledge of it, but after hearing the song and gaining context for who he was at the time and knowing the situation, i can totally understand the need to feel something break after hearing things like that. The song kicks in and it’s very mellow and very kind of quiet. Vocally, Justin sings in octaves layered over himself which is one of my favorite things to do vocally because it just adds a sense of body to the sound that makes it sound large, but can inversely make it almost eerie in the song, especially because the lower octave is just above a mumble in terms of volume. He sets up the story with lines like “… An ounce of peace is all i want for you, will you never call again” and ” will you never say that you love me, just to put it in my face. Will you never try to reach me, it is I that wanted space”. These lines are just heavy, but they are definitely real life. There are so many people that go through things like this, and I felt like I was one of them so I am grateful for the same reason as I mentioned above that someone was able to verbalize what I was going through mentally. A Day to Remember put it best when they said ” … It’s why sad songs make me happy, so I don’t have to feel alone”
Overall, it was lines like in the second verse that really wrap up my entire feelings that I want you as the reader to understand. ” In my sick way i want to thank you for holding my head up late at night. While I was waging wars on myself you were trying to stop the fight.” So if you’re reading this, you have probably helped me in more ways then you can possibly know because there are still times, even now, where these kinds of self destructive thoughts will creep into the back of my mind. So sincerely, thank you.
Everything Changes – Staind
” We could conquer the world and we could say that Forever is more than just a word “
We made it! my favorite song of all time. This was the first song to ever get an actual emotional response out of me, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember actually shedding tears when I laid in my bed just absorbed in the track. Coming out of middle school and starting high school was a weird time for me emotionally and for whatever reason, I became an emotional hermit. I was cold, and callus and stoic and had the emotional capacity of a rock. but I started to gain friends and even started dating a little, and started finding light in life. There were some definite rough patches here and there, but i just started to really accept that there was emotion that lived inside of me. Music was a huge propellant of this as well and this was the song that really opened the floodgates.
The simple guitar line just is a great compliment to Aaron Lewis’s voice for the cold open to the song. There is something almost defeatist about the singing which really resonated with me while listening and still remains so to this day. There is a beautiful simplicity to this song as well which does its job and not distracting from the main point of the song, being the lyrics.
Lyrically I attached to this song because of the attitude of the character in the song. using describing words like ” the devil in you” and “the mess you chose”. The song moves into the chorus to counter all these descriptors to say that Everything Changes. He can learn to feel if all is forgiven, and that really grabbed me because of my stoic nature that I talked about. This kind of talking really gave me hope that maybe I wasn’t meant to be so cold and calculated and could really let myself open up to people and learn what it was like to embrace all these new emotions for me. That was a wonderful feeling for teenage me because I tend to get sucked into my own head and get stuck there sometimes, so when I can escape that headspace, it was really refreshing. It still very much is nice to just get some things off my chest and have a real conversation and get invested in things. Some of the best experiences of my life have these emotional connections that I’m speaking of that wouldn’t have happened if I never learned the ability to open myself and learn how to feel.
The ending is what got me. the vocals get down low and intimate and goes through these scenarios that can happen if things work out, and that got my inner romantic going. There was a sense of hope that just didnt exist at that time and it just burned inside me and brought me to my metaphorical knees and i broke in the best way. From then on, I just attached myself to the song and try to remember that hope that i felt and continue to try to find meaning in all these other songs.
There we have it. My top list! These are definitely subject to change in the future, but this is my story and Im sticking to it. I believe firmly that music is a fantastic tool that we have and we take it for granted sometimes. It’s easy when your an impressionable teenager with an early onset for depression to just sit and be consumed by the music in his headphones, but even as an adult I want to continue to find the emotion and purpose for the songs that we listen to everyday. I hope this blog will help you look for that same purpose but for your own good to help in every situation.