Via nothings, choose your favorite songs beginning with a given letter of the alphabet. Sean chose “F” for me.

Standard disclaimer about “favorite songs” lists: These are my favorites as of this moment in time. I can’t possibly construct anything like an “all-time favorites” list with something as emotional as music. Also, F seems to be a particularly strong letter for certain artists (for me, it was Liz Phair, Jackson Browne, and Simon & Garfunkel), so I’ve arbitrarily decided to limit the list slots to one per artist.

That said, here is the list:

  1. Aimee Mann – Fifty Years After The Fair (It hurts to even think of those days / The damage we do by the hopes that we raise)>
  2. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Find The Cost Of Freedom (All the brave soldiers that cannot get older been askin’ after you)
  3. Jean Sibelius & Lloyd Stone – Finlandia Hymn (This is my song, oh god of all the nations / A song of peace for lands afar and mine)
  4. Led Zeppelin – Fool In The Rain (Well there’s a light in your eye that keeps shining / Like a star that can’t wait for the night)
  5. Simon & Garfunkel – For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her (And when you ran to me, your cheeks flushed with the night / We walked on frosted fields of juniper and lamplight)
  6. The Beatles – For No One (Your day breaks / Your mind aches)
  7. Jackson Browne – Fountain Of Sorrow (But when you see through love’s illusions, there lies the danger / And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool)
  8. Buckingham Nicks – Frozen Love (You may not be as strong as me / And I may not care to teach you)
  9. Liz Phair – Fuck And Run (I woke up alarmed / I didn’t know where I was at first / Just that I woke up in your arms / And almost immediately, I felt sorry)
  10. Elton John – Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (The roses in the window box have tilted to one side / Everything about this house was born to grow and die)

Following Sean’s example, I’ve included a lyric snippet for those who don’t know the song, don’t remember titles well, or just like lyric snippets. Also copycatting, further explanations are behind the cut:

  1. Aimee Mann – Fifty Years After The Fair: This is a typically disappointed Aimee Mann song, with the twist of telling a story about a young couple who attended the 1939 New York World’s Fair, full of hope for the future, only to find that it wasn’t what it promised to be. Like many of the songs on this list, it’s here because I love the words.
  2. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Find The Cost Of Freedom: I find the harmonies on this song absolutely chilling, and they mesh perfectly with the subject matter.
  3. Jean Sibelius & Lloyd Stone – Finlandia Hymn: I heard this via the Indigo Girls, who sometimes do an a capella version in concert. It’s one of the few nationalistic lyrics I actively like, because it explicitly embraces the value of other nations alongside one’s own. It’s a plea for peace, and I relate to that pretty strongly right now.
  4. Led Zeppelin – Fool In The Rain: I mainly adore the drum, bass, and piano parts to this song, though I like the rest just fine. Joe Jackson’s “Fools In Love” made a strong run for this spot, but I’m a little burnt on the song because he performs it a lot. I’ve been listening to Physical Graffiti and having a renewed crush on Led Zeppelin, so Zep it is.
  5. Simon & Garfunkel – For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her: The innocent, almost painfully innocent lyrics, combined with Art Garfunkel’s high, sweet vocal tone make this song very moving for me.
  6. The Beatles – For No One: If there’s a no-brainer on this list, it’s this one. It has long been one of my very favorite Beatles songs. How I love the bitter, angry version of Paul McCartney. This and “I’m Looking Through You” are the pinnacle of that Paul.
  7. Jackson Browne – Fountain Of Sorrow: Again, it’s all about the lyrics here. It’s one of those utterly beautiful downers.
  8. Buckingham Nicks – Frozen Love: From the Buckingham Nicks album, which inexplicably has still never been released on CD. The harmonies are gorgeous, the melody swooping, the guitar lyrical. This was the song that Mick Fleetwood heard that prompted him to invite Lindsey & Stevie into Fleetwood Mac.
  9. Liz Phair – Fuck And Run: This is one of the many bright spots on Exile In Guyville. I love the bitter tone of the lyrics, and the spare production. (I’m not a bitter person, really! I just like depressing songs.)
  10. Elton John – Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding: This song kind of knocked me over when I first heard it. It’s a wonderful rock epic, for those who like that kind of thing. Of which I am one.

If you’d like to play, comment and I will pick a letter for you.

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8 responses »

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sure! Hit me.

  2. nothings says:

    I guess “4th of July” doesn’t actually start with ‘F’. I love the ‘what a waste of gunpowder and sky’ line.

    • paulobrian says:

      According to me it does start with F, and I did consider it. 50 Years edged it by just a bit.

      I love that line too. Also “verse, then a verse, then refrain.”

  3. kansasjenny says:

    I’ll take a letter, please. Do you just keep listing songs until you think you have enough?

    • kansasjenny says:

      Also, please describe for me the random method you are using to select my letter, because I miss you.

    • paulobrian says:

      I’ll take a letter, please.

      Wow, could this be kj’s first actual blog posting? How exciting! Or I guess you could do it in one long comment. I shiver with anticip…ation.

      And the letter is: L!

      Do you just keep listing songs until you think you have enough?

      WARNING: Geekery Ahead

      I actually have all my CDs and mp3s in a database, so I copied everything starting with F, 4, 5, “The F” and “A F” into a text file, then perused that file for songs that jumped out at me. I got a list of about 20, and culled that list down to 10 by eliminating artist duplicates and making fiddly choices.

      Also, please describe for me the random method you are using to select my letter, because I miss you.

      Oh dear, further geekery ahead. Some time ago, I wrote a little program for the Palm Pilot that generates random numbers given a set of bounds. So I just set my mini-randomizer for 1 to 26, and choose the corresponding letter. You got a 12.

      Got my Police ticket, by the way. Woo!

      I miss you too, dear. I feel like having a kid is turning me into a bad friend, which is bumming me out. Topic for another time, I guess.

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