I gave this post the title “Songs to Transport You.” Sure, you can listen to them on the bus, but that’s not my meaning today.
When I’m at work, the coffee house soundtrack is playing nonstop. I’ve noticed that some music clears my head, makes me a better person, or at least a happier one. Some music (specifically instrumental jazz and whiny skinny white girl indie-folk music) makes me cringe at best, and agitates me and makes my work performance decrease at worst!
I didn’t want to list those songs… they make me cringe and become agitated. So here is a list of “showstopper” tunes. Songs that make me pause, or songs I’m subconsciously compelled to sing along to; daresay I might even shuffle my feet a little.
“I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow”–The Soggy Bottom Boys.
I admit it–I’m a sucker for old-timey music. T-Bone Burnett masterfully produced the music for the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? and I’ve been grateful ever since.
“Down in the River to Pray”–Alison Krauss.
While we’re at it… I’m compelled to stop and sing along with the choir every time I hear this a capella piece. Same film. I love the whole soundtrack–even Ralph Stanley’s eerie, almost frightening “O Death.”
“I Wanna Be Sedated”–The Ramones.
Four young moptops from New York City. They make me grin and (God help us all…) tap my foot!
“Hit The Road, Jack”–Ray Charles.
I don’t need to say much about this genius; only that this track, done when he was in his 60s, is masterful and fun. Watching Ray Charles perform: I love it! He always manages to put a smile on my face.
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”–Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Simply put, absolutely beautiful. “Iz” died in 1997. Just a man and his ukulele.
This woman kills it! In a good way, of course. “Give me my propers when you get home!”
“Oh, Pretty Woman”–Roy Orbison.
There are far better renditions of this song, but I love both these guys, and they look like they’re genuinely enjoying themselves. Had to share it. A bit of disclaimer–I think Johnny Cash’s work is great, but none of his songs quite made the “I need to pull over the car and dance in my seat” cut.
Okay, folks: lest ye think that I’m hopelessly stuck in the music of the latter half of the 20th century. I love this song by indie band “Fun.” The video is really engaging as well. The lead singer reminds me a bit of Freddie Mercury, and the percussion… well, go ahead and listen to the track. I also enjoy their song “We Are Young,” but this one appeals to me more. Maybe because I’m not so young anymore.
“Fat Bottomed Girls”–Queen.
Speaking of Freddie Mercury (and being hopelessly trapped in an earlier decade)…
I’ve always loved Queen’s tight harmonies in this piece, the harsh guitars and the thumping bass. And the lyrics! What’s not to love? Of course if you love Queen, there is still “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Killer Queen,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” but this one this song–this difference is–this song makes the rockin’ world go ’round.
“How Great Thou Art”–Elvis Presley.
Anyone who says Elvis didn’t believe when he sang about God never saw this video. He falls totally into himself, into a worshipful state within his gospel roots, and afterwards seems almost embarrassed to take accolades from the crowd. This isn’t skinny Elvis or fat Elvis, or stoned Elvis. This is Mr Presley at his core, his regrets and sins and disappointments wiped away, for just a couple minutes. Then, back to the burden of being Elvis.
“Walk This Way.”–Aerosmith; Run DMC
From the secular back to the profane, Aerosmith and Run DMC teamed up to perform this 70s hit by the “bad boys from Boston.” It has everything–a great guitar hook, a bit of rap, amazing percussion, some screaming vocals, and a catchy tune. It even quotes “Hey Diddle Diddle”.
That’s about it.
What are the songs that transport your mood?