I have often said that silence is my best comfort. But I also have phases during which I need music. I listen to a play list on my phone when I need the comfort of familiarity. I like some of them for the lyrics, some for the music, mostly for both. I have two lists. One, Western music and the other, Indian. I’ll share my Western list, because the Indian is too eclectic and all over the place (e.g. MSS-Chaurasia-Ilayaraja-Balamurali- Mandolin Srinivas etc.)
Imagine: John Lennon: This one goes for the lyrics, the music and melody being very simple. There was a time in my youth when I would tear up at the song. These days I don’t, in fact, sometimes I have this nagging thought that the words “Imagine no possessions….no need for greed or hunger” was sung by a man whose net worth was $800 million at the time of his death. Still…
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
I believe in you: Don Williams. Again, a simple song with a soothing tune and warm lyrics. I don’t know anything about the life of the singer, so there is no hypocrisy that I perceive. My favourite lines in the song are given below, and the line in bold gives me goose-pimples every single time.
Well, I don’t believe that heaven waits, For only those who congregate
I’d like to think of God as love, He’s down below He’s up above
He’s watchin’ people everywhere, He knows who does and doesn’t care
And I’m an ordinary man, Sometimes I wonder who I am.
The Sound of Silence – Simon and Garnfunkle. The lyrics are not very impressive to me, except perhaps the meme-worthy first line “Hello darkness, my old friend”, which I learned he came up in the bathroom – I’ll never look at the bathroom the same way again — but I love the harmony in the song, I also like the rhyme of words throughout the song, but it’s mostly the music in this one.
La Isla Bonita – Madonna – Love Madonna’s voice. There are two female voices that mesmerise me. One is Madonna, and the other our own MSS. Both have voices that are like dipping into cold spring water – crisp and fresh. Madonna’s voice is very young and innocent in this song. That’s why I hate her latest album Rebel Heart – the voice does not match the rebellious tone of the songs.
While my guitar gently weeps – The Beatles: I don’t understand the lyrics of this one, which is strange, because apparently Harrison was inspired by Indian and Eastern philosophy when he wrote this piece. I like the guitar work, in this, in which Eric Clapton apparently contributed without formal credit. I don’t like Harrison’s use of sitar in some of the earlier Beatles work, because I think he had the interest, but could’t get the actual sound of the sitar right. In this work, although the guitar does seem to have a bit of his sitar forays, there is some form of nativity. I also like the voice of Harrison in this song – it’s a little tentative and raw.
Hotel California – Eagles: This is one of the songs in which I love both the lyrics and the music. The song symbolises life itself , especially “This could be heaven, or this could be hell”, “Some dance to remember, some dance to forget” and “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”. My fav verses in the song:
Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said, ‘we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast
Scarborough Fair – Simon and Garfunkle: Love love love the harmony in this very canticle-like piece. I don’t get the lyrics though. I mean, the individual ones, yes. One is a rustic song about setting impossible tasks to choose the love of one’s life, and the other is a war song. But why superimpose these two? I don’t get it. That aside, beautifully done.
Because – The Beatles: What vocals…what vocals
Careless whisper –George Michael: This is a funny choice. My first crush in life was a big George Michael fan, until he realised that GM was gay, and then he decided he would have nothing to do with any of his songs. I have no idea what became of him, and I don’t even remember the chap too well now, but this song, Careless whisper makes me feel young. I love the rhyme in the song.
Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton: The lyrics and the rendition. Clapton does not have a singing voice and struggles with the rendition, but somehow he comes out very honest and raw in this song. Perhaps because he wrote it in his time of grief.
There are a few more – Top of the world (Carpenters), Yesterday once more (also Carpenters), Que Sera Sera (Doris Day), a few Tom Pettys, traveling Wilburys etc., but I am out of steam.
Have a good week folks.