Friday Five: Favorites

I’m participating in the “impact albums” meme on Facebook and I struggled while selecting my ten albums (that’s the number in the version I was tagged in).

From the top, I decided to eliminate “greatest hits” or compilations of any sort (including soundtracks). That took away quite a bit, because in my twenties my musical explorations often happened through those kinds of albums. They might not have been the best compilations for those artists either, but they meant a lot to me because they’re the ones I bought.

Then there were the albums that had a few songs that were big in my rotation at a certain point in my life, but had a lot of other songs I didn’t listen to all that much. These were the hard eliminations because while the albums might have been super important to me, not enough of it was in terms of total percentage of content when compared to others. Even if the songs they carried meant more to me than most, I eliminated them based on that percentage, rather than the degree of love I had for them.

That means there are many songs that didn’t make the final cut for me. So here’s a list of five of those:

5. “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” by Colin Hay (1998)
I first heard this song on the soundtrack to the movie Garden State (2004). Colin Hay is the former front man for the 80s Australian band Men at Work.

4. “The Joker” by The Steve Miller Band (1973)
In all honesty, I doubt there’s an album I know better than the second volume of Steve Miller’s hits collection, “Greatest Hits 1974-78.” In the 80s and 90s it was not uncommon for the album to pop into the top 100 in terms of sales, probably based solely on college kids buying it through their Columbia House or BMG memberships. In short, he was the drinking music of many a college keg party.

3. “That Feel” by Tom Waits (1992)
This song (a duet with Keith Richards) is the last song on Waits’ 1992 album Bone Machine. The only reason that the album didn’t make my cut was because one of his other albums was more revolutionary for me. Bone Machine was a close second. This was the stand out for me, a song that sounds like two drunk alley cats singing late at night.

2. “What It Takes” by Aerosmith (1989)
My cassette tape of Aerosmith’s 1989 blockbuster album was as well played as any I ever owned, but almost entirely for side 1. Songs like “Janie’s Got a Gun” and “Love in an Elevator” were the hits that made it such a solid seller. My favorite song, however, was the last on side 2. I nearly wore the cassette out just to play it again and again…

1. “Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison (1968)
My first Van Morrison album was his The Best of Van Morrison. I bought it in college and a good chunk of the songs (except for the Christian ones, late in the 21 song collection) were in heavy rotation with me and friends during college. I have a fondness for so many, but “Sweet Thing” (originally from the legendary Astral Weeks) moved me like no other. The slow build up and gradual orchestral feel were among my favorite aspects.

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