5.30.2010

Pass me the Kleenex for these musical gems......

When I was in college, one of my many passions was getting the chance to share my love and knowledge of music through my writing. Being a Managing Editor on our school newspaper, The Cormont, I felt I had the opportunity to be open about what I loved in certain types of music. There were articles about my favorite "panty picks", summer songs, artists to look out for, etc. And now, years later, I miss not continuing to do those. 

Oh sure, on occasion I've been known to make a few lists regarding my life or favorite songs off of mixes that I've created, but today after listening to an epic rendition of "Faithfully," I decided to start another list. What's been missing from my life is the ability to connect my favorite things the way I used to. It's not like I haven't been writing, but if you saw how many unfinished posts I actually had on my blog, you'd wonder why I didn't get the inspiration or drive to finish them. Truth is, I don't know how to continue them. Yes, I have passion while writing, but it fades when I've finally shared all the words I can. 

But today, I decided it was time to start using and combining my talents again, because without music or writing, I don't think I'd be who I am today. 

I wouldn't have been published in an Anthology. 
I wouldn't have learned how to sing. 
I wouldn't have learned how to play piano. 
I wouldn't have learned what it took to be in front of a crowd, sharing my most intimate moment through an artistic expression......and making them feel the emotion that I wanted to convey.

So today, after hearing "Faithfully" done so amazingly well by the cast of Glee, I decided to give you, in no particular order, my top ten 'tear-jerker' picks:

1) Faithfully by Journey (and the Glee Cast Version): This song is epic, on so many different levels. The words, the voice, the raw emotion that goes into Steve Perry's deliverance of the message. Yes, it's about a man sharing with the woman he loves that no matter what happens or where he goes, that she's the only one for him. Funnily enough, Steve Perry did not write this song, the keyboardist did. He wrote it for his wife to tell her that despite the fact that he was on the road away from her, he wanted to come home to her and only her. I can relate to that, dating a musician who is sometimes on the road while I'm at home, waiting for him to come home to me so I can remember all the reasons why I fell in love with him. And the version that the cast of Glee has created......just epic and beautiful. (For those of you who know the show, I think Finn and Rachel will definitely end up together, no matter what happens.)

2) Barbara by The Beach Boys: Yes, I know that they have a song Barbara Ann out there, but this song is different. It was written by Dennis Wilson and in my opinion, is just so simple with the words, but moving all the same. Dennis wrote it for his wife, conveying all the feelings that he feels when he's with her. Matt was the first one to introduce me to this song and I'm glad that he did, because we can relate to the words. I can still remember when I heard him share these words with me:

Every day is a special day for me
Living with you
Just being with you
All my love, for all my life, my love, my love
Just for you
For I love to sing songs for you

The simplicity in the meaning moved me to tears the first time I heard these words. And while it is another musician-themed song, where the song Faithfully is more epic, this one is more tender and sweet.

3) Your Song by Sir Elton John: Let's face it......Elton is the man when it comes to some of the all-time iconic songs of our lives! Goodbye Yellow Brick Road? Classic. Tiny Dancer? An instant sing-a-long hit! Candle in the Wind.......both versions? There is not a dry eye in the house. Yet this song......one of my favorites, carries such an intimate moment between a man and his lover. There he is, wanting to share that this is their song and while it's not perfect, it's theirs. I think on some level, we all wish we could have moments like that where we have someone who goes out of their way to share exactly what they're feeling.......in the most creative of ways. You can't help but want to love the song itself. Even the line about the color of the eyes, that he may have forgotten the color, but they're the most beautiful eyes he's ever seen. Who wouldn't want to hear those words? 

4) Never is a Promise by Fiona Apple: Not all 'tear-jerkers' are romantic ballads......even though it would be nice for each one to be romantically involved. But this doesn't mean that this song is any less Kleenex-worthy. Fiona Apple isn't really known for getting loud when she's hurt or angry in her music. Instead, she carries this "quiet storm" of emotion, grabbing you at the very core of your soul. I remember that when I first heard this song, it wasn't really moving to me......until my freshman year of college when my mother had succumbed to her manic-depressive state. At this time in my life, I was dealing with all of these feelings and emotions that I had never thought I'd be dealing with. I was only 18 years old, having to understand why my mother was constantly making me cry and feel guilty for being a regular teenager. It felt like she didn't know me, didn't care to know who I was, and instead did her best to make me feel like I wasn't good enough with the person that I wanted to be. I had to do everything she asked me to do. I had to sacrifice for her. I had to defend myself against the lies she had created in her delusions about my current home-life with my father. I can still remember the one line that always caught me:

I don't know what to believe in
You don't know who I am

I was so lost, thinking that I was supposed to have a mom who supported me and understood me. Someone who wouldn't tear me down any chance she had. Someone who could respect my wishes when I asked for space or time to process my feelings. And while I know now that she wasn't well when all this is happening, this song is still my go-to song when I need to just cry and process life.......Kleenex always on hand.

5) That I Would Be Good by Alanis Morissette: There's always a song or two that's necessary to hear when one feels insecure and unsure of life. And I'm sad to say that in quite a few years of my life, I've been insecure. I've felt like I haven't been good enough or strong enough to do the things I've needed to do. And while this isn't a strong, empowering number, it's one of those songs that has always reminded me that no matter what happens in my life, I was going to be ok, whether that be in a life I wasn't satisfied with or without people around me. I knew I could be just fine, I would always come out the other side. I may have had a few scars to show for it, but I'd get through everything the best way I knew how: one step at a time. 

6) Is It Okay If I Call You Mine? by Paul McCrane: I have my college friends and parents to thank for getting me into more musical theatre-type music. The first time I heard this song, I was a sophomore at Marymount College, hanging out in my friend Ileana's room. She kept raving about this song and knowing how much I loved music, wanted me to hear it. When I had met my ex-fiancee in my junior year, that song really hit home for me. I remember just how much I wanted to be with him, to call him mine for just a little while. Those words, just like most of my favorite songs, were simple and heartfelt, with a deeper meaning. I couldn't wait to be around him, to get to know him better. While I now find a deeper parallel with that song in my current boyfriend, I love how Paul McCrane's voice takes these simple phrases and hopes to share how even for at least a little while, he wants to be with this person that has consumed his thoughts. 

7) This Beauty by Amanda Rogers (Jupiter Sunrise): Not a mainstream number, but a moving song all the same. I love the way Amanda conveys how people view her as such a beautiful person, even though she may be talking about her own insecurities and pointing them out at every turn. And if she could, she would stop paying attention to the media's notion of the image of being beautiful and focus on what's important: what people really see when they look at her. With all the different types of media focusing on the idea of beauty being skinny waists and accentuating "the goods" with provocative apparel and makeup........it's easy for the women of our time to feel that disappointment when they can't live up to the standards that media wants them to be. But let's face it: it's better to truly be who you are rather than someone you're not. And the way Amanda Rogers evokes emotion in her song.......I definitely get just a little choked up.

8) Hello Again by Neil Diamond: Ah, how could I pass up not talking about Neil? Whenever I hear the strings intro to this song.......it gives me goosebumps. And the way they use this song in the movie The Jazz Singer? Such a classic scene. Neil comes back to his woman and when he sees her, all those old feelings return and in that moment, the only thing on his mind is just to tell her "hello" and to show her that he realizes how much he needs her in his life. He knows he has looked at her many times before, but this one is different. Whenever Matt is on the road and he calls me at after a show, I'm reminded of this song just a little bit. Just the idea that after all of the music, madness, and girls around him, that I'm the one he wants to talk to at the end of the night. And the words..........need I say anything more?

9) The Right Place by Andy Mac: Not all of my 'tear-jerkers' are mainstream/classic songs......this one is no exception! While I find some of the words to not be as clear-cut and simple as some of my other favorites, this gem is definitely one to not pass up. Mac delivers the idea that in the simplest of moments, one can realize that they are exactly where they need to be in life. More and more lately, I connect with that simple message. While for so long, I struggled with who I was in a relationship and kept coming up short, I found that relationship to change the game. That relationship that makes you realize that that person is what makes you feel more complete than you've felt in a long time. True, you should really be complete with  yourself before being in a relationship, but I love how this song really touches on the aspect of being complete with your significant other/love interest. The one person whose smile or quirky mannerism is all you need in life to feel everything fall into place. 

10) Question by Old 97s: While I know a few people won't understand how moving this song truly is, I'm going to take the time to put it as the final song on my list. Oh sure, there are sooooo many other songs that I could've come up with for this final number (and believe me, I'm a HUGE 'tear-jerker' song fan), but I have to share this one. A man putting into words the instant that he wants to propose to the one he loves. I could probably go on and on about how great this song is, but I'd rather you hear it. Simplistic and tender......perfect combination.

*BONUS*
11) Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley: Now yes, this is a cover of the Leonard Cohen version, but Jeff Buckley's version is so melodic and haunting. There are so many interpretations to the song itself, but I love the one I take from it: the idea of a love that hurts you so much it causes physical pain. There are so many songs about the fluffy, happy side of love that I love how this song is the "dark side," so to speak. Yes, the themes are more sexual and ominous, but that's what makes this work. One of my favorite verses is the following: 

Baby I've been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor
You know, I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

The way Buckley sings about love being this cold and hurtful thing......it just makes you feel that heartbreak that he's telling you about. Oh yeah, a box of tissues is necessary to get through this number.

***************************

I definitely plan on making more Top Tens, especially ones that focus on the types of music I'm surrounded by/love listening to/hate/stumbled upon by accident. Until then, if anyone has any ideas for a list, comments are appreciated! 

~Jenny Rockstar

1 comment:

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