There's a show on XM called My Favorite Song hosted by John Benjamin Hickey. I've been falling in love with it lately. On the show, the host has different celebrities fill out a questionnaire detailing their favorite song in different categories, like Favorite Sad Song or Favorite Workout Song, and then they come on the show to elaborate. During the interview, as each song is brought up, it's played over the airwaves.
It's really great. It's so interesting to hear them talk about what songs they love and why - I've heard Sarah Jessica Parker, Tom Hiddleston, and Ellen Burstyn. It kind of reminds me of a very short, music-themed version of Inside the Actor's Studio, but without creepy James Lipton.
So this morning, I thought I'd share my list, according to the categories that John Benjamin Hickey asks his guests. I wish I was sitting down with each of you to hear yours!
Favorite Workout Song
This is such a cheesy choice, because this song is kind of terrible, but this is the song that I listened to over and over while getting in shape for mine and Jordan's wedding. I always played this song at the very end of my run, when I was really exhausted, to give me that last burst of energy - every time I heard it, I would imagine everyone dancing at our reception and how exciting that would be!
Favorite Rock and Roll Song
Because it's just fantastic. This song reminds of why the word "epic" is used to describe music. It makes you feel like you can fly a little bit.
Favorite Love Song
Had to include both versions. Both these women are so iconic, SO incredible - changed music in their own rights. This may seem like a clichéd choice, but it's only because these songs have become so popular since they were released. Go back and listen to these songs as though you've never heard them before and just sink into having your heart melted. This song is transcendent, every single time.
Favorite Happy Song
This is one of those songs that, for whatever reason, is stuck in my head almost every single morning that I wake up. Half of it is probably because my dad used to sing this around the house growing up, and the other half is because it says, "Gotta get up, gotta get goin'," in the first lyric. Either way, this is an easy choice for me - this upbeat cover by one of my all-time favorite, if not terribly well-known, artists is just about as happy as it gets. It reminds me of growing up with parents who made sure Parker and I were well-versed in all kinds of music, not just (almost never, actually) Top 40's.
Favorite Song From High School
Oh MAN. The first four bars of this song take. me. BACK. This song technically came out when I was in middle school, but it represents high school for me in so many ways. My friend Jennifer and I called this our "pick me up song," and every time it came on, we'd dance around like lunatics. This also opened up a deep obsession with Jimmy Eat World for me that lasted about 5 years - their subsequent records, Futures and Chase This Light were just so freakin' major within the four walls of my white '94 Ford Explorer. This song is high school wrapped up in a bow.
Favorite Song to Dance To
May seem like an unusual choice, but this song is the first song I learned to how to do a line dance to at Camp Sumatanga, which was a HUGE part of my adolescence. Every time I hear this song, no matter where I am, even if I'm sitting down, I do all the moves from the line dance that I learned when I was 13.
Ski, ski, ski, ski, ski ski ski ski TREE!
Favorite Sad Song
Really, I could go all day on Favorite Sad Songs because I am #emo. No, but really, I could - so many of my favorite songs ARE sad songs. I think it's because when an artist writes a sad song, they mean it so hard - it just grabs you by the guts and won't let you go.
Live Oak is one of the most haunting songs I've ever heard, and Jason Isbell, being the other-worldly lyricist he is, slays me with the line, "There's a man who walks beside her, he is who I used to be - and I wonder if she sees him and confuses him with me. And I wonder who she's pining for on nights I'm not around - could it be the man who did the things I'm living down?"
Ghost in this House is not only one of my favorite sad songs to listen to, but also to sing. It's technically very challenging, though musically simple, and the lyrics to that song paint such a vivid picture of what it means to be lonely without love.
Frankly, just get out of here if you don't like this song.
Something about David Bowie dying recently makes this even more of a FREAKING MIRACLE to listen to. You guys, if there's no other song you play from this entire post, make it this one. Please, make it this one. If this doesn't just tear you apart, you're already dead.
And for an added treat, here's the isolated vocal from this song, if you've never heard it. Prepare for your brain to be absolutely motherf*cking melted. (Excuse the language, kind of. It's warranted.)
These two voices, totally a capella, JUST FREAKIN' KILLING IT.
Favorite Guilty Pleasure Song
May or may not know all the words to this. To be honest, the entire album Big Willie Style is my guilty pleasure. It's so freakin' good. I can't help it. So many family car jam sessions rapping to this song. I think learning all the female backup vocals to Will Smith's songs is when I realized I could kind of sing.
"Cause we see things that you need not see; we be places that you need not be."
Favorite Christmas Song
All-time favorite Christmas song. And written by a Birmingham-Southern College graduate, to boot. Beautiful in every single way.
Favorite Live Song
Yeah, okay so here's the story on this one. Freddie Mercury died in fall of 1991, and this was a tribute concert for AIDS awareness organized in his honor that took place in spring 1992. Nobody thought that George Michael, of WHAM! fame, could take on the extremely difficult vocal of this song, but he took it on.
And he CRUSHED IT.
Watch this video and prepare to be covered in goosebumps when literally thousands of people clap along to a tribute for a man whose mark on music was indelible.
Favorite Show Tune
It's a no-brainer.
The number of times I have sung this song in my car, in the shower, in my bedroom as an 8-year-old in a newsboy cap using the posts on my four-poster bed as streetlights to lean on - I cannot count them. Seriously, hundreds and hundreds of times. This song is such a gut-punch. Before I even knew what it meant to be heartbroken, I knew how to sing this song backwards and forwards. Lea Salonga = my girl for life.
My dream role in my next life when I'm a Broadway star.
Favorite Song From a Movie
Did you want to cry this morning? You're welcome.
Once I had a birthday party where we watched Stepmom and all sobbed our eyeballs out. Since then, it's been a song that my friends and I love and play when we're with each other. A symbol of the kind of closeness that doesn't mind distance or years - permanent, intimate, joyful, wonderfulness that only exists in friendships.
"If you ever need a helping hand, I'll be there on the double, just as fast as I can."
...why am I crying?!
Jordan and I had the good fortune of meeting our wedding band weeks before we got married, because they played at someone else's wedding. We asked them what their favorite songs to play for first dances were, and this was the first one they said. We told them we'd never heard it, so they said they'd play it for us during the second half of the reception and point at us so we'd know it was the song they mentioned.
An hour later, we were back on the dance floor, and the lead singer pointed at us while the band started playing this song. Jordan grabbed my hand and we started dancing, and (of course) I started crying, knowing this was definitely going to be our wedding song. Four months later, we danced our hearts out and loved every second of it.
...although I guess you could also say this was a wedding song, too.