This is a doomed project. There just aren’t enough of us here, and the momentum is swinging toward Instapunk Rules, where all hell is about to break loose. But I’ll proceed nonetheless. Why? Because we all have a Top 100 of songs, soundtracks, anthems, arias, whatever, that constitute the sonic context of our lives. Top Ten doesn’t begin to cover it or make the point.
See, it’s the whole hundred that shows us to ourselves. A number that makes us dig, makes us recognize that we’re more complicated than we seem even to ourselves. Life is rich, people. And so are you. You have lived in all kinds of music, which may even constitute a sort of map of your soul. You might say, for example, I’m a Motown girl, but there’s more to your life than the Supremes and the Temptations. You heard that song from Titanic once, you watched MTV for years you scarcely remember, you were in a jazz club where somebody played the cornet too beautifully for words, you saw a Fred Astaire movie where he stuck your heart like a dart, your parents listened to Neil Diamond or Neil Young, your one time fiancé liked Rachmaninov, and these bits of music are all attached to you, whether you see yourself that way or not. You are the sum total of these musics. That’s why the challenge is not ten but a hundred.
An invitation for you to see who you are.
I’ve already been through the exercise. Eye opening. Facilitated by iTunes. The problem was not reaching 100. It was the amount of time I wound up listening and the limitation to a mere hundred.
Why I’m prepared to strike a bargain. I wouldn’t want my list to spark a me too response. And I frankly believe that people here are mostly too uptight to open themselves to this kind of personal exploration. Hint: If all of your top hundred are growly derivatives of Metallica, you’re probably Brizoni. Which no one wants to learn about himself.
The bargain? Try to be as expansive as you can. Don’t try to show off. If your list is all Broadway show tunes, that’s not bad news. It’s insight for you. Share your list as far you can push it, song/opus title and performer/composer, and however far you get toward 100, that’s how far I’ll go. If someone gets to 30, I’ll do 30. If someone gets to 100, I’ll do 100. Simple enough?
Not a ranked list by the way. Everything is equal in this competition. If 99 Red Balloons is #1 on your list because it’s the first thing you think of we won’t assume you like it better than the third movement of Beethoven’s Ninth you list at #88. The same. All part of your Top 100.
There are no prizes, sad to say. Just an opportunity for you to realize how much depth and diversity there is in your own experience of life. And the opportunity to share it with others.
Lady Laird was giving me a hard time about this. “So there are maybe three, four songs of the hundred that aren’t Stones?”
“Yes,” I told her with some asperity. And I meant it to sting.
Now. What I expect. A few half-assed top ten lists. A lot more silence. Which is okay. But not nearly as much fun as the tangle we could get into by listing our lives in song and hearing each others’ memories. Unless you’re not up for an intimacy more real than hooking up at a college mixer.
That would be up to you.
P.S. Yeah, I used the word doom. Zevon is dead. A decade now. The good news is I didn’t choose the final track of his final album, called The Wind. That would be bad news. But it is on my list.