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So let’s say you had to name an undetermined yet relatively small number of your favorite songs “of all time,” as reflected in your current mood. If I were to do that, it would probably look like this (alphabetical by artist):

  • “Creature Fear,” by Bon Iver
  • “Moya,” by Godspeed You Black Emperor
  • “The Only Tune,” by Nico Muhly
  • “Peach, Plum, Pear,” by Joanna Newsom
  • “Magazine,” by Pedro the Lion
  • “Atom Heart Mother,” by Pink Floyd
  • “The Rip,” by Portishead
  • “Exit Music (for a film),” by Radiohead
  • “Somedays,” by Regina Spektor
  • “Radio Cure,” by Wilco

January 12, 2010 - Posted by | Music


  1. Honorable mention: The Beatles’ “You Never Give Me Your Money.”

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | January 12, 2010

  2. That Nico Muhly tune is terrific. Did you have the chance to see him and Amidon in concert? I am grateful to ben for heckling me out the door when they were in L.A.

    Comment by K-sky | January 12, 2010

  3. Using my iTunes ratings to construct such a list is nigh on useless. Songs I love, songs I loved, and songs whose awesomeness I had to recognize whatever my personal feelings all romp freely together in the top bracket.

    FWIW, I did just put up a mix of songs that I like a lot right now. The cover of This Must Be The Place, especially when set to a video that quotes one of my favorite movies, is currently in favorite song territory.

    I’m not exactly sure how to square my current mood against my all-time favorites — is that deliberately paradoxical? but I would gander that “Stay Free” by the Clash, “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen, “Cheat” by Franklin Bruno (as performed by Jenny Toomey), “Baby I’m A Star” by Prince and “No Children” by Mountain Goats all work. They are all songs that whether or not I feel like hearing them now, the pleasure I took in them and emotional connection that I had to them still seems genuine and accessible.

    What do you mean by that, anyway?

    Comment by K-sky | January 12, 2010

  4. I was deliberately striving for paradox, to undermine the definitiveness of my list — and also to capture something of the feel of making a mix for someone (whether romantically involved or not), and how I always feel like I have to navigate between the perennial favorites and what I’m listening to lately.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | January 12, 2010

  5. Physical Cities – The Bad Plus
    Waste of Paint – Bright Eyes
    Halleluhwah – Can
    Hemvägen – Detektivbyrån
    Biblical Violence – Hella
    Mercy – Lucky Dragons
    The Past is a Grotesque Animal – Of Montreal
    I’ll Believe in Anything – Wolf Parade

    Comment by micah | January 12, 2010

  6. I tend not to listen to songs, but to albums. On the way in to campus on Monday, I listened to Mobb Deep’s “The Infamous” and Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s “The Main Ingredient” on the way home. However, when doing errands, I usually leave the radio on scan–I’ve enjoyed Boston and 38 Special lately on the radio. Phil Collins and Lady Gaga, too.

    Comment by Craig | January 13, 2010

  7. When I see lists like these, it makes me feel like I spend less time thinking about or listening to music than anybody in the world.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | January 13, 2010

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