Excerpt from My Memoir: My Favorite Ten Songs

My memoir includes many lists. They are fun for me to write and give a snapshot into a particular facet of me and my life.

They also force choices . Stuck on a desert island, what ten songs would I never get tired of hearing?

LolaHere they are, in order of favorite (year of release is in parenthesis).

  • Lola, the Kinks. (1970). I didn’t hear this until college, but once I did, that was it. It has been my all-time favorite song since. The music, the storytelling, his voice – it’s all perfect.
  • Criminal, Fiona Apple. (1997). Saw her live in concert on her 20th birthday in 1997 at a music festival at the Shoreline Amphitheatre south of SF. She is a tiny woman but played that piano and sang ferociously.
  • Jolene, Cake. (1994). I love every song of theirs but this early one is far and away my favorite.
  • Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O’Connor. (1990). Perfect anthem for my angst-y heart in college.
  • Lose Yourself, Eminem. (2002). Not a fan of his but listen to this song and try not to get pumped. I try not to listen to it too often – I don’t want to dilute its power. It’s equally powerful for motivating me to write and run.
  • Billie Jean, Michael Jackson. (1982) That opening bassline. That’s all you need to hear. I pretty much wore out our copy of the record Thriller. Yes, we had the record.
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana. (1991). May seem old hat now – trite, even – but I was in my fourth year of college when this came out and it really did change the music scene instantly. It holds up brilliantly twenty (twenty?!) years later.
  • Someone Like You, Adele. (2011). Chills. Every time I hear it.
  • Hotel California, the Eagles. (1977). I heard this often growing up. Along with Janis Joplin (whose intensity scared me as a kid), the Beatles, Credence Clearwater Revival, etc. This song, though, is the only one I have never tired of.
  • Escape – The Pina Colada Song (1979). This uber-cheesy song didn’t become a favorite until after Dan and I got together. It’s more a sentimental favorite than because of any redeeming lyrical or musical quality. (Bonus: it appears in my all-time favorite movie, American Splendor.)

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