Unlike my cowriter Thurston Howell, I do not pride myself in being a hipster enough music geek to know and be a fan of the wide range of underground rap, funk, and indie music that he is so often prone to listen to. Although there are some under the radar songs that I will listen to from time to time, for the most part you will find my iPod or music library filled with albums and artists that the a-little-more-than-casual music listener will recognize. As such, I have decided to post five of my favorite songs that you definitely should know about.
5. Flashing Lights – Kanye West Feat. Dwele
(Caution, mild lyrics)
A lot of people do not like Kanye West because of his media persona of being an entitled jerk (or at least that’s the role he plays). That being said, those people probably do not listen to his music for that reason, and are blinded by their own false opinions. If you have a respect for good production, good beats, and smart lyrics, provided you like rap/hip-hop, you should like Kanye. Flashing Lights is his best song overall, although if you like this he has many, many more to offer.
4. Shoot to Thrill – AC/DC
I have always loved this song, coming off AC/DC’s best Brian Johnson album, Back in Black. But when Marvel (in one of their few good calls) decided to use it as Tony Stark’s hand-picked Iron Man theme, it started working its way into many of my playlists. It is a perfect song for a summer drive, a game of Halo, or jumping out of an airplane in your high-tech prosthesis.
3. Summertime Sadness – Lana del Rey
I will readily admit that I am in love with Lana del Rey. Despite all her obvious shortcomings and eccentricities, and the fact that she writes from a female perspective, I just love her lyrics. The hipster inside me hates that this song receives so much attention, as I thought that maybe “Blue Jeans” or “Young and Beautiful” would be her best known songs, but according to the 88 million views on youtube I might be wrong. In line with hipster methodology, I discovered this song way before it hit radio play, so my love affair with it is definitely longer than yours. The main thing I love about this track is the vividity of her lyrics. If you simply close your eyes and listen, you cannot help but picture in bright color exactly what is going on in this song. It just makes it seem so real.
2. Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones
From Call of Duty : Black Ops, to Scorsese films The Departed, Goodfellas, and, Casino, chances are you know this song perhaps not by title but by tune. Written in 1969, this song is written by Mick Jagger in a apocalyptic type feeling, with the Vietnam war weighing prominently on his mind. Just like Shoot to Thrill, this song is even more perfect (if such a thing exists) for a sordidly hot and sticky summer day with the top down and aviators on. Although Jagger may have written requesting shelter from the violence at the time, today we can create a twofold meeting out of it. Just pick the newest war that our country has decided to take place in, and play it on a Pennsylvanian day in July and you are well on your way to being a complex individual.
1. Wonderwall – Oasis
If you know me at all, this song should come as no surprise to you. In fact, you are probably rolled your eyes just as you saw what song number one was. Although this is not my favorite version of this song (songwriter Noel Gallagher does a killer solo version), it is nonetheless the one that I have deemed my favorite song for at least the better part of my music listening life. Do I know why this song is my favorite? To be honest, not really. I cannot pinpoint an exact reason, because I simply love everything about it. It is simply my favorite song by my favorite band.