I’ve seen people on social media take part in these 30-day music challenges before, but sadly no one has ever challenged me. So I challenged myself! Pathetic? Sure. Fun? Yep!
Also, it turns out, the most challenging part of all of this was being allowed to pick only one song for each. Many of these prompts below resulted in an immediate mental list of at least five songs. But they didn’t call this a “challenge” for nothing! So I whittled my options down to one song each. Check it out…
1. A song people wouldn’t expect you to like
“Creep” by Radiohead
Because recently I expressed in another blog post just how much I don’t like or understand the popularity of Radiohead. “Creep” is definitely an exception for me though. It’s still as dark and dreary as the rest of their music, but as least has a song structure I can understand and relate to.
2. A song that calms you down
“End of the Line” by The Traveling Wilburys
Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison singing lines like “I’m just glad to be here, happy to be alive” and about “riding around on the breeze”… it doesn’t get more relaxing than that!
3. A song that you like hearing live
“Badlands” by Bruce Springsteen
I mean, does Bruce have any real competition here? It’s more a matter of which Bruce song to choose. So I went with one of my favorites. The pounding drums, the guitar and sax solos — it is truly large than life when heard live.
4. A song that would be the theme song to a TV show about your life
“Hold On Tight” by ELO
A coming-of-age dark comedy about a recent college grad finding employment–and herself–in NYC during the Great Recession.
5. A cover song
“My Sweet Lord” by Hurray For the Riff Raff
Seldom do I wish a classic song, like this one by George Harrison, was re-worked and covered by some other band. This is an exception though. Vocalist Alynda Segarra of HFTRR infuses a crazy amount of soulfulness into this continually building song that’s also been given some 60’s-girl-group treatment.
6. A song that moves you forward
“Time To Move On” by Tom Petty
An obvious, but necessary choice.
7. A favorite classical song
“Pas de Deux” from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky
The one truly bombastic and emotional song in this entire suite. I grew up dancing in The Nutcracker every Christmas and the music from this ballet will always hold a special place in my heart.
8. A favorite song from your preteen years
“Slide” by the Goo Goo Dolls
Call me basic, but twenty years and about 50,000 listens later, I still really like this song.
9. A song that I want played at my funeral
“Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison
“Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic…”
10. A song from the year that you were born
“With Or Without You” by U2
This is the year their hugely successful The Joshua Tree album came out. I think I’m only able to really like this band because I didn’t live through their initial success. If I had, I’d probably find Bono to be as annoying as a lot of people seem to.
11. A song to drive to
“Here I Go Again” by White Snake
God help me, I love hairband music.
12. A song that makes you want to dance
“I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'” by Scissor Sisters
Contrary to what the name title suggests, this is such a danceable tune.
13. A song that reminds you of the autumn
“Fair” by Remy Zero
From the Garden State movie soundtrack, which I believe took place in the fall and the first time I saw it was in the fall of my freshman year of college. SO MUCH FALL.
14. A song that reminds you of high school
“Atlantic City” by Bruce Springsteen
I was clearly a big ball of laughs in high school.
15. A song that reminds you of a great vacation you once took
“Everybody’s Talking” by Harry Nilsson
My drive up Highway 1 from LA to SF a few years ago.
16. A song currently stuck in your head
“New York Groove” by Ace Frehley
This song has been stuck in my head for at least two weeks now. HELP.
17. A song that you think everyone should listen to
“Dearly Departed” by Shakey Graves ft. Esmé Patterson
People should just listen to Shakey Graves in general, but especially this song.
18. A song that needs to be played loudly
“Unforgiving Girl (She’s Not An)” by Car Seat Headrest
If only for that massive jam sesh at the end.
19. A song that reminds you of someone you would rather forget about
“To Save Me” By M Ward
“And he could strike a match and your world goes up in flames”
20. A song that you would sing a duet with on karaoke
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee
Another obvious but necessary choice.
21. A song that is your guilty pleasure
“Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glen Campbell
I unironically love this song.
22. A song that annoys you
“Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes
I used to love this song. Then one day I woke up and realized I’d listened to it one too many times. Now it really grinds my gears. There’s no going back now…
23. A song that makes you laugh
“Who Let the Dogs Out” by the Baha Men
It’s just SO BAD. Also, there’s nothing better than this clip of Mitt Romney.
24. A favorite TV theme song from childhood
“Everywhere You Look” from Full House
Why do TV shows not have lyrics in their intro songs anymore?
25. A song that describes you
“I Don’t Want To Be Funny Anymore” by Lucy Dacus
A singer who, oddly enough, I came to find out about through Tim Kaine.
“I don’t want the joke to be on me.
Yeah, I’ll buy the clothes and I’ll be the best dressed.
Yeah, I’ll read the books and I’ll be the smartest.
I’ll play guitar and I’ll be the artist.”
26. Your favorite song at this time last year
“Out On the Weekend” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Ooh, still a great song!
27. Favorite song from a movie soundtrack
“Twist and Shout” by The Beatles
From the German Day parade scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, where they all end up dancing.
28. Is a great anthem for your country
“(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding” by Elvis Costello
This would be more of an aspirational song than something that currently reflects the country though (obviously).
29. A song with a great piece of advice
“Garden Party” by Ricky Nelson
“You can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.”
30. A song you heard live before you heard it recorded
“Marrow” by St. Vincent
I had no idea who she was when I saw her open for Andrew Bird in ’09, but she blew me away. (I think my ears are still ringing.)