The Songs No iPod Should Be Without


You know, sometimes I think about this column and what songs should be on your iPod and I look for inspiration.  Sometimes I look into my CD collection or my own iPod.  Other times I listen to Sirius Radio or Pandora.  Occasionally I listen to good old fashioned terrestrial radio stations.  During the past two weeks I heard a lot of great music while I was doing my “research.”  The following songs are the product of that research.  I hope you like ‘em.

145. Baba O’Riley – The Who
It’s a great song, but sadly it suffers from an identity crisis.  People just don’t know what it’s called. Too often it is referred to as “Teenage Wasteland,” and that just ain’t the case.  The song is fantastic.  It pays homage to Pete Townshend’s guru Meher Baba and minimalist composer Terry Riley.  The synthesizers (it was one of the first rock songs to incorporate them), violin coda and dynamic, unique sound make it one of a kind.  At the time of its release, it was an amazingly orchestrated and innovative piece.  And the lyrics…oh the lyrics are sooooo good:

Out here in the fields
I fight for my meals
I get my back into my living
I don’t need to fight
To prove I’m right
I don’t need to be forgiven
Don’t cry
Don’t raise your eye
It’s only teenage wasteland

Recommended versions can be found on: Who’s Next (Decca, 1971) and its subsequent reissues on MCA, MCA Gold Masterdisc, MFSL among others.  It is also available on the greatest hits collections The Kids Are Alright (MCA, 1979), Hooligans (MCA, 1982), Who’s Better Who’s Best (MCA, 1982), The Ultimate Collection (Universal Music, 2002) , the live collections  Who’s Last (MCA, 1984), The Concert For The People of Kampuchea (Atlantic, 1981), 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief (Columbia, 2013) and the Thirty Years of Maximum R&B box set (MCA, 1994).

146. And She Was – The Talking Heads
It’s here because of the funky beat and the bouncing but playful bass line.  It’s a much darker song that it appears to be.  It is about a drug trip taken by a girl that used to take LSD in a field next to a Yoo-hoo beverage factory in Baltimore… but you’d never know if from just a perfunctory listen.  Now that you know, check out the following lyrics.  They should have a whole new meaning:

And she was lying in the grass

And she could hear the highway breathing

And she could see a nearby factory

She’s making sure she is not dreaming

See the lights of a neighbor’s house

Now she’s starting to rise

Take a minute to concentrate

And she opens up her eyes

The world was moving and she was right there with it (and she was)

The world was moving she was floating above it (and she was) and she was

 Recommended versions can be found on: Little Creatures (Sire, 1985) and the greatest hits collections Popular Favorites 1976-1992: Sand in the Vaseline (Sire, 1992), The Best of Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime (Sire, 1992), The Best of The Talking Heads (Rhino/Warner Brothers, 2004) and the box set Once In A Lifetime (Sire, 2003).

147. Ho Hey – The Lumineers
The Lumineers sound is reminiscent of an American version of The Waterboys—it’s a mix of indie rock, folk, pop, gospel with a slightly celtic influence.  “Ho Hey” made the list because the

I belong to you

You belong to me

lyric is simply irresistible.
Recommended versions can be found on:  the band’s self-titled debut The Lumineers (Dualtone, 2012).

148. Renegade – Styx
Because everybody can identify in some way, shape or form with an outlaw.  It’s true; don’t kid yourself.  “Renegade” is a first-person narrative of an outlaw, who has come to the realization that he’s going to be executed for his crimes.

It starts slowly with the opening verse/lament:

Oh mama, I’m in fear for my life from the long arm of the law

Lawman has put an end to my running and I’m so far from my home

Oh mama, I can hear your crying you’re so scared and all alone

Hangman is coming down from the gallows and I don’t have very long

And then changes tempo and starts rockin’ with chorus:

The jig is up the news is out they’ve finally found me

The renegade who had it made retrieved for a bounty

Never more to go astray

This will be the end today of the wanted man

It rocks and it has a driving beat.  It’s not an uplifting topic, but the music is.  It’s also here because the Pittsburgh Steelers defense has adopted it as their theme song during their 2008 championship season.  The team adopted the song during the season as they rolled toward Super Bowl XLIII.

Recommended versions can be found on:  Pieces Of Eight (A&M, 1979), the greatest hits albums Come Sail Away: The Styx Anthology (Chronicles/A&M/Polydor/Universal Strategic Marketing, 2004), Gold (A&M, 2006 and (the out-of-print and hard-to-find) Classics, Vol. 16 (A&M, 1987). It is also available on the live collections Caught In The Act (A&M, 1984) and 2012’s three-disc (2 CDs/ 1 DVD) release The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight Live (Eagle Rock).

Yes, it’s that time again…by now, you obviously know the drill.  Tell me some of your favorite songs?  What do you like and why.   What are the songs you can’t live without?  Send me an e-mail and tell me what music you love.  Tell me why the song moves you.  I’ll feature your song selection in a future column.  If you have an idea for an entire column based on a theme or artist, please send those ideas along too.  E-mail me at: [email protected]. Type Can’t Live Without in the Topic. Til Next time!


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