My best friend usually sparks my thinking on a lot of things in life. This is one of those times. So, Emilee and I had a long drive ahead of us recently and this topic came up. She opened up a monstrous can of worms when she said “Have you ever thought about what songs would be on your TOP SONGS EVER?” And so it began — my 23 years of ear-tickling tunes and concerts have culminated in a week-long quest to make my album of all-time favorites. So enjoy.
So, it’s my #1 for many reasons. You ever had a song that you just cannot manage to turn off when you hear it? This is mine. It reminds me of many, many good times — for my 20th birthday Emilee surprised me with tickets to see The Fray at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville plus it’s difficult to hear this song and NOT think of Grey’s Anatomy, which happens to be one of my favorite shows. The Ryman show only ignited my passion for The Fray, when two years later Emilee and I drove to Columbus, Ohio to spend a weekend there on account of our second Fray concert. Not only are they very musically-talented, with great instrumentals and lyrics, but it’s also a big plus that the boys have precious accents.
See, if you’re like me, you may think I should attribute this one to the man himself, Eric Clapton. And as I learned as well, you’d be wrong. Derek and the Dominos is a 5-member group, one of which happens to be the lead guitarist and singer we all know so well. It is this song that brought me many laughs during my stint as a server at Montana Grille. With Sirus radio consistently on rotation in the restaurant, this song became very familiar –sometimes annoyingly familiar. One day, as I’m placing an order through the kitchen, I hear the chorus ring (probably for the 4th time that day) and decide to sing along with my manager, Chad Dennison. He sings “Layla, you’ve got me on my knees, Layla.” And I simultaneously sing “Hey Love, you’ve got me on my knees, Hey Love”. This is when I learned that I am really good at making up song lyrics that sound just the way they should. But Layla, Hey Love? I thought it sounded good. Needless to say, I have never lived that one down with Chad or any of the wait staff, because it didn’t take long for word to spread that I had thoroughly botched a classic.
Ok, so don’t be mad. I have been battling for days inside my head to pick an absolute favorite Mayer song and I have failed. I have listened to every one of his CDs and I pick one! And a couple of songs later, I change my mind to the next one. It’s a sad, sad cycle. So, I’ve decided to give you a few of my suggestions in the running for my #3 top song. If you were to put me on the spot, any one of these would come to mind: Room For Squares’ “Great Indoors”, Battle Studies’ “Half of My Heart” or “In Your Atmosphere”, Continuum’s “Bold as Love”, “I Don’t Trust Myself With Loving You” and “The Heart of Life”. Does that give you enough options? Or accurately show how much I really love John Mayer’s music? I spent some long nights in the dorm with a book in hand and Mayer playing on my computer, drowning out the madness in the halls around me. And you can’t mention John Mayer without giving some ode to his incredible talent on a guitar. He’s an amazing musician.
4. Van Morrison’s 1967 “Brown-Eyed Girl”
Oh, Daddy. He’s the only man I think of when I hear this song and that’s why it ranks so high on my list. No, I wasn’t born with this song came out — actually 19 years AFTER it came out, I was introduced to my Daddy but as soon as I popped out, this was his song to me. I only have fond memories of my Dad as he raised me and this song puts me back in a place of comfort, love and completely happy times. I even set his ringtones up so that when I call, this is what he hears. Just heard the song today on the way to Knoxville and it brought me to a reminiscent place where Daddy holds me in his arms and serenades me with a scruffy voice and wide smile. I could not help but roll the windows down, blast the radio, wave my hands out the sunroof and sing at the top of my lungs.
I’m not sure that there’s ever a time when I will not enjoy popping this album, “The Outsiders” into the stereo. That being said, it was also difficult to narrow down ONE Needtobreathe song that surpasses the other phenomenal ones and the reason I settled on “Something Beautiful” is because at my first Needtobreathe concert in Nashville, the boys put on a show of ridiculous proportion inside of a bar, singing and praying to the glory of God. It was such a neat experience when the guys turned off all the microphones, all the plug-ins to the amplifiers and asked the crowd to squeeze in as close to the stage as possible. It was then that my love for “Something Beautiful” developed, at the sound of acoustic beauty. My friend Jessie has a video of this exact performance posted on facebook and I find myself going back to it occasionally just to relive the live rendition of what has become one of my favorites of all time.
Oh, Josh Gracin. You stud, you. For every woman who stumbles on this list, I’m sure there is one song, movie or memory that makes you think of blissfully dancing, arms held out in the pouring rain, donning a long flowey dress. This carefree and sensual image comes to mind every time I hear “Stay”. Not only is the video sultry and full of passion, but what wife doesn’t want her husband to desire her the way the lyrics depict? You’d be lying is you said it wouldn’t be your childhood fairytale come true. Hahaha. So this is why Josh Gracin’s “Stay” makes the list for me. Plus it reminds me of summer nights, hanging out with Morgan Blaine and Rachel Marshall. And truthfully, I’m not even sure that we’ve spent summer nights listening to this song specifically, but I have this automatic association of this song to the two of them. You know how songs trigger certain states in your life or a frame of mind? This is it.
This is another selection on my list that was as hard as you’ll soon find my #3 was to choose. I’m a huge Dave Barnes fan and found it really difficult to narrow it down to a top pick of his many wonderful songs. I chose “More Than A Man” because I think it’s a really sweet song and although, you may venture to listen to it and find that it’s a melodical-buzz kill compared to the rest of my favorites collection, I love it. I really enjoy the combination of Dave’s mellow style, heartfelt lyrics and guitar skills. My favorite line is the closing line in the song – “There’s a war inside my heart and mind, between the hope ahead and sin behind. All I ask, you believe in me. I’ll be more than a man for you.” It reminds me of the desire I have to be better than I once was. To each day be more loving, more kind and more positive than I was in yesterday’s existence. It also brings back memories of my late grandfather, James Arley Hubbs. He passed away in 2006, when I was introduced to this song. So during the time of my life when loss was the greatest, I connected his memory to “More Than A Man” because he was more than a man for my grandmother. He was an outstanding man and I cannot possibly fathom a better grandfather.
Put yourself here: It’s summer of 1998. I’m 11 years old. My sister, Megan, has just moved back home after another year at Western Kentucky University. She’s 20, hip, full of fun and everything I want to be. And she listen to the Goo Goo Dolls. So I do too. In the days that MTV ACTUALLY PLAYED MUSIC, “Slide” and “Iris” were regularly heard from the little space under my sister’s closed door. And that’s why I love this song. It takes me back to a time with far fewer cares in the world, when all I wanted was to mimic my big sister in every way. As I type this, my car’s parked outside her house in Knoxville and my bottom’s positioned comfortably on her couch. I’m reminded of why I love her so much. We have shared the day together, sipped on Bud Light Lime as we picked blackberries in her backyard, spent some time at the pool with her beautiful babies and talked about Jesus all day long — things we’ve learned, revelations from God to each of us, ways He’s changed us and prayers that have been whispered for those around us.
Talk about a classic country song. You cannot in your right mind claim to be a fan of country music without this song appearing in some sort of favorites list if you attempted to create one as well. I’ll credit my cousin for my love of this song. And my sister for my overall love of Garth Brooks. It was during a ride through Knoxville with my cousin, Lorrie, that I first heard “Friends in Low Places”. It was probably close to 15 years ago that I heard it for the first time and most recently, I enjoyed a scream-it-at-the-top-of-your-lungs rendition with my best girl friends on the way to the Green River Canoe Trip just two days ago. Not only is Garth Brooks a legend in country music but if I had my guess, “Friends in Low Places” probably ranks at the top of any list of most memorable, most favorite – most anything good – country songs.
I’m not a huge Coldplay fan. I can’t name every album. I have never seen them in concert. And I haven’t the slightest idea what the dashingly-handsome English lead singer’s name is. But I do appreciate quality music. Coldplay’s style is incredibly unique and soothing. ”Fix You” is one of those songs that can come on the radio, and no matter my mood, everything is hunky-dori at the opening chord. At some point I’d like to go to a Coldplay concert because I think it would be such an incredible show.
I’ve written two blogs previous that you can go back to reference if you’d like about my experiences in Atlanta, Georgia in January for the 2010 Passion Conference. It was there that Chris Tomlin released the song that makes it to my favorites list. In a crowd of 22,000 college students and leaders, Chris Tomlin led the largest, most pure corporate worship to the Lord that I have been a part of. Just being in a group of people of that caliber who seek to glorify God, as I do, was incredible empowering and refreshing at the same time. The version I enjoy the most is the LIVE version on the Passion “Awakening” CD because it takes me back to that moment of worship with people from across the country and the globe. How I wish I could relive those moments.
12. Mr. Big’s 1991 ”To Be With You”
I think I surprised myself that this song made it to my list. Hahahahaa. First of all, who are these guys? Exactly, nobody knows. I sure as heck don’t. One-hit wonders are pretty comical to me. Couldn’t tell you a darn thing about the group, why they’re named Mr. Big, who makes up the group, NOTHING. But that’s okay. Haha. I’m not sure that I can explain why I like “To Be With You” so much but it’s one of those “Monster Ballads” that has always resonated with me. Call it strange or agree, either one.
Oh, summer of 2008. How much I loved and loathed you at the same time. This is the same summer that the single “Sex on Fire” became popular and after buying “Only By the Night”, I found a new favorite embedded in the new album. That summer came and went with lots of good times and much heartache, staying out late and waking up early, more drinking than I should have and, in turn, more crying than is normal for me. But it also came with many opportunities to learn and reshape my being. There are many things I regret about that summer but many more memories that I’ll take to my last days and reminisce on my way there. “Revelry” takes me back to that time, reminding me of how awesome those few months were and how thankful I am to have been molded and transformed.
As I sit here watching Oprah’s special for the first anniversary of Michael Jackson’s unexpected death, it is hard to believe that I was at his Los Angeles home the afternoon before his passing. I’ve never been a King of Pop fanatic but I’ll never forget taking pictures as our Hollywood Home Tour van stopped in front of the legend’s high security home. It was a surreal moment to wake up the next morning to the news that he had passed away. Which brings me to how “Black or White” makes the list of a person who did not grow up a fan. There were always songs that were familiar to me but I still don’t own a Michael Jackson CD. This is how “Black or White” came to the forefront in the search of favorite songs. Upon hearing of his death, I wanted to recollect on the songs that I had heard coming from my sister’s room growing up.
When I think about this song, it brings me back to a time when “Sold” is the only rap song I knew. I can spit out every word, quick as John Michael does and love every second of it. Before BET spouted off rappers the caliber of Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West and Twista, John Michael Montgomery led the way in tongue-twisting raps. This is yet another shout out to my sister, who clearly (from all the references she’s obtained in my list of country songs) led the way in my love of country music. I think this song rises to my favorites list because it’s fast, fun and reminds me of my childhood on the farm. Because I lived across from WKU’s Agriculture Center, I always envisioned some ruby red-lipped, blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty being swept of her feet by her dreamboat cowboy.
16. Zac Brown Band’s 2010 “Free”
While this song DID just come out, it has already become one of my favorites. It’s so soothing and sweet, I just love it. My favorite lyric is: “just as free, free as we’ll ever be… drive until the city lights dissolve into a country sky, just me and you…” Plus the video is really encouraging, with footage of our American soldiers fighting for our country, giving up the basics I take for granted in order to make this land free. I also love, in the video, that the band has gone to visit the troops, put on a show for them and gets to socialize It’s a fun song to sing and I can’t think of a Zac Brown Band song to hit the airwaves that I haven’t really enjoyed, so that’s why they deserve to be on my list.
During a very difficult time in life, this song became an anthem of love, security and continued strength. I have come to realize how strongly and passionately I intend to fight for love — as the lyric says, “Love is not a place to come and go as we please. It’s a house we enter in, then commit to never leave… Love is not a fight, but it’s something worth fighting for. ” Scriptures says in 1 Corinthians that love is steadfast and never fails. To me, that means two things: God’s love will never cease and the love I share with my future husband will be so strong that there’s nothing, with Christ at the center of our love, that we cannot conquer together.
1. “Shake ” by Drew Alexander – Look this one up. With a little techno and a little alternative together, this one was a random song I stumbled on while listening to www.pandora.com.
2. “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan – I know this sounds utterly ridiculous but this song seriously makes me want to dance. Hahaha. If I had my guess, this is another song that my sister introduced me to.
3. “Til Summer Comes Around” by Keith Urban – Although this is virtually a brand new song, I have quickly become very fond of it. Before summer made its way to Bowling Green, this song left me longing for warmer weather and days to lay out in the sun.
4. “In My Dreams” by Josh Turner – Talk about a precious song. I hope to have a man who wishes the lyrics of this song into existence. And more than that, I want to be able to whole-heartedly wish the same upon my future husband. — “In my dreams, your dreams are the only things that really matter to me. When you smile, I smile. What makes you happy makes me happy too.”
5. Three Days Grace” by Riot – I’m sure this sounds nuts but this is my work out song. It gets me so stinkin’ FIRED UP, I feel like I could run for miles, lift weights for hours and punch through a concrete wall.
Ok, so I know that turned out really long but a new post is also long overdue. So I needed to word vomit, even if it is just about music and their meanings in my life. Hahah. You definitely don’t have to agree with me, but I hope you enjoy at the very least.