You may have read somewhere that this year will mark 10 years since Tomatrax begun, and that the occasion will be marked by a top 100 songs of all time as voted by musicians featured on Tomatrax over the years, and that in the lead up to this chart top 10s from various artists will be featured.
This week however we will be looking at the top 10 songs of all time from former writer for Tomatrax (and TRM as it was formely known) Anne Rowlands. Anne has also provided some words to explain why each song made her list.
10. Perpetual change / Yes
I basically have been a fan of Yes since I was young. I would think if I extended this list into my top twenty songs of all time you would see Close to the Edge and Roudabout their. However my love for Yes’s vast discography is not a strong as my love for Jethro Tull or any of the songs that are in the rest of this list. So my favorite song just squeezes in at number 10. Perpetual changes sound is clear and crisp, its subject matter is easygoing while still needing a little bit of thought, and it comes in at 8 minutes making it one of the shorter of the classic yes songs. I love the Tony Kaye (keyboards) version better than the later Rick Wakeman (keyboards) versions. It’s of course unfortunate now that Yes as a band no longer posses any of its original members. With the limited commercial success of their latest album it’s probable that the band is possibly on its deathbed. However it’s been their before and come back more than twice now, so much like The Who it could be another multiple generation band that has continued success. Only time will tell.
9. Stairway to Heaven / Lead Zepplin
I first heard this song as a young child. Reaching into my minds imagination of the time I could see the actual smoke on the trees. I could feel the sorrow of the woman who now had to find out how to make it to heaven. I always associated this song with a smokey cup of tea, I’m not sure why. As you progress into the strong guitar heavy end of this song you get a feel for the true hart of rock and roll in a way that many songwriters can only dream of achieving.
8. A Passion Play / Jethro Tull
Again another song from my youth. My brother played this song quite a bit on what I remember was a trip to Queensland. I spent one of the first family holidays I remember with this song in the background. It still feels like a old friend. But the meaning of the song wasn’t really clear to me in my youth. It’s quite a long song, oft falling into the less likely to be played by non Tull fans. On some versions of the CD its split up into it various parts. Which is kind of like listening to the first few bars of Bathovens 9th. It surpasses Thick as a Brick in my mind as the better Tull album / song. Yes it’s a song that lasts a whole album and it’s not the only I listen too. I have a kind of weakness to the amount of art and skill that has to go into recording and playing these songs live. Many of the the less good bands that do these longer songs make many critics simply skip over these. Which is a shame, as if you can’t just assume all longer rock songs aren’t great. Another common criticism is how such songs make the bands that play them into show offs. Yet then sing praises of newer bands producing work of similar length such as, say, Tool. To me the this song is a storyline. The whole story is pretty heavy even at the length it is. Yes sure you can sometimes get your story over in 3-4 minutes, but if you need 30 and have the skill to pull it off, you should go for it.
7. Cherry blossom girl / Air
The Air song I heard first, and still to this day my favorite. It very much reminds me of my partner and her wonderful gentle smile. Makes me feel happy hearing it. I can smell the blossoms and feel the gentle breeze. It is hard to really say much more than that.
6. Crying lightning / Artic Monkeys
The Artic Monkeys have always had a bit of a hit and miss afraid with my tastes. Clearly other fans will disagree that this is their best song. To me crying lightning is much like My Propeller, a clear crisp new sound that keeps giving. It winds over the Propeller by being able to make me feel more of what the song is about. It gives me chills thinking of the coming storm in the drum and bass lines and the cracker factory. The aggravation of the twisted games they are playing with their rival.
5. All your scars / Gelbison
I first heard of Gelbison from a very early post on Tomarto Records Monthly as it was known then. Given my conversations with Richard he said that I might like Gelbison. This song became one of my all time favorites from then on. It’s about love, but not just love. It’s about loving completely. Showing your partner all your scars. Everything that has hurt you and healed you and showing them how much that means. How sharing that with them is on of the greatest gifts your able to give. It made it onto me and my partners wedding song list and is one of the CDs that sits in our car, forever being played on those long car trips around Canberra.
4. White Winter Hymnal / Fleet foxes
Folkie and upbeat, the Fleet Foxes hit all the right buttons for me. Their best song without a doubt is White Winter Hymnal which gives a almost overly happy beat to a winter game of red scarves and cases and a longing for the summer strawberries. The whole effect gives a me a happy feeling warm enough to chase away any of those winter blues.
3. This is what make us girls / Lana Del Rey
This is a different song. Although I don’t agree that being girls is determined by look for. Its determined by identifying as a girl. However the competition of girls was part of what kept me from feeling like I was able to transition far earlier in life. Their were of corse so many other things. The idea I could be a pansexual trans woman only eventually occurred to me when I was much much older. This song still has a place in my heart as it speaks of a longing to be seen and heard. Our culture still heavily preferences men and due to that being female is often more about getting attention and power by getting noticed or getting heard. Doing that sometimes leaves you fighting your fellow girls, if not in a physical sense, then in the realm of seeking to be a part of a heaven.
2. High Hopes / Pink Floyd
The bells tolling all through this peice is something that I always have a distinctive feeling of a beat that goes beyond the peice of music. It follows you through the day, peaking on you from beyond the horizon. All the way back your life, since before you heard this song, you are sure you can almost hear the division bell ringing. This song is beyond any doubt one of the best of all time in my opinion.
1. Harmony to my heartbeat / Sally Seltman
Harmony and heartbeats. Love and music. Being in a long term relationship with someone and having that feeling of longing when you are away from them. You see them and hear your heart thump and you run to touch them. Its hard to say more about this song other than to think about Seltman’s long term plans for her music. This song fills you with hope and in a way I am hoping that she has a long career of bringing new wonderful tunes to our ears.
Check out Anne’s webpage to see her latest work!