Here is one final look at a musician’s favourite music. This time the list is according to Harrie from Sydney band Hollow States. When asked for their favourite songs of all time, many musicians provided some words about why their favourite was their favourite, which will be used as part of next week’s countdown.
Harrie however went one step further and wrote about every song, with the songs ordered in terms of how they should be listened to. So to finish things up we decided to present all 20 songs, along with the write up, so here we go!
In compiling his list Harrie said that “To pick a top twenty songs was a very difficult task for me, as my mood and tastes change all the time depending on my circumstance and temperament….When I like something I become passionately obsessed with it…so the songs I picked are songs that are resonating with me at the moment…some have stuck with me for a long time some are recently discovered gems….they are not in order of favourite to least favourite but rather a sort of playlist in the way I would like them to be listened to. The thing that really draws me into a piece of music is its ability to sculpt and affect your emotional landscape for the period of time that you listen to it. These songs all do this for me.”
I really identify with this song, and depending on where I’m at it can feel a bit like my own personal anthem. It is a self explanation that explores the idea of being a person who lives in and for extremes (“I’m caught on the cold, caught on the hot, not so with the warm a lot). The thing I love so much about Fiona Apple’s songwriting is her ability to turn the microscope inwards and create raw, honest and poetic rhymes. The bold and defiant piano of the verse builds into a trembling plea of “Don’t let me, ruin me, I may need a chaperone” sung by two contrasting vocal parts (both sung by Fiona). This song is packed with ferocity, desperation, anger. Its rad.
Petrol Station- Sorcha Richardson
This song was recommended to me by an amazing musical tastemaker, and as soon as I heard it I felt like a teenager in love. Not just with a person but with life. Its light and sweet and just makes you feel free…kind of like the first time I listened to Bruises by Chairlift.
Cold, bleak, haunting….its beautiful. The electronic landscapes Baths creates are absolute artworks. The sounds somehow manage to feel both organic and futuristic at the same time. This story tells of an unrequited love…from the uninterested lovers point of view, which I think is just marvelous…like…its awful…but there is something truly poetic and real about the way he describes this completely awful apathy.
Learning- Perfume Genius
Simplicity is beautiful, this song is so simple, and delicate. Comprised of only 6 lines of lyrics, two complimentary piano parts and lovely harmonies. The production on this record is much grainier and has a great homemade feel to it. These two lines really resonate with me, and although they are said in a really simple way, they bare such loftiness to them, “You will learn to mind me. You will learn to survive me”.
The Beast- Laura Marling
The energy in this song is so immensely absorbing, though you wouldn’t be able to tell from the beginning. It begins with a soft rhythmic acoustic guitar, shortly joined by the heavenly voice of Laura Marling, which seems to drip with wisdom and paint a picture of someone much older than the (at the time) 21 year old singer songwriter. The song crescendos into chaos as the protagonist gives herself to the beast (“Tonight I choose the beast, Tonight he lies with me”). Electric guitars churn, wail and rattle creating this awesome uneasiness. It really leaves you feeling something. I really dig art that is affecting.
I Don’t Know How- Best Coast
From the moment I heard Best Coast I was home. They let me feel like sappy romantic 15 year old that I am inside. Their music is so pining and needy, but it really says all the things about all those romantic feels in a very simple and relatable kind of way. “I don’t know how, to tell you I love you, to tell you I miss you, to tell you I care. I don’t know how, to tell you its right, when it feels so right for you to be near.” Lots of repetition and an awesome change half way through where the entire tempo speeds up into this cool surf pop verse. One time I was walking down the street listening to it and singing it aloud…”I don’t know how”…over and over…and this old dude came up to me…made me take off my headphones…and suggested I perhaps Google it.
Elastic Heart- Sia
What isn’t to love about this powerhouse of a song? It is a bold and beautiful expression of personal strength. As usual Sia’s vocal performance is incredible, and accompanied by all the beautiful syncopated beats and layered textures it just takes you on a journey of self determination and human resilience. “I walked through fire to save my life”. Very powerful stuff.
I Kept Your Teeth In A Jar By My Bed- Gorgeous Bully
This is the first song I heard by the ever prolific Gorgeous Bully, who I quickly became a very fast fan of. If you haven’t check out his soundcloud or his bandcamp…he puts it all up to listen and download, and I just really love his approach to making music and sharing his music. This is an unconventional love song…riiiiight down my alley.
Violence and Degradation- Owen Rabbit
This guy is just incredible. The verses of this song consist of sharp poetic lyricism sung in this really low and smooth melodic sort of half rap, which lead into a beautifully rich chorus comprised predominantly of vocals and then build up into an elating soundscape.
I know- Fiona Apple
To me this is one of the saddest and most beautiful love songs I have ever heard. The sentiment of it is just filled to the bursting with meaning. The vocal is so smooth and sad, and filled with this sense of acceptance and romantic perseverance, (“I will pretend, that I don’t know of your sins, until you are ready to confess”) and so filled with depth (“You can use my skin, to bury secrets in, and I will settle you down”). I think my favourite part of the song is right at the very end, where the final lines are….”If it gets too late, for me to wait…for you, to find you love me and tell me so…its okay, you don’t need to say it…” and then she doesn’t say I’ll know…but even though she doesn’t say it, it somehow lingers there unsaid. Its phenomenal.
Far From View- Jack Colwell
This song is just so beautiful, very emotional from the beginning, with shimmering guitars that lead into swelling orchestral strings. Jacks deep and completely unique voice is accompanied by a high and sweet chorus of back up singers. The song builds and builds and packs an emotive punch. If you ever get a chance I would strongly recommend seeing this live. Its killer.
Good Morning Heartache- Billie Holliday
Billie Holliday is just what singing is all about for me. She uses her voice to convey what she is feeling so well…she’s like a pain translator. This song is a great one, about loneliness.
Take It Easy (Love Nothing)- Bright Eyes
I really learned a lot about songwriting from this genius, his lyrics are always raw and open and crafted in the most poetic way. It is really hard for me to pick just one song by him, and I suppose my decision really just came down to my current mood.
Little Love Caster- Laura Marling
For me this song is all about the contrast of the delicate classical sounding fingerpicked guitars against the voice of a strong stoic heroin. It swells in such a magnificent way and just completely absorbs you.
Chi Gong Heart- Post Paint
Post Paint are just a really dope band. All of their music to me just feels like visual art somehow turned into sound. Its layered and textural and the lyricism is something truly unique.
Fantastic Wreck- Montaigne
I got completely obsessed with this song when I first heard it…Montaigne has a stunning voice, and the song is just so damn well written, she rattles out a bunch of very exposing character traits and thoughts and poses the question of “would you love me?” if that’s just the way I am…everyone just wants to be loved and appreciated…its very human.
No Eyes- Baths
I’m not going to beat around the bush with this, I really like that this song talks about sex, in a bold unromantic and detached sort of way. Not enough songs really explore this kind of subject matter. Also its just so damn infectious.
In My Mind- Amanda Palmer
This song is so empowering, and leaves you feeling so at ease with yourself…even proud of yourself…it takes you on a journey of self acceptance.
Impossible Soul- Sufjan Stevens
You just have to listen to this song. It is a masterpiece. Its really long…like super long…but it is just insane. Probably the closest thing I’ve had to a religious experience.
Container (The Affair Theme Song)-Fiona Apple
If these lines don’t sum up life, I don’t know what does. “I have only one thing to do and that’s be the wave that I am and then sink back into the ocean.” Be yourself, Live your life your way and leave your impact on the world.
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