Top 25

Top 25 Songs for a Soundtrack

I listen to a lot of music. I’ve listened to a vast array of genres and have grown my library to over a thousand CDs. 

I’m a tad protective of my music as well, which probably drives my wife up the wall when I’m rushing over to shoo toddlers from my towers.

Music is the wellspring to my creative juices. The more I listen, the more I’m inclined to write, to create, to escape into my imagination.

So, if I were to write about my life, I would most definitely need a soundtrack to accompany it. And if it were a tale, it would be surrealist in the cinematography, just to underscore my active imagination. Here are my 25 songs that I would include in my soundtrack and what kind of scene they would be used in.

25. “Til I Am Myself Again”
Artist: Blue Rodeo
Poignant Lyric: “But the half-finished bottles of inspiration / Lie like ghosts in my room.”
Scene Use: The quintessential — existential — crisis song where one sits, contemplating where they went wrong.
24. “The Importance of Being Idle”
Artist: Oasis
Poignant Lyric: “If you give me a minute, a man’s got a limit / I can’t get a life if my heart’s not in it.”
Scene Use: A tune that would go well with post-university discovery. I was trying to get out of a retail job and enter some sort of noble profession.
23. “Paperback Writer”
Artist: the Beatles
Poignant Lyric: “His son is working for the Daily Mail / It’s a steady job, / But he wants to be a paperback writer.”
Scene Use: As a kid, I had notebooks filled with short stories. From my early allegorical tales to the modern day ghosts stories that my haunted mind conjures.
22. “Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues”
Artist: the Eels
Poignant Lyric: “The elephant won’t forget / What it’s like inside its cage.”
Scene Use: Much like the film this flick was used in, life in university was a mix-bag. I didn’t know why I was there, but I was. Then there were the hijinks.
21. “Broken, Beat and Scarred”
Artist: Metallica
Poignant Lyric: “The dawn, the death, the fight to the final breath / What don’t kill you make you more strong.”
Scene Use: With all my health issues, I’ve grown too calloused.Plus, when this song was out, my aplastic anemia reached it’s worst point.
20. “Beg, Steal or Borrow”
Artist: Ray Lamontagne and the Pariah Dogs
Poignant Lyric: “But one of these days it’s gonna be right soon / You’ll find your legs and go and stay gone.”
Scene Use: Perfect for that Lester Bangs moment in Almost Famous, “You’ll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle.”
19. “Take It Easy”
Artist: The Eagles
Poignant Lyric: “Lighten up while you still can / Don’t even try to understand / Just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy.”
Scene Use: There are plenty of things that make me agitated or anxious, but for the most part I do take it easy while in public, or in the workplace. Mostly …
18. “The Red”
Artist: Chevelle
Poignant Lyric: “Slip away / To clear your mind / When asked / Who made it show (who made it show) / The truth / He gives into most.”
Scene Use: Much like anyone else, if I let all of my rage out on there would a lot of problems for me. I learned to keep my anger suppressed in my youth.
17. “Brother Down”
Artist: Sam Roberts
Poignant Lyric: “Someone else telling you what you’re living for / Been knocking you down, now you’re looking for more.”
Scene Use: I’ve moved a lot to the left when it comes to labour. Still, I dream of doing my own thing and sustaining my family with it.
16. “300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues”
Artist: The White Stripes
Poignant Lyric: “ I’m bringing back ghosts / That are no longer there.”
Scene Use: The questions I had for myself during my vocational pursuits kept haunting me while I worked for the female equivalent of J. Jonah Jameson.
15. “Float On”
Artist: Modest Mouse
Poignant Lyric: “Bad news comes, don’t you worry even when it lands / Good news will work its way into all them plans.”
Scene Use: The working-in-retail song. I was hawking books at a Chapters in Oshawa back in 2004 when this song had its day.
14. “Better Together”
Artist: Jack Johnson
Poignant Lyric: “Our dreams and they are made out of real things / Like a shoebox of photographs / With sepia-toned loving.”
Scene Use: It’s the first song I dance to with my new wife. Nothing more is needed.
13. “A Good Heart”
Artist: Feargal Sharkey
Poignant Lyric: “As I reflect on all my childhood dreams / My ideas of love weren’t as foolish as they seemed.”
Scene Use: I was the nice guy. Throughout high school and university, I was on the receiving end of, “You’re a nice guy, Brian, but I only like you as a friend …”
12. “Consoler of the Lonely”
Artist: The Raconteurs
Poignant Lyric: “Light bulbs are getting dim / My interests are starting to wane / I’m told it’s everything a man could want / And I shouldn’t complain.”
Scene Use: People like to whip the creativity out of you. They make comments like, “You’re too creative” and you fight back with more creativity.
11. “Mr. Self Destruct”
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Poignant Lyric: “I am the truth from which you run (and I control you)”
Scene Use: To err is human. To admit you’re wrong is meta. In a world that refuses to admit its wrong, it’s always good to step up rather than aside.
10. “Simple Man”
Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Poignant Lyric: “Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold / All that you need is in your soul / And you can do this, oh baby, if you try / All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied.”
Scene Use: A reflective moment where I rue the amount of greed that’s in the world and how it keeps others down.
9. “Synthesizers”
Artist: Butch Walker and the Black Widows
Poignant Lyric: “Once, once in your life / Won’t you do what feels right / Instead of waiting for the next big compromise.”
Scene Use: All you need is a little bit of music. A huge, cathartic release. And a damn good party. Forget about the horseshit and “shake it out tonight”.
8. “The Waiting”
Artist: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Poignant Lyric: “Well yeah I might have chased a couple of women around / All it ever got me was down.”
Scene Use: Career. Relationships. They all get you down. But a little bit of patience goes a long way. Break the fourth wall by staring directly in the camera, and slide on the headphones a la John Cusack.
7. “Only”
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Poignant Lyric: “Less concerned / About fitting into the world / Your world, that is / ’cause it doesn’t really matter / Anymore.”
Scene Use: If I could give my blues a theme song, this would probably be it. I’ve been in dark trenches and this seems to encapsulate the feeling. The rage. The apathy.
6. “Dirty Laundry”
Artist: Don Henley
Poignant Lyric: “We can do ‘The Innuendo’ / We can dance and sing / When it’s said and done we haven’t told you a thing.”
Scene Use: Quietly scribbling notes in my book. The imagination at work. Puffins being drawn.
5. “Around the World”
Artist: Daft Punk
Poignant Lyric: N/A
Scene Use: Prom, 1998. Frosh Week, 1998. The Joker. Toronto.  This song is a transition. Shedding high school and taking on the university student mantle.
4. “Fly Away”
Artist: Lenny Kravitz
Poignant Lyric: “I’d fly above the trees … To anywhere I please.”
Scene Use: It’s a requirement that at least one of your favourite songs make it to the soundtrack. Why not one that echoes flight and fancy.
3. “Rock On”
Artist: David Essex
Poignant Lyric: “And where do we go from here? / Which is a way that’s clear.”
Scene Use: Let’s start slow. It’s 1981. We’re in a burgundy Monte Carlo. Set the scene driving out west with my folks. A tuxedo cat beside me. I’m two.
2. “Supersonic”
Artist: Jamiroquai
Poignant Lyric: “You can tell by the tears / He’s a warrior who cries.”
Scene Use:  I used to say “Rock on, supersonic” a lot in my early 20s. So, the fact that these two songs are back-to-back is only logical.
1. “Someone Who’s Cool”
Artist: the Odds
Poignant Lyric: “If sympathy’s the answer / I’ll have temporary cancer / But that’s not what I’ll have you believe.”
Scene Use: Outro. Can-Con.

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