Well, it’s November, but my mind is already far past the upcoming Thanksgiving “Turkey” Day. I don’t know why, but this holiday has never stood out to me. It may be because I just don’t eat that much in general, so the idea of the Thanksgiving feast doesn’t have any appeal. Or it may be that I don’t generally like turkey, so the main course doesn’t sound very appetizing to me. But every year, when Halloween passes, I begin to feel ready for Christmas.
Christmas is just a peaceful time of the year. Finals wrap up. Old friends reunite. Sometimes snow makes the decorations on people’s houses even prettier, and sometimes Pittsburgh decides to hold back on the snow for a little while (and the decorations still look pretty). And we get a chance to reflect on the year gone by.
I may as well admit, I already have an early reflection on my mind. Since I’ve been exercising more, I’ve managed to listen through my iPod more than usual and have mentally compiled my top five songs for the year. So, in an effort to channel my energy and to begin to update this blog again more than once a month, I put this little list together. It’s based on which of my favorite songs stood out to me the most in terms of the emotional meaning and significance the song holds for me right now. So:
5. “Into The West” – The song by Annie Lennox was composed for the ending credits of “The Lord of the Rings,” and also composed in memory of a young filmmaker director Peter Jackson was a friend of. Cameron Duncan lost his battle to cancer before production of the films ended; so Jackson and his team kept this song as their ending song, even though they hadn’t been sure for a while if they would. It’s a haunting, beautiful song about both loss, and hope. And it’s always given me a sense of peace.
4. “Defying Gravity” – I love this song. While the last song is peaceful, this is flat out uplifting and energizing. Whether it’s the version from the original musical it was composed for (“Wicked”), the version for TV sensation “Glee” or the single released by one of the Broadway singers over the years, it just rings with power and beauty. When I hear this song, especially if it’s Broadway star Idina Menzel singing it, I feel as if I really can fly with the “wicked” witch herself. (Dare I say, in some metaphorical ways, I can?)
3. “Guardian Angel” – Composed and played by the local artist Brad Yoder, I find this song to be enjoyable and thoughtful. As the title entails, it’s about the idea of someone watching over you. Yoder uses poetic imagery when he writes acoustic/rock type songs, and he has a very emotional but powerful voice. It combines the peaceful with the inspirational, and I adore it and the feelings it creates.
2. “The Riddle” – Five For Fighting has a way of creating thought, image-filled songs; in some ways I’d call it Brad Yoder with a mainstream label. The song “The Riddle” is a bit of a story, too, and it’s an emotional one to me. And the one line that summarizes the meaning it holds for me is, “We’re all we’ve got on this bouncing ball, and I love you free, I love you freely.” Yeah, it’s the sappy emotion called love, but hey, with the end of the year approaching how can I not feel emotional? In some ways this just summarizes everything for me right now.
And at number one:
1. “Remember When It Rained” – Josh Groban is my favorite artist. I was raised on classical music, so to have this contemporary artist breathing life into the style is a wonderful feeling. And he has a powerful, chilling voice. This song is ambiguous, and haunting. Is it about loss? Hope? You decide. In some ways, it represents both. And depending on the day, it can make me smile, or make me cry. That’s something no other song can do.