As with any art, music is a very individual and personal thing with different songs rousing a multitude of emotions from person to person. Certain songs may evoke happy memories that cause you to smile inanely, warm memories that give you the sudden urge to text someone you love, or sad memories that find you weeping uncontrollably on the streetcar (best not to include those ones on your commute playlist). Upbeat songs feed you with the energy you need to kick your arse in the gym or get you in the right mood for girls’ night out, while some are better suited to a large glass of wine and good company in order to de-stress and let the worries of the day bugger off until your alarm starts ringing the next morning.
Some tunes are so wonderfully written and produced that they hit just the right note to incite goosebumps all over even though the song has no particular relevance to your life memories. The perfect harmony of melody, lyrics and raw emotion from an artist can inspire, influence and encourage.
Much has been written about which songs captivate the listener in such a way. Lists of the most beautiful songs ever written can be found in abundance. In fact around this time last year a thread on Reddit saw quite a response when it posed the question, “What is the most beautiful song you have ever heard?”
After some research and chit chatting we decided we’d throw together our own little list based on seemingly common responses with some of our own favourites thrown in for good measure! Keep in mind that we’re going with popular culture here and we are merely dipping a toe in the sea of musical greatness. Really the possibilities are endless but we have a word count to stick to and a Happy Hour to get to, so consider this a rather condensed list of suggestions. Feel free to agree, berate or throw your suggestions in the comment box below…
The Beautiful List
Porcelain | Moby
This is one of my personal favourites as it incites some pretty cool memories from all the way back in the year 2000. String and piano mixed with haunting lyrics about breaking up make for some goosebumpy listening. Fun fact: Moby didn’t actually like this track and had to be coerced into including it on his fifth studio album, Play. High-five to whomever is responsible for that encouragement.
Breathe Me | Sia
I didn’t even know I knew this song when I spotted it on quite a few online lists. But on hearing the first few notes I instantly recognised it and understood why so many people would suggest it. It has been used in tons of TV show and movie soundtracks, most notably in the series finale of Six Feet Under… yup, it’s that one.
Landslide | Fleetwood Mac
Apparently this classic was written by Stevie Nicks when she was stranded in the Colorado hills after her lover and fellow Mac member Lindsey Buckingham left her there after the two argued. Full of love and emotion and realization, this is another winner for me and many others.
Wild Horses | The Rolling Stones
This has to qualify as one of the most beloved rock ballads ever written. Many believe that this song was written by Mick Jagger about his former flame Marianne Faithfull but according to Rolling Stones magazine (and they should know) it was actually inspired by Keith Richards and the struggle he had leaving his 2-month old son to go on tour. Although covered numerous times, nothing beats the real deal.
Beautiful Day | U2
Another popular choice amongst music lovers, though some may argue that there are so many songs more appropriate for such a list. I understand their concern but what I think is beautiful about this song is that it sends out such a good message. It reminds us that although it doesn’t always seem so, every day is worthy of happiness and should be seized while it exists. Pretty deep Sir Bono… pretty damn deep.
The Ugly List
Every yin has a yang and so the beautiful world of music also has an ugly side. That song that is just totally inappropriate for radio play or the one that really gets your teeth grinding and may well be included in many people’s “Most Ugly Songs” list if people had such a rundown. So in order to balance our own lineup out, here’s a few songs that some may find less than attractive…
Blurred Lines | Robin Thicke
I had to include this as although it may well be one of the most popular songs of yesteryear, it is the one that Rolling Stones magazine chose as their worst song of 2013. While I’m not agreeing or disagreeing, I do have to note that the video was less than pretty, as was Thicke’s infamous performance with a certain Twerkaholic. Yeah, I’d say if it had to go in either category then this is where it belongs.
Eminem | Berzerk
I know Mr. Mathers has a penchant for attacking fellow celebs in his songs but this one hit below the belt when he criticises Khloe Kardashian’s appearance by referring to her as “the ugly Kardashian.” He goes on to ‘apologize’ to KK’s estranged hubby saying, “Lamar O, sorry. We done both set the bar low.” And this just happened to coincide with the media storm surrounding the separation of the TV couple… so not really good timing for poor Khloe’s ego. I get he needs to sell records, but spewing out hatred towards people already in a fragile state is totally unattractive so this one resides on our ugly list.
U.G.L.Y | Daphne and Celeste
Oh come now, it was too easy.