1. The Flaming Lips | Do You Realize??
This is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. If this song was playing in the background of everyone's day to day lives then there would be no war and we'd all be better people because of it. I sing it aloud while walking around hoping other people will be touched as much as I am.
2. Radiohead | Optimistic
Right around the time I started becoming aware of how things worked politically is when I first heard this song. It represents everything wrong with Politics and big business. To this day I can be riding the subway or taking a shower and it'll crawl it's way into my head and I'll be stuck with it. Thom Yorke's howls just overcome me. It's so haunting and prophetic of our current politics and big business.
3. U2 | Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
I'm a pretty big U2 fan. War and Achtung Baby are two of my favorite albums. I think this is by far their prettiest song.
4. Daryl Hall & John Oates | I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
The greatest Karaoke song, period. If you get me to sing this song at a Karaoke bar there's a good chance I'll wind up on your lap. It's got a great beat and the lyrics are sung with just the right amount of attitude.
5. Pearl Jam | Corduroy
I've had countless nights walking home drunk, singing aloud to this song. It gets me super charged and if I'm in a bad mood I put this on and just ride it out. Very cathartic.
6. Red Hot Chili Peppers | Under The Bridge
I identify this song with my early teens and not drugs in particular, even though they are both about a kind of lost innocence. I was on an over night School trip and up to that point I liked the idea of girls, but I wasn't into girls. That all changed that trip when I saw a girl in my class walk down a staircase straight towards me and I was flooded with emotions. First and instant crush.
7. Modern English | I Melt With You
Every time I've been in doubt about a relationship I was in, if this song came on, wherever I was at the moment, I'd always learn that everything was going to be okay. My most cherished Love song.
8. Sufjan Stevens | Chicago
I was busking in NYC subway tunnels when this song came out. I think I identified a lot with it because of the raw and delicate nature of the song and how Sufjan Stevens talks about struggling while sleeping in parking lots while going from one city to the next. That's how I felt, lonely and alone playing guitar in the subway. I loved doing it, but it was difficult all the same.
9. The Kinks | Celluloid Heroes
I came to NYC originally to go to Acting School. I pursued it off and on for years, acting in plays and doing extra work. I love how tragic it makes the lives of early stars out to be, revealing the frailty all these larger than Life characters actual had and how really, we're all special in our own way.
10. Wilco | Theologians
This was a tough one because I knew that Wilco is one of my favorite bands and that they had to have one of my favorite songs. I love a few of their albums, but I remembered identifying with A Ghost Is Born in particular, after hating it at first. I actually went through a few songs thinking how amazing they were, then listening to the next and being blown away all over again. It's not often nowadays that you'll have a song talk about deeper things and one's soul without being overly religious. It's so earnest and a real exercise in Humanity.