Bob Marley, “Three Little Birds”
Want to know why every resort in the Caribbean, South America and every surrounding island will undoubtedly play this song in their lobby at least five times during your stay? Because that’s what this song was made for. Vacation. Relaxation. Enjoyment. If rainbows and butterflies and Xs and Os could all make noise, it would sound exactly like “Three Little Birds”.
Dashboard Confessional, “Hands Down”
Because if you didn’t fall madly in love with your middle school/high school/college crush to this song or buy a black studded belt and immediately proclaim yourself as “emo” upon first listen, then you are either a dirty, filthy liar, a sociopath with no regard to human emotion, or too young/old for this song to be relevant. That’s it, hands down, no exceptions.
Madonna, “Like a Prayer”
At high school dances, me, my best friends and every other pubescent girl present would freak the f-ck out whenever this song came on. I think (and hope) that every teenage girl still does. It was like we all just collectively agreed that Madge wrote this one for us and so it was only right to show her honor for it by enacting interpretative dance every time it played. This meant raising our hands to the sky, dropping our knees to the floor at just the right moment and furiously hugging each other when it was over. It’s funny, because the lyrics are more indicative of some sort of intimate and passionate love or a religious experience, and the music video — in typical Madonna fashion — is all over the freaking place. But, for some reason the song meant friendship to us. And I don’t know if we’re all still “friends” the way we used to be, but I’m pretty sure if this song came on and we were all together, we’d totally hit the dance floor with those same choreographed moves. If that isn’t the sign of a good song, I don’t know what is.
Ludacris, “What’s Your Fantasy?”
Because nothing pushes your freak gear into four-wheel drive faster than a few kamikaze shots, some sweaty dance moves and Luda’s dirty rap schemes in the background. (Library, on top of books, if you must know.)
John Lennon, “Imagine”
This song, this man, sparked ever-lasting, world-wide cultural and political change in the best of ways. The melody and the words are so simple, yet produce such a powerful meaning. During the velvet revolution in the Czech Republic, the youth were said to have been so greatly inspired by these lyrics, as well as the Beatles in general, that they followed what was dubbed “Lennonism.” In the beautiful city of Prague, over the historic Charles Bridge and down a few windy, cobblestone alleys, there exists the “Lennon Wall” where students still graffiti vibrant positivity and words of acceptance on it to this day. It is an amazing landmark to visit. We should never, ever get sick of this song.
Elton John, “Bennie And The Jets”
Honestly, if there ever was an international theme song for the greatest night of your life with the greatest friends you’ll ever have in the greatest place you’ll ever be, this would 100% be it. If you need proof, just watch the scene in 27 Dresses when Katherine Heigl drunkenly dances on the bar at that road-side dive to this song. You’ll immediately want to copy cat that precise moment. (And DON’T judge me for watching 27 Dresses. Not, at least, until you watch that scene.) So whether your location preference is a roof-top bar in New York City, a beachside fire-pit, or Katherine Heigl’s country dive-bar, you really need to enact this moment ASAP. And hey look, it’s Friday. So, go do it tonight.
Cyndi Lauper, “Time After Time”
What other song can you both laugh and cry to? Seriously, this is the perfect song for crying. With the whole “secrets stolen from deep inside — the drum beats out of time” and that dreamy, troubled chorus, it’s just straight up provoking me to grab a bottle of red and a box of tissues and get after a good sob. But, alas, once I get a little too sad, I can just flip on Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion and change the scene to twirling around my room in my underwear pretending to be a ballerina. Ta-da! Problem solved.
Eric Clapton, “Wonderful Tonight”
Okay, I’m just going to put it out there and say that we should make a group effort to petition the Love Gods to agree that if you’ve decided you’re in love with someone, instead of ruining the moment with tricky, uncomfortable words, all you have to do is put this song on when the two of you are alone and voila! — the rest will just magically pan out perfectly, complete with candle-light and stars and all those aforementioned Xs and Os. I mean, don’t you just melt?
Multiple Artists (Writer, Robert Burns), “Auld Lang Syne”
So maybe “Auld Lang Syne” hasn’t ever been over-played, but it’s one of the most popular songs in the world and no matter how many times you hear it, it’s bound to melt your heart again with each new play. Maybe it’s because we associate it with the most poignant moments in life – New Year’s Eve, funerals, graduations, etc. Or, maybe it’s the way it literally translates to “times long past” that evokes such a reminiscent quality about it. Whatever it is, “Auld Lang Syne” has an extraordinary way of, for just a few moments, uniting all mankind with a common thread — eliciting a tiny reminder that we’re all in this together.
DJ Kool, “Let Me Clear My Throat”
Do I even need to justify this?