I was driving home in the early evening. It was one of those summer moments that was made for driving with the windows down. I scanned through the radio channels and landed on “Show Me Love” by Robyn and it was just perfect. Of course I was jamming out, and when the song ended I was surprised to hear not the usual DJ but just an average girl announcing the song. She had been chosen by the radio station to play her perfect ten songs based on criteria that the station had picked.
Needless to say, I was jealous. I immediately went home and filled out the questionnaire on their website with my favorite songs… but I never heard back from them. Apparently I didn’t make the cut, which is total bullshit because my song picks are off the chain. I’ve decided to share my perfect ten songs anyway, based on the radio station’s criteria. If you like what you hear, listen to my choices and the runners up on my Perfection Spotify playlist. (I am sorry for the Beatles, Zeppelin, and Dylan covers — these artists aren’t available on Spotify yet.)
Song 1: The First Single You Ever Purchased
My Pick: “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind
My dad works for a record company so when I was a kid I was able to get my hands on pretty much any CD I wanted… and it was totally awesome. (I know how this makes me sound and I am sorry.) I rarely purchased singles but I do recall waltzing into Sam Goody and snagging this joint on cassette single so I could rock out to it in my mom’s car, which inexplicably did not have a CD player in 1997.
The awesomeness of this song has yet to diminish over a decade later and I doubt it ever will. Although the subject matter is dark (overt references to methamphetamine addiction went right over my head at the ripe old age of 10), the lyrics are strangely relatable to us non-meth users. “Semi-Charmed Life” is positively the catchiest song about tweaking that has ever been written. I am proud to say this was the first single I ever purchased.
Song 2: A Song From the First CD You Ever Purchased
My Pick: “Sleep to Dream” by Fiona Apple
My teen angst came a few years early. Fiona Apple was the perfect remedy. I bought Tidal because I loved (and still love) “Criminal” but “Sleep to Dream” became my ultimate favorite song from that album.
Song 3: The First Song You Remember Your Parents Listening to That You Did Not Hate
My Pick: “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart
My mom is a huge Rod Stewart fan. I mean huge. She has a life-size cardboard cutout in our family room that she stole and it literally serves no purpose but to scare people who forget it’s looming in the corner when they walk into the room.
“Maggie May” and “Every Picture Tells a Story” are awesome songs that stand the test of time. Mom was definitely on to something.
Honorable Mentions: “Hard to Handle” by the Black Crowes, “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones, “You Don’t Know How It Feels” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Travelin’ Man” by Bob Seger
Song 4: Guilty Pleasure Song
My Pick: “Fantasy (Remix)” by Mariah Carey featuring ODB
I am not a huge Mariah fan but this song is the exception; and that exception is Old Dirty Bastard. This song was my intro to ODB and the Tao of Wu and I will always be thankful to Mariah for that.
Honorable Mentions: “I Can’t Wait” by Nu Shooz, “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts, “…Baby, One More Time” by Britney Spears, “Sour Girl” by the Stone Temple Pilots, “You Make My Dreams” by Hall and Oates
Song 5: Song You Dance To When No One is Around
My Pick: “Borderline” by Madonna
There were a lot of different ways I could have gone with this one. There are so many songs that incite in me a total rock out of epic proportions when I am alone or otherwise. But you put on some vintage Madonna and all bets are officially off. Get me in the car with some gays and this song, and you better watch yourself. Shit is about to get real.
Honorable Mentions: “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce featuring Jay – Z, “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder, “Do You Know (What It Takes)” by Robyn, “Shoop” by Salt n Peppa
Song 6: The First Song You Slow Danced To With Someone
My Pick: “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Okay, so I fudged a bit on this one. I can’t remember the song I first slow danced to but it was in the very early aughts so it was most likely a really lame cross-over country song because I think that was all they ever played at any school dance I attended in junior high. However my mom always tells the story of her first slow dance, which was also the first time she ever heard “Free Bird.” She was not aware that the tempo picks up at the end of the song and she freaked when everyone around her started boogieing down and ran away from her dancing partner.
Honorable Mention: “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)” by D’Angelo
Song 7: Song You Played Out Because You Loved It So Much When It Was New
My Pick: “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse featuring Jay-Z
I still fully dig this song but when it was new I wore it out. RIP Wino. You are missed.
Honorable Mentions: “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley, “Got Your Money” by ODB, “So Fresh, So Clean” by Outkast
Song 8: The Song You Want to Dance to at Your Wedding
My Pick: “Got To Give It Up (Part 1)” by Marvin Gaye
I love this song so much. It is the ultimate party jam. I was recently at a friend’s wedding and she and her new husband got down to this song by themselves in the middle of the room to this song and it was just as adorable as it sounds. I will be shaking it to this immediately after I say my vows.
Honorable Mentions: “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green, “Right Down the Line” by Gerry Rafferty, “Moondance” by Van Morrison, “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Song 9: Favorite Song by Your Favorite Artist
My Pick: “Tyrone – Live” by Erykah Badu
Baduism is my religion. Miss Badu is always coming for real, and you know the deal. I adore this song more than words can say and I have since I heard the words “Keep in mind that I’m at artist, and I am sensitive about my shit” for the first time. It’s a feminist anthem that brings both sass and realness. Perfection.
Honorable Mentions: “In My Life” by the Beatles, “Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin, “Positively 4th Street” by Bob Dylan, “Raspberry Beret” by Prince, “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin
Song 10: Favorite Song of All Time
My Pick: “Brass Monkey” by the Beastie Boys
This one is just obvious. I picked “Brass Monkey” because it is the best song ever.
They also allowed for four “wildcard” songs to be chosen which don’t necessarily fit into the mold they created for a perfect ten list. I was most likely not picked to play my selections because it is highly doubtful that the majority of my wildcard choices could even be played on the radio.
Wildcard 1: “XXplosive” by Dr. Dre featuring Hittman, Kurupt, Six-Two, and Nate Dogg
If you thought this list would be completed without a mention of something that features the late, great Nate Dogg (RIP) or something from one of The Chronic albums then somebody better get this bitch. Behind “Brass Monkey” this is my number two favorite song of all time. Any song with the lines “All the hoodrats still shake it for me” and “Here baby hit the bong, as the West Coast rolls along” is an instant classic. I know every single line and I will white girl out rap you every time when I hear this jam.
Wildcard 2: “Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh
So many things about this song are perfection but nothing beats the opening riff. When you are driving down the road and you hear “duh nuh na nuh nuh, na nuh na nuh na nuh nuh” you know it is on. And the lyrics, man. Some of them are not relatable to the common man without a Maserati, but the line “I can’t complain but sometimes I still do” speaks to all of us.
Wildcard 3: “Lucifer” by Jay-Z featuring Kanye West
So, yes, this song did put Kanyeezy on the map and is indirectly the cause of the Kanye/Kardashian offspring (not shocking that a song called “Lucifer” would lead to the creation of a real life Rosemary’s Baby) but to be fair, he produced the ever-loving shit out of this song. When it was fresh, Kanye West as a persona felt more inspiring than exhausting. He truly is crazy for this one. It is the perfect hip-hop song in every sense.
Wildcard 4: “The Jump Off” by Lil Kim featuring Mr. Cheeks
I haven’t made my will yet because my only real possessions of value in this world is a filthy white 2008 Mac Book, a late model Honda Civic, a 1987 Bob Seger concert t-shirt (that I would be buried in, duh) and a beat up antique Chanel purse with a broken zipper… and no one cares. But in the event of my untimely demise, I have two stipulations: no one is to talk about Jesus at my funeral and I want the lyrics “Butt naked, dressed in nothing but pearls” on my tombstone. I made this abundantly clear to my best friend last year when I had a boil in my nostril and I was convinced it was a staph infection with access to my brain and I had hours left to live.
Wildcard Honorable Mentions: “”Honky Cat” by Elton John, “Someday” by the Strokes, “Scorpio Rising” by Death in Vegas featuring Liam Gallagher, “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton, “Scarlet Begonias” by Sublime
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