7 Things: Songs That Steal My Breath

Catchy radio hits are a dime a dozen. Sometimes, literally. As long as physical music transporters, i.e. CDs, still exist, you’ll be able to find the most popular music of the day in cheapie bins at used music stores and at yard sales.

Songs with great lyrics are a rarer species, but not like a ‘previously undiscovered Amazonian tribe’ rarity. It may be hard to tell from listening to the radio, but great songs do still get written every day. They may be harder to find, but they are out there.

The most precious jewel of music, I think, is the song that seizes you. The one that you start out listening to as if it’s just another song, and then, somewhere inside of it, you discover that you are transfixed, that you can’t do anything else. The world stops for it, and so do you. You can’t even breathe, because, for that moment, it owns you completely.

Since music is such a subjective art form and the impact it has on us personally is so closely tied to our own life experiences, the songs that hold this type of power differ for everyone. I kind of believe the songs that you abandon yourself to tell a lot about who you are as a person, so, if anyone is feeling particularly share-y, I’d be interested in knowing what songs would be on your list.

Here’s mine –

7 – Skyscraper by Demi Lovato

We’ll start with the most recent addition to the list.

While I don’t think the lyrics to this song are particularly brilliant – I actually find them kind of basic – the music is favorable to them. It doesn’t overpower or interfere with the simplicity.

It’s the performance, though, that elevates this song to more than what it appears on paper. I’ve heard very few songs that bleed with this much emotion. It is chill-inducing live, and pretty show-stopping even on the computer screen.

6 – Tel Aviv by Jill Sobule

Known more for her musical comedy than for her brilliant songwriting, Jill Sobule might be the last person you’d expect to turn out a social issue song that totally floors you. But, as humorous lyric-heavy as they may be, her albums do leave space for the more serious side of life. Not more so than in her song Tel Aviv, which shines light on sexual slavery in the city.

I can’t find a clip online, unfortunately, but I know it’s available on Spotify.

5 – Stephen – David Ford

I’ve mentioned this song before in my post about great song lyrics. The truth is this song doesn’t have a single great lyric. Most of David Ford’s songs don’t. His songwriting is solid and distinctive, and many of his songs have lyrics that bring everything to a standstill. The intensity of emotion and background of this song, though, along with its impeccable lyrics, set it apart.

The story of the song takes up the first 2:25 of the video. It’s good backstory, but skippable if you want to get to the song.

4 – Because of You by Kelly Clarkson

Take a song that is filled with pain-invoking lyrics for anyone who grew up in a household of instability and anger and chaos, which, sadly, is a larger percentage of the population than it should be. Add a vocal performance by Kelly Clarkson that positively drips with every ounce of that pain. Throw in the line “I’m forced to fake a smile or laugh every day of my life.” Pretend that your heart doesn’t crack wide open every single time you hear the song, no matter how many times you hear the song.

3 – Not Pretty Enough by Kasey Chambers

Kasey Chambers has a way of writing songs that grab you and don’t let go. My favorite song of hers, The Captain, has one of the greatest opening lines in a song ever, and despite the not-quite upbeat music, maintains a strangely melancholy sound. It’s Not Pretty Enough, though, that always gives me that deep sigh feeling.

Unlike most of these songs, it doesn’t take any time to notice that you’re caught. That first question is heart-wrenching.

2 – Stop Tickin’ by Fred Wilhelm

I will never forget the first time I heard this song. It was during a songwriters’ round at the Bluebird Cafe. The music and the lyrics were catchy enough. Especially the music, which is really pretty sweet.

Then, we got to the second verse.

If this song is gonna get you, that’s when it will do it. I cannot get through the verse about his mom without chills. I’ve deemed it physically impossible.

1 – Leave the Light On by Beth Hart

Beth Hart live is like nothing you have ever seen before and nothing you will see again. Her voice is pure fucking emotion, no matter what she’s singing about. Though, I could really have done without the song about her husband’s feet. Okay, it was kinda funny.

Not only is Beth Hart pretty much a lyrical genius, she writes a lot of extraordinarily intense songs that do not let up. Of course, without her powerhouse vocals, those probably wouldn’t have the effect that they do.

Out of all of her songs, though, Leave the Light On is the one that produces the most chills. It’s something to experience in an intimate space.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.