1. The Police | Every Breath You Take
Sting’s voice, man!! I love that voice. It has strength in the bass of his voice, but also is soft and croony enough to lull you to sleep if you wanted. Man, from that first snare hit that song is just a piece of perfection. Just the right amount of reverb, it doesn’t sound like you’re in a huge arena or you’re in a bedroom, but rather that you’re in a small warehouse or something with The Police. It’s one of those songs that is just melodically so perfect, a lot of times people will make music that I think melodically is a little lackadaisical and so they will try to make up for it by layering and methodically structuring a song. This song though, I think the melody and the instrumentation is so beautiful that it really doesn’t have to pick up a whole bunch, the song basically ends the same as the beginning except with a few added oohs and piano riffs. The way he tracks the vocals as well, it’s definitely structured, but you can tell there are just some parts that just came out a little improvised while in the studio and those minor details just add to the emotion and subtle flavoring of the song. I’m just a sucker for beautiful Minimalistic music, music that can afford to be Minimalistic just because of how absolutely beautiful the few parts are. That snare hit too… It just marches you right on through the song without missing a beat.
2. Jeff Buckley | Lover, You Should’ve Come Over
This is one of those songs that I listened to for the first time and thought, well, I didn’t really remember much anything particular in this song and I think that is natural as the structuring of this song is quite interesting. Thing about this song is, the more and more you listen to it, the more and more you can’t stop listening to it. I’m glad I didn’t forget to include this song on the list because there was a time in my life where I was probably listening to this song, and an acoustic version of this song, probably over 6-8 times a day. His voice is just so angelic, it’s so perfect… It has a classical perfection to it, but with an added emotional soulful wavering that just makes it so much more expressive. Through listening to Jeff Buckley, I would think that I discovered a lot a lot a lot about my own voice, partially just by trying to sing his songs as well. His voice is tame, but with a reckless abandon he can seemingly seem to summon whenever to stir a certain part within your chest that just makes you shiver. His lyrics too. He said he drew creatively from his dreams at times, this entire song feels like a dream. It is so descriptive and although seemingly it seems like a love song, to me it stirs emotions that go deeper, deeper into a necessity that does not only bind to a certain thing or person, but one that binds it to one’s self and becomes a part of one’s own person. “It’s never ove... My kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder… It’s never over... She’s the tear that hangs inside my soul forever... Never have I heard lyrics so moving.
3. The Jimi Hendrix Experience | Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Man, what serious guitarist hasn’t heard this song? This song, every time I listen to it, is possibly the coolest fucking song of all time. That intro, that lick, that drop. Listening through some nice headphones is also such a cool experience, with the bass panned out wide and the guitar solo just traveling back and forth through each headphone, like he was soloing straight through your brain. That guitar was just an extension of his body, he could straight up communicate through that thing. There's just a certain level of emotion that can be conveyed through playing the blues that I’m going to be striving for more through my music. Stay tuned!!
4. Slash | Gotten (feat. Adam Levine)
I probably heard this song about 3 to 4 years ago, I was always a fan of the vocals of Maroon 5 and his melodies. I came across this song while looking at the Slash solo album. The song is just so soothing, the guitar part working with the vocals, when I listen to this song I want to stop what I’m doing and just listen for a second. To me there isn’t any single part of the song that stands out very much, but that is the beauty of it, that all the parts are just very delicately laid out to compliment each other.
5. The 88 | All ‘Cause Of You
I just love this song, my sister showed this one to me. I think it was on MySpace way back in the day on her profile or something. They don’t layer a bunch of crazy instruments on top of each other, but rather through working with the dynamics of their given instruments, they do a great job of creating a fun noisy moving part of the song, especially without getting too distorted, which would probably naturally make the song a little heavier. I definitely have an extensive listening history of bands like Weezer and Nirvana, but these days I’ve definitely also been getting pretty intrigued on trying to attain a big sound while still maintaing a clean/minor crunch tone on my guitar. Songs like Like A Friend by Pulp, Suck It And See by Arctic Monkeys or My Body by Young The Giant do a good job of this I think.
6. The Velvet Underground | After Hours
I love Moe’s voice. I almost didn’t include this until I listened to it and thought… Yeah, this is one of my favorite songs. Check it out. So natural, so pretty...
7. Billy Currington | Let Me Down Easy
Another Country song, I really like this one because I think it has very great Minimalistic value. This meaning there isn’t really anything that is trying to do too much with the song, no unnecessary guitar licks, no weird anythings. Everything is very natural and all the music seems to have been played out of necessity and not in an effort to pad on and create anything huge. I think when you pad on a lot of instruments, it can give you a great big arena sound, but at the same time it can take away from the emotion and dynamics that are inherent in more Minimalistic music. Also I love that pedal/lap steel guitar that keeps peeking through from time to time. You can definitely expect me to be incorporating one into my music in the future.
8. Frank Sinatra | Fly Me To The Moon (Kaye Ballard's 'In Other Words' Cover)
Just a great ballad and altogether well put together song. I probably heard this song my Senior Year of High School as well, I went through a Frank Sinatra phase, but this track always manages to come back to me. Frank Sinatra is another one of those guys that makes me appreciate my Baritone voice, his voice is just the perfect mixture of rich and soothing, it doesn’t aim to overpower yet it is still very strong and apparent. Definitely spent a fair share of my time singing through a microphone plugged into my amp to this song, it always takes me to a starry night in Central Park, New York. Mind you I’ve never really been to Central Park...
9. Kenny Chesney | You And Tequila (feat. Grace Potter)
This is a great song. Kind of shows that sometimes less is more. The Production isn’t all crazy with 10 different instruments and etc., but that’s what makes the song beautiful. This song really captures the essence of the guitar lead/riff/chords being played at the beginning and centers the entire song around it, which I can really appreciate. Anyone who has ever played the guitar an extensive amount of time has come up with something where they think hey, this is a cool riff, huh?... Sometimes however when those things are taken into production and made into a song, they can be drowned out by extensive layering and etc., but I think this song does a good job in keeping the main idea focused on the main riff of the song.
10. Josh Turner | Your Man
I heard this song when I was a Senior in High School, I thought it was super catchy, I also realized that my voice could go that low pretty easily while all my other friends would always try to imitate it and sound really funny. Usually on Pop radio a lot of the male singers are high pitched Tenors and it was always hard for me to sing a long to their songs when I first started singing and so this song kind of changed my mindset and helped me further appreciate my lower registered voice. I had been drinking at an open mic night my Freshman Year of College like my first week there and I turned to my friend and said I was going to perform a song, something I hadn’t really done before on my own (I was in Choir, but hadn’t really ever sang on my own). I sang this song and definitely got a lot of hoots and cheers from the female section of the audience.