7 Days of Gratitude – Songs

I like music, but I love songs. The thing about music is I don’t know enough about it. Unless someone is hitting a lot of out-of-tune notes, I can’t tell the difference between music played well and music played poorly. But songs have lyrics and that means I can participate in them in a way that I can’t with music (short of learning an instrument).

You can sing-along with songs. And singing, even if your not very good at it, is an act of communion. In hymns, in folk songs, in rock ballads, and in rap verses, we all can sing along (at least to the chorus). And we are meant to. The best songs have music and lyrics that compliment each other, soaring or languid as the song demands.

The thing is that I’m not insisting that lyrics or songs have to make rational sense. Lyrics are poetry, meant to convey a mood rather than a story (although they can do both). They express the universal through the specific, so we all can experience the catharsis the song provides together.

Anyhoo, I’m going to end this by posting one of my favorite songs (possibly my favorite). It is by They Might Be Giants (I recently told a friend how much I loved TMBG and he said, “Well, you grew up in the eighties on college radio. It checks out.”) It is about the absurdity of life, the futility of agency, and the fleeting nature of existence. Also, you can sing it 364 days of the year (365 in leap years). Feel free to post favorite songs in the comments.


  1. Oh, sadly the video isn’t working and I really want to know what song it is! I love TMBG. My personal favorite TMBG song is Turn Around, with Dead a close second, but my favorite band of all time is Oingo Boingo, with probably Elevator Man as the favorite.

  2. Great choice, John C., though the embedded link appears to not be working. For myself, pop songs and their lyrics have meant way too much to me over the years (I once had a whole series about favorite lyrical choices on my blog), so let me just note a favorite that’s been on my mind lately: Paul McCartney’s “I Don’t Know,” off his latest album Egypt Station: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aef2eV7GmQw

  3. It’s Not My Birthday!

    I suppose you would add The Unbirthday Song from Alice in Wonderland to that playlist.

    My favourite TMBG song is probably Birdhouse in your Soul. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hrm. I’m sorry about the link not working. Here is another link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhw5w3UMxmA

  5. Yes, I am grateful for the work of a well turned song, and deeply grateful for the work of quirky, individual radio stations like BBC radio’s 6 music, particularly love the Sunday programming and late nights, also downloadable playlists that have changed my world. The creativity of human beings is what has helped me to remain optimistic and see that not all the works of man are evil. Lift thine eyes indeed.

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