James McAvoy

Top 5 Music Obsessions of the Day

Listen as a playlist on Spotify 

1. “Candleland” :: Ian McCulloch, featuring Elizabeth Fraser

“You’ll know that something’s left you,
just as you arrive.”

I forgot how beautiful this song is, and I forgot much I love Ian’s solo album. Elizabeth and Ian’s voice together is harmonically gorgeous. I found myself playing this song, on repeat, as the sun lit up the sky this morning. Early mornings, first songs heard, the winding freeway ahead – it was a beautiful morning today.

2. “It’s Only Life” :: The Shins

“You’ve been talking for hours.
You say,
“time will wash every tower to the sea,”
and now you’ve got this worry in your heart.”

I’m still loving this song. I think it has made its way onto the 5 music obsessions a few times (at least) since I started this series. There is an honesty in the lyrics, a mixed up blend of regret and hopefulness. It feels like growing up and growing into yourself. It feels like not caring anymore what anyone thinks, facing everything ahead without getting stuck in the behind, and just living.

3. “The Killing Jar” :: Siouxsie & The Banshees

“Then from his eyes,
spring fireflies,
breathing life,
into a roaring disguise.”

My favorite off of the Peepshow album, this song always got replayed, rewound, turned up loud. This song always made its way onto mixed tapes, CD’s, and even still makes appearances on playlists. Something about this song feels like everything I’ve always loved about Siouxsie & The Banshees music – the pace, the vocals, the dark tinted lyrics, the underlying pop sensibilities, the orchestration, the electronic twists and turns, the rise at the end, the climax and chanting, and the quick stop ending.

4. “Laid” :: James

“I found you sleeping next to me,
I thought I was alone.
You’re driving me crazy –
when are you coming home?”

I think this was the first time I heard James, and Tim Booth’s voice (that range is incredible). I bought the album soon after and it became something quintessential in my life, marking a very specific time, the life I was living, the people I loved, the dreams and heartbreaks, and cross-country flights, all of it. It is instant memory recall music whenever I hear this song.

5. “Perfect Skin” :: LLoyd Cole & The Commotions

“And I’m staying up here so I may be undone,
she’s inappropriate,
but then she’s much more fun
and when she smiles my way…”

Lloyd Cole’s storytelling reminds me of late 80’s, late night coffee house conversations that weaved together literary references and local confessions, like who is falling for who, who left without saying goodbye, and “would it be okay if I kissed you?” Things like that. Lyrical nostalgia.

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