Music Obsessions of Today :: Top Five
Listen as a playlist on Spotify
Music obsessions of today, my top five, with a theme for the week. California in song, something I tend to collect and compile, songs about the places I am from and the stories the provide. Feel free to share your own obsessively favorite California songs in the comments, and enjoy the five each day for this almost February week. You can click to listen to each video below, or choose the Spotify link to listen to the Music Obsessions of Today :: Top Five playlist. I will add each five songs shared to the playlist each day.
1. “California” :: Mazzy Star
“I think I hear the whisper of my own best friend.
I think I hear the bells ringing in the square.
Hope’s voice swirls around in the starkness of low-fi production, feeling like the breeze from the ocean, in mid-afternoon, driving up the coast. I close my eyes and can almost smell the salt water, I can almost feel the cold water on bare feet. The vocal build towards the end reminds me of the pull of the tide. This is beautiful.
2. “California” :: Joni Mitchell
“I might have stayed there with him,
but my heart cried out for you, California.
Oh California, I’m coming home.
Oh, make me feel good rock’n roll band,
I’m your biggest fan.
California, I’m coming home.”
Joni is part of my childhood, part of my mother’s record collection, part of the music part of my muscle memory. It taps on time past, triggers memories, and like some other of my music obsessions of the day, this one is about always coming back home to California. I’ve left before, for good at times, I thought, but I always came back again.
3. “Roses” :: Pete Yorn
“It’s the roses in the water.
It’s the highlight of your night.
When the jasmine bloomed on Sunset Blvd.,
and we fell in love for the first time.”
A special song to me. There is something about the chorus that captures a certain time of year in a certain area of Los Angeles so perfectly that I can smell the jasmine, can see the headlights of passing cars, can feel the way the energy swirls, and can see it all so vividly. Though this song is about a relationship, to me, it also is about the city that backdrops the story of two people falling in love.
4. “Goodnight, Hollywood Blvd.” (live) :: Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
“So, I close my eyes,
and I close my mouth,
and do this all in time to the music.”
This one feels like a leaving song, or at least wanting to leave. The “See ya sometime.
Yeah, right, yeah right.” says so much to me in such a simple way. It always gets to me, that lyric.
5. “West Coast” :: Coconut Records
“And I miss you,
I’m goin’ back home to the West Coast.
I wish you would’ve put yourself in my suitcase.”
This one feels like a coming back song, or at least a wanting to come back one. Like the song above, there is one line that always gets to me – the “I wish you would’ve put yourself in my suitcase” one. It reminds me of long distance relationships, of miles apart, of long, lingering phone calls with all that “wish you were here” sentiments. Goodbyes in airports where there is a moment of wanting to just say “stay”, or “come with me”, or in the case of this song…”I wish you would’ve put yourself in my suitcase.”
So, that’s Monday’s installment of the California-themed, Music Obsessions of Today :: Top Five. It stared out with some of Hope Sandoval’s gorgeous vocals, then on to a childhood memory song from Joni Mitchell, onto Pete Yorn’s Hollywood falling-in-love song, Ryan Adams live ode to Hollywood, and leaving, and Coconut Records ode to the West Coast, and staying.
What are you listening to?