I’ve wanted to do a post of a playlist all semester, but was never really sure how to approach it. As we come to the end, I’ve decided that perhaps the easiest way is this; no theme beyond the fact that these are catchy, popular, and/or otherwise noteworthy songs that, if everyone knew them, might make the world a better place. (Well. I say “better”. Really, I probably mean “cooler.)
So, without further ado; 20 Songs You Need To Know (Addendum: That Make The World a Cooler Place), and a short note about each.
Or, alternately: 20 Songs that are Really Fun to Sing in the Car
- Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen: If you haven’t scream-sung this at the top of your lungs in a car full of people a la Wayne’s World style, are you really living?
- Sympathy for the Devil, The Rolling Stones: Coming at 32 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Best Songs, this controversial ditty is a first person account of the influence of the Devil on human history. If you haven’t heard it (somehow), that’s why it’s #2.
- I Want To Hold Your Hand, The Beatles: While one of their most popular, not the most popular, and also just my favorite by them.
- I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend, The Ramones: If you need an accessible introduction to a classic punk band, this is it.
- Baba O’Riley, The Who: Also (incorrectly) known as Teenage Wasteland, an ode to the strung out teenagers at Woodstock.
- Alex Chilton, The Replacements: An homage to the Big Star lead singer.
- Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana: The song that swept across 90s America that every teenager since has identified with, basically.
- Semi-Charmed Life, Third Eye Blind: A misleadingly cheerful ditty about the dangers of life lived with a crystal meth addiction.
- One Week, Barenaked Ladies: So. Many. References.
- Buddy Holly, Weezer: Upbeat, with a pretty positive message; don’t care about they say about you, anyway.
- Mr. Brightside, The Killers: Admittedly, I’m willing to consolidate The Killers entire discography onto a playlist and call it “Songs You Need To Know”, but in the interest of variety, this one will get you by.
- Debaser, The Pixies: Inspired by a surrealist Dalí short film, which debased the art community at the time, this was a call to debase the music scene.
- There is a Light that Never Goes Out, The Smiths: Fun to sing, sad to think about. Worth it.
- Ever Fallen in Love, The Buzzcocks: An examination of the joy that is unrequited teenage love.
- Cut Your Hair, Pavement: That’s a pretty nice haircut.
- Just Because I Don’t Say Anything (Doesn’t Mean I’ve Got Nothing To Say), Wingnut Dishwashers Union: Making good use of the harmonica and the metaphor.
- Jude Law and a Semester Abroad, Brand New: More unrequited love. Still a necessity.
- Houdini, Foster the People: While their single “Pumped Up Kicks” swept charts in 2012, I think “Houdini” is a much more accurate representation of the sound of Foster the People.
- Walking on a Dream, Empire of the Sun: Thought we could do with a little dream-pop.
- Closing Time, Semisonic: I wanted to close my high school graduation ceremony with this song. I wasn’t allowed to, so I’ll use it close out this post.
To access this playlist in all its eclectic glory, it can be found here: