Sunday, June 8, 2008

Top 5 Songs About Space

OK, this sounded like a pretty straightforward idea but actually proved to be considerably more difficult than originally planned. Here's a ground rule to help make things slightly simpler: songs dealing with aliens, even if they're aliens visiting earth, qualify. (See song #3.)

Ryan's Top Five

1. "The Galaxy Song" - Monty Python (written by Eric Idle and John Du Prez) - This song reminds me of "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" (obvious) and "The Village Green Preservation Society" (less so). Why? There are few songs that make me more cheerfully content. These songs are my anti-drug. "So remember when you're feeling very small and insecure / How amazingly unlikely is your birth / And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space / 'Cuz there's bugger all down here on earth."

2. "Space Oddity" - David Bowie - Well, Dan's right, you cannot omit this in good conscience and I'm taking the piss (I've been watching too much BBC) by not putting it #1. You know a song satisfies the "space" requirement when it includes a countdown to a lift-off. Anyway, I think I like the song "Starman" more but it seemed less applicable. "How did you spend your Saturday night, Ryan?" "I mused upon the space-relevance of David Bowie's "Starman" versus David Bowie's "Space Oddity," and yourself?"

3. "Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois" - Sufjan Stevens - An excellent way to start an excellent album. More importantly, it's straight up about UFOs, homey.

4. "Silent Sigh" - Badly Drawn Boy - This is from the "About A Boy" soundtrack--Damon Gough's impassioned plea for people not to move to the moon just yet, not at least until earth has eaten the heart from your soul. Soon as that happens though, boy howdy, I'm the Mayor of Moon Village!

5. "Starlight" - Muse - I love the idea of a spaceship taking someone away from everyone who cares about you, cares if you live or die. I mean, what are our hopes and expectations anyway? It's all black holes and revelations. (I was tempted to put [and someone else may likely put] "Knights of Cydonia," as Cydonia is a region on Mars, but, you know, ... fair play? These are the cosmic debates that keep one up at night. [Pun intended...I intend all puns.])

Honorable Mentions: "Bowie's in Space," which I mainly left out because I'm tired of talking about Really Funny Stuff and ruining the humor; "Starman," Bowie; "Surfing on a Rocket," Air; "Flash!" Queen (as soon as I become a baseball player, this is my batter's box intro theme); "Knights of Cydonia"; "Spaceman," Nilsson.

Dan's Top 5:

1. David Bowie - Space Oddity - I could put this at #2, sure... but then it would become this list's "Hot Fuss" (see previous list) - everyone ranking it high, but no one with the guts to put it at #1. Funny note: I originally hated this song because it sounded too weird. The more I realized how awesome Bowie is, the more this song was acceptable. Actually, that's not a funny note. That's just a sad realization that my younger self didn't know good music when he heard it.

2. Elton John - Rocket Man - Probably my second-favorite Elton John song behind "Tiny Dancer." Some parts of the song are confusing, such as "All this science I don't understand," and "And there's no one there to raise them if you did." It also loses points because ever since the William Shatner fiasco (see here), it's had a corniness aspect to it. But nonetheless a great song.

3. Pink Floyd - Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun - timpani drums + weird chimes + phrygian mode to give it that "Eastern" sound = space rock, right? As a matter of fact, the title is the only lyric that contains a reference to space. But I mean if you're programming a spaceship's navigation system to journey to the center of a fucking star, I'd say that qualifies as a space song. One of Pink Floyd's early masterpieces.

4. Styx - Come Sail Away - Yeah, remember that last verse, wherein it's revealed that the angels are really aliens from OUTER SPACE? I'll bet that blew your mind when you first heard it. Wait, who am I kidding? Styx can't possibly blow anybody's mind. But as I said in my Top 5 Songs to Blast While Driving, it's a really fun song, unlike most space songs, which tend to be too bleak.

5. Air - Surfing on a Rocket - This song is the reason I don't hate the French. By far Air's best song with lyrics, though in my book it would get blown out of the water by "Alpha Beta Gaga" if whistling counted as lyrics. Also, very inventive use of countdown lyrics. Never before has "Five, four, three, two, one, ze-ro" sounded so catchy.

Honorable Mention: Europe - The Final Countdown - if it weren't so easy to envision myself growing my hair out, putting on a shiny cape and playing this song on key-tar while on my bed, then this song would have made the list. Also, Ryan's honorables are pretty damn good. Come to think of it, we should also do Top 5 Personal Batter's Box Intro Themes soon.

1 comment:

catch said...

here my contribution: "SPACESHIP" from Kanye West!