Nota Bene: Links are to YouTube... videos vary in quality... you were warned...
1. The Bach Cello Suites
These are part of the reason I went with "musical pieces" instead of just "songs", I knew I wanted to include them and I can't isolate one from the other - not because they are not distinct, but because they flow into each other, and weave themselves into my head. No matter my mood, this music fits. The are perhaps my most favorite musical work of all time, but I really hate to make definitive statements like that.
2. Song of the Banshee by Áine Minogue
Haunting, shivery, a beautiful Celtic lament... I have always love Celtic music, but Áine Minogue's album, Celtic Lamentations, came into my life when I needed some way to grieve, and tears weren't cutting it. And this song, even more than the others on the album gave wordless voice to what I couldn't say... and still does...
3. My Song by Brandi Carlile
This song captures a sense of independence that I have always had... sometimes to my detriment, but there you go... it is also representative of a the singer/songwriter, rockin' gals (mostly), that make up the core of my current listening habits - they span quite a range of sounds, not all like this song... but like this song, they get played over and over in my playlists.
4. Barbie Girl by Aqua
Yes, I know, but I tend to enjoy a little (a lot) of irony in my music - and in my life - and besides, I associate this song with a particularly lovely summer that cemented my relationship with two of my sisters - very different bonds and roles, but made very strong that summer. And we giggled along with this song a lot. And it is so cheerfully awful- really, how could I not love it. All life should have a little absurdity now and then.
5. After All by Dar Williams
Dar, more than any other artist, represents the music of my twenties. And this song... oh, this song... line after line of it... I really can't say what all this song means to me... it goes too deep for words... not autobiography, not my life, but truth- my truth... and the more I live, the more it is my truth... "Life chose me after all."
6. Hallelujah by k.d. lang
I have loved this song in all sorts of covers and iterations, but her version is the perfection of the beauty that is this beautiful song... comfort, poignancy, life...
7. O Fortuna by Carl Orff
I love all of Carmina Burana, but the manic energy and sheer drama of O Fortuna - it so accurately represents what it is like to be inside my brain ... not all the time, but more often than I could say... actually, I'm surprised I get as much done as I do...
My mother loved chamber and classical music and that helped to shape the tastes that I use to create my mental soundtrack... and there is something about this piece that is so intimate and clever and still a bit dramatic - really, the exact kind of thing that I love in music.
9. She by Elvis Costello
While it's true that I primarily listen to girls, I really need some guys on this list... and, oh, Elvis... the many musical stylings and genre disruptions make him a favorite anyway, but this song is so lovely... and who doesn't want to be "a hundred different things within the measure of a day"... otherwise life is just boring, right?
10. Rhythm Divine by Enrique Iglesias
And Enrique... pop-y, latin, angst-y, sexy, and there's that irony again, intentional or not ... there is so much I love about Enrique. This song is one of my early favorites of his, but I still love it... and though perhaps it is uncool, I still love most of his music. And it's great to dance to... most of his music is great for dancing, actually.
This was hard - and there is so much music that I love beyond this, and even though the 10 is an arbitrary number, these pieces really do kind of define the core of my musical loves - eclectic, bizarre, and somewhat unpredictable, with a strong preference for folk music of various stripes. One thing that surprised me was that more country music (any?) didn't make this list - I listen to a lot, and have my whole life, but reflecting on it made me realize that it is not the music that is definitive for me... odd, the things you learn about yourself...