The Song Will Be Mine

For a while now, I’ve had a cycle of favourite songs, but none of them have last­ed very long. The “favourite” slot is only a tem­po­rary posi­tion, which should real­ly be called “song-of-the-moment”. I real­ized I start­ed doing this because none of my music is sacred any­more — every time I hear an old favourite, there’s a mem­o­ry that’s asso­ci­at­ed with it — so I’ve been look­ing for new favourite mate­ri­als, try­ing to find new mate­r­i­al that’ll be mine.

Here are the last eight, in order from least to most recent (going back a few months).

Leonard Cohen — A Singer Must Die

When I first heard this song, I did­n’t know what it was about, but the words drew me in. Cohen paints this strik­ing image of a singer in a court­room, set to melan­choly and min­i­mal­is­tic acoustic gui­tar.

Then read me the list of the crimes that are mine,
I will ask for the mer­cy that you love to decline.
And all the ladies go moist, and the judge has no choice,
a singer must die for the lie in his voice.

And I thank you, I thank you for doing your duty,
you keep­ers of truth, you guardians of beau­ty.
Your vision is right, my vision is wrong,
I’m sor­ry for smudg­ing the air with my song.

I lat­er dis­cov­ered that Cohen wrote it about all artists even­tu­al­ly sell­ing out (the lie in his voice), and this idea that women are turned on by a singer being mar­tyred for it. I love this idea, because I’m always caught between try­ing to retain my artis­tic integri­ty, and at the same time try­ing to appeal to the mass­es to make mon­ey so I can con­tin­ue being an artist and have bet­ter tools that would help me express myself.

Clann Zú — One Bedroom Apartment

Declan de Barra wrote this about his fiancee of five years leav­ing him. It’s filled with the most intense­ly per­son­al lyrics, com­bined with moments of dis­tor­tion and stark­ness. In an inter­view, he once said that this song defines the album, Black Coats and Bandages, and he had to write parts of it in the third per­son because oth­er­wise it’s just too emo­tion­al if he sang it pure­ly from the first per­son. The most com­mon line in the song, repeat­ed qui­et­ly as the piano rolls on, is “I will nev­er love again”. I almost wrote an entire entry ded­i­cat­ed to this song, because I was iden­ti­fy­ing with the lyrics so much at that moment. I read a com­ment once on this song that said, “The goal in life is to nev­er be able to relate to this song”. I agree.

Muse — Map of the Problematique

My favourite song off Black Holes and Revelations. I only like it because it moves so well. That’s pret­ty much it. There’s a break­down of gui­tar at the 1:48 mark that gets me every time.

Clann Zú — Words For Snow

The first song off Clann Zú’s first album com­plete­ly rais­es the bar on any­thing else they ever did. I just lis­ten for the last half of the song. It builds and it builds with the snare drum, then the music recedes, until all you can hear is Declan de Barra speak­ing in his thick Irish accent, right into a smat­ter­ing of STRINGS and BASS and Declan scream­ing AND HE CRIED OUT FOR CHRIST’S SAKE HELP ME, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE GET ME OUT OF HERE, GOD OF ALL SICK THINGS GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE, GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE, GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!” and then quar­ter note rests into fuck­ing strings times two and god I just came in my pants.

Magneta Lane — Wild Gardens

Okay, it should real­ly be some­thing like five songs on this list by Magneta Lane, because of their two fan­tas­tic albums, but the one that start­ed it all was Wild Gardens (it has a cute video too). This song makes me think of sun­ny days, and green, and par­ties under foliage. I espe­cial­ly like it when Lexi Valentine says, “Now dar­ling she can’t keep on waiting/Till you give a fuck that she’s fad­ing”. I’m still sav­ing enough mon­ey for three engage­ment rings so I can pro­pose to this band.

Magneta Lane

Star Fucking Hipsters — Until We're Dead

This punk rock pow­er-group, lead by Stza as his side-project from Leftöver Crack, is still char­ac­ter­ized by the calm before (and after) the storm; in this case, gen­tle piano that book­ends the catchy melodies and pow­er riffs. Until We’re Dead adds the cute female vocals of Nico de Gaillo, which gives their sound a nice bit of con­trast against Stza’s raspy voice.

Okay, so this song was only top for two days, but it remains in my top ten, and I still play it when I need that extra boost of ener­gy. Works espe­cial­ly well as the first song when leav­ing the house.

No Motiv — Empty

I final­ly found a copy of No Motiv’s album, And The Sadness Prevails. I first gave this song a real­ly good lis­ten when I was deliv­er­ing cas­es for work, which means I was soak­ing up the sun on the high­way, which is exact­ly how I’ve ever heard every oth­er No Motiv album. So, there’s always this per­pet­u­al image of sum­mer that I asso­ciate with them. This is prob­a­bly tied as the best song on the album, pure­ly for the hook and the lyrics in said hook:

Eventually I’ll be left here feel­ing emp­ty again
I’m still so con­fused about the part where you said
That you’re in my way
There is no one that can give me inspi­ra­tion like you
And I’m still won­der­ing why

so I’ll keep ask­ing
do you like what you see?
because this is all of me
so here I wait for you

Leonard Cohen — Take This Waltz

And this brings me back to right now. I’m pret­ty much obsessed with this song, an English lan­guage ver­sion of the Spanish poem Pequeño vals vienés. It’s so unlike any oth­er Cohen song before it. I like the idea of giv­ing a song to some­one, which I nat­u­ral­ly relat­ed to. This also offi­cial marks the tran­si­tion of his instru­ments to syn­the­siz­ers, a tran­si­tion I was dread­ing, but sur­vived with an acquired taste.


  1. Thank you for this!

    Firstly it made me real­ize how few peo­ple late­ly actu­al­ly write about music in a way that makes me want to try it out.
    Secondly, thanks for adding the files so I could actu­al­ly lis­ten to it (no file shar­ing pro­grams allowed at work)

    • You have to tell me if you like the Magneta Lane; that’s the band I was telling you about at the pot luck.

  2. Very inter­est­ing and i like how you can lis­ten to the songs

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