I think we’ve covered already how terrible my CD collection was in my formative years. Besides mostly consisting of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Les Mis (with the occasional Ace of Bass thrown in there for good measure), it’s not like after I buried my love of musicals deep, deep into the recesses of my soul that my taste in music somehow improved. If anything it got worse without me even realizing it. Because if there is one thing that bridges the gap between Sondheim and the Top 20, it’s epic ballads from the late 90s and early 00s.
I’m not talking Celine Dion‘s “My Heart Will Go On,” I’m talking about unironically humming along to Train’s “Drops Of Jupiter” for the last 10 years and knowing all the lyrics (“the best soy latte that you ever had…and me“) without being cognizant to the fact that this is, perhaps, one of my favorite songs of all time. Along with 5 for Fighting’s “Superman,” – which had a brief revival recently when Conan O’Brien and Jim Carrey sang a duet of the ballad on tour – songs like “Drops Of Jupiter,” and Enrique Iglesias‘ “Hero” somehow slipped through the cracks of my consciousness and laid eggs deep, deep in my sub-cortex.
Did I remember the name of the band who sang the immortal lines ” I’m only a man in a silly red sheet/Digging for kryptonite on this one way street…it’s not easy to be me?” Nope. Do I tear up every time I hear the song, thinking “Yeah, being Superman would be really lonely?” Absolutely. And the crazy thing is that for years I told people I wasn’t a “music” person…I’d listen to Modest Mouse or M.I.A., maybe even some pop music like Beyonce, but almost kept it as a source of pride that I knew less about music than I did about geography. (And I thought Philadelphia was a state until…well, let’s just say until long after I and my college professors should have known better).
The fact was: I didn’t hate music. I loved music, especially music with swelling orchestral arrangements accompanied by the most saccharine, overwrought lyrics ever to be seen outside a theater space. And I couldn’t even own my love of these shitty ballads, because I wasn’t even aware that I liked them in the first place. But after a weekend of soul-searching, I have found my top ten songs: Maybe not of all time, but certainly 10 songs that I’d rather be listening to on any given day than whatever Pitchfork told me to put on my iPod. Here’s my list. Hopefully, it will incite you to remember your own terrible music preferences.
1. Train – Drops of Jupiter
Choice lyrics: Checks out Mozart while she does tae bo, reminds me that there’s time to grow yeaaaaah”
2. U2 – Stuck In A Moment
Fun Fact: Oh look, it’s that dude from Roswell!
3. Enrique Iglesias- Hero
Why it’s the best video ever: Mickey Rourke, pre-The Wrestler comeback!
4. 5 For Fighting – Superman
Song this is most often confused for when I explain it to friends: 3 Doors Down, “Kryptonite”
5. Goo Goo Dolls – Iris
Chances this will ever not be associated with that terrible Meg Ryan/Nicolas Cage feature City of Angels: 0 percent