Saturday, 11 February 2012

Toronto Tim Says: My Top 5 Miracle Mile/Jones Songs: What Are Yours?

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." (CS Lewis)

End of year "Best Of" lists, and then "Hi-Fidelity" pops up on TV the other night... I fear that I'm temporarily sucked into the cult of the record geek again. Watching the movie "Hi-Fidelity" reminded me that there is still a whole society of equally obsessed folk, who are compulsive about making lists, compilation discs, record collection organization, etc. There is a priceless scene deleted from the film (in DVD special features) where Rob Gordon is interviewed for an article by a music journalist and is asked, "What are your "Top 5 Songs Ever?" He hesitates, then comes up with 5,6,7,8... Presumably he makes corrections. He then goes home and is distraught upon realizing his erroneous choices and comes up with an entirely different list! Frantically, he phones the reviewer, "Sorry to keep bothering you, but here's my new Top 5... shit that's 6, isn't it? Can I get back to you?" And so on and on. Wish it made final cut, since it's so absurd yet utterly believable! 
"What are your Top 5 Miracle Mile/Jones songs?"... I asked my buddy Eric (another fan), in a recent conversation... and the can of worms was opened for the topic of my next blurb! 
Please humour me as I get this out of my system. 
I'm preaching to the choir here, we've all experienced the "connection"; so I won't gush on too much since other reviewers have said it all before, much better than I ever could. 
I'll simply say that Alaska, Limbo and Hopeland have easily been made welcome into my Top 10 Albums of all time list, with Keepers and Glow punching to get in. Also, I think it's interesting that almost every time MM is played in my car there is an unprovoked curiosity by passengers as to whose CD is playing. Usually followed by "It's beautiful...
My list is much less quirky than I expected. I think in the end, influenced by the poignant conclusion of Hi-Fidelity, my choices were perhaps nudged towards songs that make my better-half smile and sing along, so maybe this is a bit of a 'we' effort... a good thing. 

"WALKING JOHN WAYNE" - This was the charming tune that I stumbled across many years ago on the "Rainsound" web-site that aroused my interest in Miracle Mile. Not only a sentimental favorite, a genuine joy to listen to after all these years! Wish the guitar outro would go on forever!
"ALASKA" - For years I was teased by Amazon's 30 second samples, those glimmers of beauty sent me on a fruitless search, combing through countless record shop bins here in America to find anything by the elusive Miracle Mile. This frustrating hunt was the catalyst that eventually launched my long-delayed plunge into on-line purchasing, ultimately a very wise decision! When I finally heard "Alaska" in all it's breath-taking glory I was speechless. The icy textures of the intro, blending seamlessly into a warm guitar figure, then enter the soothing golden vocals united with a profoundly affecting and enigmatic lyric... nothing like it! I've heard it hundreds of times, yet never tire of this haunting masterpiece. "Northern Sky" by Nick Drake was my long-standing favorite song of all time, but I think Alaska has eclipsed it!  

"HOPELAND" - This one is special. My wife was going through the horror of cancer surgery/treatment when Hopeland was released. Shell-shocked, barely hanging on, faith in ruins, music was an abiding source of comfort. Hopeland was a lifeline. I still have the lyrics posted on my bulletin board, a potent reminder... to hope. Is there a more heavenly song?  
PS: My precious wife, is doing very well, defying the odds!

"WEATHERWISE" - How can anyone not love this one? Sunshine and smiles every listen. More hooks than a tackle box! Melvin Duffy's soaring solo gives me goose-bumps every time, and Rebecca's flawless cameo vocal is a gem. My gal's fave...

"PAPILLON" - A wonderful unambiguous love song! Sing along... nothing wrong with being a sentimental fool!

"BOO SAID" -  Sweet melody, stunning imagery, cryptic and affecting lyric. I have no idea what this one's about... sometimes it's nice that a few dots aren't connected.

Shit... that's 6, isn't it? Ugh... I've still got another 57 favorites!!!  
OK, there's mine... now show me yours!

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