My 40th Favorite Song of All-Time

Click here to see all the individual song entries.

First, a recap of what has come before:

100.  “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something
99.  “Jack & Diane” by John Mellencamp
98.  “Hotel California” by The Eagles
97.  “American Pie” by Don McLean
96.  “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson
95.  “Nuthin’ but a G Thang” by Dr. Dre
94.  “Bushwick Blues” by Delta Spirit
93.  “For the Workforce, Drowning” by Thursday
92.  “Fish Heads” by Barnes and Barnes
91.  “Shimmer” by Fuel
90.  “Rubber Biscuit” by the Blues Brothers
89.  “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals
88.  “Asleep at the Wheel” by Working For a Nuclear-Free City
87.  “There’s an Arc” by Hey Rosetta!
86.  “Steam Engine” by My Morning Jacket
85.  “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest
84.  “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane
83.  “Fits” by Stone Gossard
82.  “Spring Flight to the Land of Fire” by The Cape May
81. “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by The Postal Service
80.  “Sober” by Tool
79.  “Dream is Collapsing” by Hans Zimmer
78.  “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road?” by The Beatles
77.  “In This Light and on This Evening” by Editors
76.  “Lemonworld” by The National
75.  “Twin Peaks Theme” by Angelo Badalamente
74.  “A Comet Appears” by The Shins
73.  “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by The Decemberists
72.  “Pepper” by Butthole Surfers
71.  “Life Wasted” by Pearl Jam
70.  “Jetstream” by Doves
69.  “Trieste” by Gifts From Enola
68.  “Oh My God” by Kaiser Chiefs
67.  “Last Exit” by Pearl Jam
66.  “Innocence” by The Airborne Toxic Event
65.  “There, There” by Radiohead
64.  “Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews Band
63.  “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen
62.  “The Best of What’s Around” by Dave Matthews Band
61.  “Old Man” by Neil Young
60.  “Cumbersome” by Seven Mary Three
59.  “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel
58.  “Machine Head” by Bush
57.  “Peaches” by Presidents of the United States of America
56.  “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones
55.  “Fell on Black Days” by Soundgarden
54.  “The New Year” by Death Cab for Cutie
53.  “Call Me Al” by Paul Simon
52.  “Real Muthaphuckin’ Gs” by Eazy E
51..  “Evening Kitchen” by Band of Horses
50.  “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” by Primitive Radio Gods
49.  “Top Drawer” by Man Man
48.  “Locomotive Breath” by Jethro Tull
47.  “We Used to Vacation” by Cold War Kids
46.  “Easy Money” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
45.  “Two-fifty” by Chris Walla
44.  “I’ve Got a Feeling” by The Beatles
43.  “Another Pilot” by Hey Rosetta!
42.  “Revelate” by The Frames
41.  “Wise Up” by Aimee Mann

…and my 40th favorite song of all-time is:

“Sample in a Jar” by Phish

It’s got all the hallmarks of what I love in a Phish song: carefully chosen but whimsical lyrics (including characters referenced off-hand but never introduced or explained), bouyant and joyous music, all with an undercurrent of subtle but definite deeper meaning.  But “Sample in a Jar” goes one step further with me personally, being about a character who is a drunk.  The character is at a stage I clearly remember: everyone is still having a lot of fun, but they themselves and some of the people around them are starting to realize there’s a problem.  Phish lyricist Tom Marshall (who isn’t in the band…think Elton John and Bernie Taupin) creates an amazing meaning-image with the chorus:  “I was foggy, rather groggy/ you helped me to my car./  The binding belt enclosing me:/ a sample in a jar.”  That.  Is.  Brilliant.

It’s hidden far away
but someday I may tell
the tale that untangled
when into your world I fell.
Without you now I wander, soaking
secretly afraid
But in your grasp the fears don’t last
though some of them have stayed.

I wheeled around because
I didn’t hear what you had said,
and saw you dancing with Elihu
up on Lemoy’s bed.
And I was foggy, rather groggy.
You helped me to my car,
the binding belt enclosing me:
a sample in a jar.
Now the market stands unfolding
with all the willies and their wares.
I shuffle by alert but numb
to all the glances and the glares.
And I think of you unheeding
all the times I raise my cup.
It’s now I know that you knew
that I’d soon end up “end up”.

I wheeled around because
I Didn’t hear what you had said,
and saw you dancing with Elihu
up on Lemoy’s bed.
And I was foggy, rather groggy,
you helped me to my car.
The binding belt enclosing me: a
sample in a jar

You tricked me like the others
and now I don’t belong.
The simple smiles and good times seem all wrong.

4 Responses to “My 40th Favorite Song of All-Time”

  1. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    I’ve yet to hear a Phish song I’ve heard that I didn’t like, and this is no exception. Despite that though I’ve never had the desire to seek out their music on my own. To me they’re like a very tasty meal that I know I can’t have often, or perhaps a better metaphor.

    If I ever get the stream going you should check out the interview I did with my friend Christoper Suttle. He’s a giant Phish fan and we talk about that for a bit in the trivia.

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