Top 10 Tuesdays: Songs that Are Stories

Okay, I’ll admit it. . . most of the songs I like are already stories in a 2-5 minute time period. And while it is impossible to pick my top 10 favorites, I’m going to give it my best try.

10. “Fifteen” – Taylor Swift

“Fifteen” (from the Fearless album) is the story about two girls in their first year of high school. It takes us through a journey of first meetings, first crushes, the first time (and the devastating consequences of it) and not knowing who you are at such a young and tender age.

Favorite Lyrics: Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday/but I realized some bigger dreams of mine/And Abigail gave it all away to a boy who changed his mind/and we both cried

09. “I’d Give It All For You” – Songs From A New World

This song tells a story about two (nameless) people meeting after being separated for a long time. We don’t find out why exactly they broke up. . . but we find out that they hated being apart and they’d give up their new found freedom to be with each other again.

Favorite lyrics: I took a trip while I was gone/I cashed in all my savings and bought an El Dorado and drove to Tennessee

08. “I Don’t Wanna See You With Her” – Marina Mena

Marina is singing to her ex-boyfriend, who found a new girlfriend. They live in a small town, so avoiding them is impossible and even though she’s happy for him, she prefers not to see he moved on. Even though she’s the one who broke up with him. She knows it’ll break her, seeing him with somebody else.

Favorite lyrics: I just don’t want to meet her, are you gonna keep her?

07. “Ironic” – Alanis Morissette 

Each line tells the story of somebody being touched by irony. A 98-year-old man who won the lottery just to die 24 hours later, a man who was afraid to fly/had never done so only to die in a plane crash when he took his first flight for his business trip. It’s about meeting the man of your dreams just to find out he’s already married. Or a black fly in your wine or rain on your wedding day. . .

Favorite lyrics: A no smoking sign on your cigarette break/it’s like ten-thousand spoons when all you need is a knife/ it’s meeting the man of my dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife 

06. “Atlas: Taste” – Sleeping At Last

Ryan is currently taking us on a tour of the senses with his newest batch of songs from Atlas Year 2. “Taste” follows closely at the heels of “Touch”. . . where “Touch was about being numbed to life, “Taste” was his awakening. A sequel to “Touch” so to speak. The singer realizes life is beautiful and he’s not afraid.

Favorite lyrics: We’re nothing less than a work in progress/sacred text on Post-It notes/We only speak of a world in pieces

05. “Starlight” – Taylor Swift

People overlook the fact that sometimes Taylor writes songs about other things than the boys who broke her heart. This is one of those examples. Starlight is a sort of fictional account about how Bobby and Ethel Kennedy met and fell in love in the summer of ’45.(Actually, they met on a ski trip in ’46. . .) But still, it’s a sweet song about true love that transcends the test of time.

Favorite lyrics: he’s talking crazy, dancing with me/we could get married/have ten kids and teach them how to dream

04. “She Used To Be Mine” – Sara Bareilles (Waitress)

The singer in this song is reflecting on the girl she used to be before she got married to an abusive man, got pregnant by him and got a job waiting tables. She wishes she could go back and tell her old self to do it over, to try and rewrite her ending.

Favorite lyrics: She’s imperfect but she tries/she is good but she lies/she is hard on herself/she is broken and won’t ask for help/she is messy but she’s kind/she is lonely most of the time/she is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie/she is gone but she used to be mine

03. “Unbreakable” – Jamie Scott

If the music video is anything to go by, this is a story about a girl who lost her mother and moved in with her grandfather. Or maybe it’s a story about a boy who loves a girl who is unlovable because he knows the truth. Everybody deserves to be loved.

Favorite lyrics: She’s the girl that I never had/she’s the heart that I wanted bad/the song I heard on the radio that made me stop and think of her/and I can’t, I can’t concentrate anymore

02. “Papa Can You Hear Me?” – Barbra Streisand

It’s a song about a girl having a conversation with her Heavenly Father/father. She’s lost and confused and all alone and it has some of the most vivid word imagery EVER!

Favorite lyrics: Can you hear me praying? Anything I’m saying even though the night is filled with voices

01. “Atlas Year 2: Life” – Sleeping At Last

The first song from Sleeping At Last’s Atlas Year 2 album, it tells the true life account of his first daughter being born last year. Beginning with the words his wife woke him up with: “I think it’s time”. It’s a beautiful ode to first children being born and how none of your lives. . . the parents or the baby’s life will never be the same again.

Favorite lyrics: we were changed in an instant/we became so much more/our definition of perfect was written when you were born/there is so much to tell you/there is so much to see/we will show you the oceans and everything in between

top ten mentions:
“Before the Parade Passes By” – Barbra Streisand
I want to feel my heart coming alive again before the parade passes by
“Touch” – Sleeping At Last
down my arms a thousand satellites suddenly discover signs of life
The whole entire 1989 album.
“True Love” – Tobias Jesso Jr.
and she waits through everything, anything for you, it’s what you call true love
“Samson” – Regina Spektor
Your hair was long when we first met, Samson went back to bed not much hair left on his head
“Days & Days” – Judy Kuhn
Days and days and days made of posing and bragging and fits of rage
“Burn” – Phillipa Soo
You built me palaces out of paragraphs 
“Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” – Hamilton
Every other founding father’s story gets told, every other founding father gets to grow old
“Cecilia & the Satellite” –  Andrew McMahon & the Wilderness
Of all the places I have been, I’m no place without you
“Wasn’t Expecting That” – Jamie Lawson
It was only a smile but my heart it went wild, I wasn’t expecting that

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