From singing in the shower to dancing like no one’s watching to, well, crying like no one’s watching, music moves us all. While singing isn’t exactly our strong suit here at Water & Wall (why do you think we’ve never done a team karaoke outing?), we do love our music.
Just like Obama, we shared our top summer 2022 hits in our beloved newsletter, but we couldn’t stop ourselves there. Drawing inspiration from our childhoods, our rebellious phases, our day-to-day lives, we thought long and hard on what our ‘forever songs’ would be. Songs so catchy, so energizing, so soul-touching we can’t imagine life without them. After giving it plenty of thought, here’s our list. Proudly, we go “On the Record” to share the music we have always listened to and will always listen to.
Let us know if any of these songs are your ‘forever songs’ too, or you can go “On the Record” and share your own below! And, if you’d like to have a listen while reading, check out a playlist of our forever songs here. 😉
“Kate is Great” by the Bouncing Souls: if you listened to punk music in the mid-90s, the Bouncing Souls was definitely in the rotation. Their 3rd album was damn near perfect and this song is a standout from it. I’ve seen them play it live probably a dozen times. “Myage” by Descendents: The Descendents influenced more bands than I can count, and “Myage” is the first song of theirs that I ever heard. No other song, band, or movie made me wish I lived in California in the 1980s more than the Descendents. “Trusty Chords” by Hot Water Music: it’s not their best song but it’s probably their catchiest one. If I ever need a pick me up, I pop this on. “My Name is Jonas” by Weezer: I turned 13 about 2 weeks before Weezer’s blue album came out (which is going to age me terribly on this blog) and I was just starting to discover music on my own and with my friends. 1994 was a monster year for music but Blue Album just clicked for me for some reason, and “My Name is Jonas” was the perfect opener. It still holds up 28 years later, and now my kids sing it!
“California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & The Papas: My parents used to play this song during long car rides when I was growing up, but I always forgot the name. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine ended up playing this when we were hanging out and it felt like I found the last piece of the puzzle. It’s now become my go-to road trip song that I love to blast with my windows rolled down (preferably when I’m driving to the beach). “Killing Me Softly With His Song” by Fugees, Ms. Lauryn Hill: This version of “Killing Me Softly” has been one of my favorites since I can remember. Whenever it comes on, I will drop everything and just soak it in. Lauryn Hill’s voice is so calming to me, and I am a big fan. I’m not a big karaoke girl, but this would definitely be my go-to song. “Overthinker” by Inzo: I love to run, but it’s sometimes very hard for me to find the motivation to stick to it. This has been my running song for the last 4 years that always gets me pumped up. Depending on how I’m feeling mentally that day, I’ll listen to this during various points of my run when I need an energy boost.
“Sedona” by Houndsmouth: this is a family favorite, we play it on every road trip, vacation, beach drive … and everyone sings. “Your Hand in Mine” by Explosions in the Sky: Listening to this song, in fact any song by Explosions is the closest I get to meditating. “Step” by Vampire Weekend: This is the song we sang to the girls when they were babies (I still sing it to them sometimes.)
“Could You Be Loved” by Bob Marley and the Wailers: This song reminds me of vacation, specifically a beach vacation. It helps that it’s played at every bar made of bamboo and palm fronds. “She’s Gone” by Hall & Oates: It’s difficult to choose any Hall & Oates song as a favorite, but this is mine. I tend to like the tunes about breakup sh*t and this one’s about John Oates getting stood up on New Year’s Eve. If I was stood up on NYE, instead of at the movies that one time, then I might’ve written a song about it too. “Freedom” by Wham: When I was a kid, my mom used to clean the house and blare music. She had a soundtrack that consisted of Wham and Neil Diamond and both will forever have a warm place in my inner ear. “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane: This song came out when I was 24 and I played the hell out of it and it made me fall in love with this band, which I’ve listened to endlessly ever since. “Anthem Pt. 2” by Blink 182: An old college friend of mine used to have a convertible Mustang and we’d cut class and zip around that boring town with this song playing loud enough for other cars to hear.
“Cough Syrup” by Young the Giant: If I were to make a highlight reel of high school, this would be the soundtrack. Drives to the shore, road trips, 3am Wawa runs, you name it, we played this. One of the greatest concerts of my life was seeing Young the Giant live in Central Park, summer of 2012, listening to this song (and the rest of their set!) In my opinion, they’re one of the greatest live acts around. If you get to chance to see them live, run don’t walk. “Sk8er Boi” by Avril Lavigne: First song I ever memorized the full lyrics to. Still know them all, as everybody should. See you later boi!!! I miss Hot Topic. “Dancing Queen” by Abba: The ultimate Europop bop. If you don’t dance when this comes on, I don’t want to know you. Even the covers are classic. See: A-Teens’ version in Miss Congeniality and the Lizzie McGuire: Total Party! album, Naya Rivera and Amber Riley’s rendition for Glee, and of course the Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again soundtrack featuring Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Dominic Cooper, and Amanda Seyfried. Can James Bond sing? No. But is it fun to watch him try while he flirts with Meryl Streep? Hell yeah.
“Respect” by Aretha Franklin: My mom played this song probably once a day in our house growing up and she certainly preached everything Aretha stands for in this song alllll throughout my childhood (and still now). No shot I could leave it out as a favorite. “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse: Not an original answer but I just love this song. One of those in my Spotify playlist that I will never hit skip on. “Take it All” by Adele: If you sob every time you listen to it, it should count as a fav right?!?! “Liability” by Lorde: I have cried on the 7 train to this song too many times to not list it. Also… too many references to crying in my answers I think?? (Editor’s note: Or not enough references to crying in everyone else’s?? Something to consider.)
“Marching Bands of Manhattan” by Death Cab for Cutie: It’s my favorite song! Point blank. “Follow You Follow Me” by Genesis: It makes me think of my mom. “Don’t Drink the Water/This Land is Your Land (Live at Radio City Music Hall)” by Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds: A tremendous live mash up. Instant classic. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston: I heard this on Season 2 of American Idol but never caught the name of the song, and I spent MONTHS listening to the radio waiting for it to come on so that my mom could identify it for me. “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin: We only listened to music while eating dinner as a child—no TV allowed. Led Zeppelin was on constant rotation. It’s the intro that gets me.
As you can probably tell from our debut newsletter, I have old taste in music – probably the product of me being the youngest of six. My first two choices are “Blue Sky” by The Allman Brothers and “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen. Those were two of my mom’s favorite songs, so I’ll basically never skip them if they come on the radio and they’re a lock for any road trip playlist. “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band is another one – my dad (and my brother James) brought me to my first concert when I was 16. We went to see Dave Matthews Band at Citi Field, and Zac Brown Band opened for them before they became so famous. I know Dave Matthews Band has basically become a meme, but honestly I’ll rarely skip their songs, or Zac Brown’s. And then my last one is “Dreams” by The Cranberries. No real reason, think I heard it in a show and have listened to it since.
“9 to 5” by Dolly Parton: It’s Dolly, need I say more? But actually, I was OBSESSED with Dolly growing up and would listen to “9 to 5” on repeat every day going to ballet class LMAO. “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals: One of my grandma’s favorite songs. When I was younger, I burned a CD for her of all her favorite hits and this was her top request. Now I listen to it in honor of her. She always spoke her mind, so it reminds me to do the same. Remind me tomorrow to tell you how she almost got kicked out of her nursing home. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: I used to listen to this a lot when I was a kiddo and then again a lot whenever I went to the beach as a teenager and in college. Idk I thought I was like a major surfer girl doing this, I guess. “Dearly Departed” by Shakey Graves: LOVE LOVE LOVE this song. “The Sweet Escape” by Gwen Stefani: Don’t get me started on Ms Stefani… I’m in love.
“Home” by Phillip Phillips: Board and video games with my brothers, messing around in the garden, reading far too late into the night with my flashlight under the covers, I had this song on repeat. It never failed to comfort me. Can’t say much has changed. “Under the Bridge” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers: I grew up with 3 older brothers, it was inevitable that I listened to a lot of rock growing up. RHCP, Muse, and all of my dad’s favorite rock hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s will always make me think of them. “Mountains” by Charlotte Day Wilson: I collect vinyl records and this is one of my favorites. Her whole album is magic to me, and when I listen to this gently crackle through my speakers, I’m in a trance. “Cello Concerto in E minor, OP 85” by Edward Elgar: Anytime I’ve made a major life decision, this song carried me through the troubled waters. “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole: Nat King Cole and Etta James are the backbone of my love for jazz. It swaddles me in the warmest of hugs.