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30 Day Song Challenge #14: A Song That No One Would Expect You To Love

[Day 14: A Song That No One Would Expect You To Love]

Counting Crows – Rain King

People seem to think that I have an ultra-hipster taste in music. While I of course take this as a compliment, in reality I like a lot of seriously ‘uncool’ music. Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Muse just to name a few.

I’ve never really believed in limiting yourself based on the expectations of others, and this is particularly true when it comes to music. I make no secret of the fact that I really like these bands, and ultimately I think that’s the true definition of ‘cool’ taste in music: taste that doesn’t pay any attention to what others think. Someone who loves Ariel Pink because Pitchfork salivates over him is just as uncool as someone who loves Britney Spears because everyone else does. I have a friend on Facebook whose status updates double as a Pitchfork RSS feed, it’s ridiculous.

Anyway, as I was saying I like a lot of music that no-one would expect me to. But then why did I choose Counting Crows’ Rain King for this challenge? Because I don’t just like it, I absolutely, positively, and unreservedly love it. If I had to pick my top ten songs of all time, this would be in there. Comfortably.

I’m not an enormous fan of much other Counting Crows music, but this song… man, this song just gets me, every single time I listen to it. I would go to a Counting Crows gig surrounded by forty-year-olds and cool dads in a heartbeat just to hear this song, and I would tell anybody who would listen about it afterwards.

It’s one of the few tracks with very strong religious connotations that I can tolerate. To me it speaks more about hope in some grand afterlife rather than actual belief in it, which is much more universal than faith in a specific religion. But then part of the beauty of this song is that there are so many levels and interpretations to it. It captures so much of what it means to be alive and what it means to know that at some point in the future you will no longer be alive.

“I’m alive, I’m alive but I’m sinking in” are some of the most enduring lyrics I have ever heard. This song will stay with me always, no matter what anyone else thinks of the band, and it is one of my highest goals when it comes to music to hear it live, having missed the Counting Crows last time they were in Australia in 2009.

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