What's the last song that gobsmacked you?

I was in the car listening to one of those classics stations and Don McClean’s American Pie came on. I certainly know that song, but I haven’t heard it in, like, forever. Man, I forgot what a fantastic song it is. It’s poignant, mysterious, epic, and full of veiled references, like T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, but as a song. I was floored. How could I have not remembered how awesome that song is?

As far as newer stuff, I can’t get enough of this song from Nina Nastasia, which makes me really sad. That YouTube video is just her on the guitar, but it holds up nearly as well as the full version on the album.

Okay, what about you guys? Old stuff, new stuff?


This is going to sound ridiculous, but it happened last year while I was playing Brutal Legend. For some reason, despite having a passing acquaintance with and liking of the metal genre, I’d never heard of Manowar or listened to any of their songs. When the Druid Plow started playing “Dawn of Battle” for the first time, it blew me away. I immediately stopped the car, listened in awe, queued it up again, experienced more awe, and ran off to Google the band.

Desert by Emilie Simon, in its original French of course.

Fucking dust magically appears in my vicinity and irritates my eyes every time.

Thanks for the recommendation! I loved the song, and didn’t know Manowar before.

On the same genre, I was recently gobsmacked by “Lai Lai hei”, Ensiferum. I have to admit that I have a fondness for “epic” metal, like Rhapsody of Fire, despite some of their silly lyrics (and band name).

Again and Again by the Bird and the Bee

Yeah, I agree with you, Tom. I actually saw him in concert last year, and it was quite magical. He ended up playing that song twice. Second time, it was the crowd basically singing it instead of him. It was quite epic.

The one I love - Greg Laswell

Jane Doe Pt 1
Jane Doe Pt 2

This is actually just one song but whoever posted it split it in two because it’s about 11 minutes long. The audio is dreadful in the youtube version (the high end is all thrashed out making certain guitar parts hard to hear), but it’s the best I could find.

This is the first song that springs to mind for me. This song ripped my guts out the first couple times I heard it last year, much more than any recent song in memory. This isn’t family friendly listening, and the vocals are an acquired taste, but it’s the best example I have of a song in recent memory that gobsmacked me out of the blue. The closing lyrics get me every time, “Run on girl! Run on!”

Less song, more spoken word, but still beautiful (nsfw).

Ever hear Crosby, Stills and Nash’s version of the Beatles “Blackbird”? It’ll knock you off your feet.

Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Closer and Closer Apart breaks my heart every time I hear it.

CCR’s Fortunate Son (and yes I will admit that I heard it because it was played over Crystal’s homecoming video on American Idol). It is such a huge statement of disappointment and confusion and still carries great weight today.

Also Jeffster covered it.

Am I the only person that gets knocked on his (or her) ass only by the sound of a song? I guess that makes me a complete low-brow schlub, but frankly, as far as I’m concerned, a crap song with a deep message is still a crap song, whereas, a great song about fucking or dancing or getting stupid while on drugs could still be a great song if it has a great beat or melody.

Anyway, to answer Tom’s question, the last song to totally kick my butt is Lady Gaga’s “So Happy I Could Die.” I’d explain why, but why bother, when a video is worth a few million words:


Both ‘Across the Universe’ by the Beatles and ‘Baba O’Reilly’ by the Who give me goosebumps every time I hear them - with ‘Baba’ it’s glorious because the goosebumps become more and more intense as that fantastic synth intro continues and reach a peak when the drums and guitar kick in. Fantastic.

I think it’s a sad thing to have to acknowledge but I used to get knocked out by some amazing new song on a regular basis, every few months or so. I think there was a big “back catalogue” of great stuff in the styles I like that I’d never heard, and all it took to find it was a willingness to keep digging… now I feel as though if I hear one song a year that really gets to me, I’m doing better than average.

Anyway, last time I heard a song that really hit me in a big way was when I saw Chris Smither live, playing “Father’s Day”. An older one that gets me every time is The Who playing “Pinball Wizard”. At his best, Pete Townshend does such a wonderful job of establishing a theme, building it up for just long enough for you to get into it, and then switching to something new that plays off or responds to what you’ve just heard, so there’s a kind of perfect little mini-crescendo every few seconds building to a something bigger and bigger… Richard Thompson does something similar in “Cooksferry Queen”, but I think nothing grabs quite as reliably as Pinball Wizard. Also, it’s a song about playing games! (Sort of).

Just wanted to say a bit more about this Gaga song. It’s so, um, gay, but so liberating. And I say that as a totally straight, boring, middle-aged white dude. There’s just something about this song that makes me feel okay about fucking up or not living up to other peoples’ expectations. It’s just such a fucking liberating song and makes me feel so fucking good. Gotta love THE GAGA! :)

“Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty always gets me, esp. when the guitar solo kicks and sets your face on fire. Great stuff.

Shadari, I see in you the potential to be an awesome… stalker.

Edit: She does put on a fantastic show though.

“Feeling Good”, by Nina Simone. Just amazing.

The last one, huh? I’ve been playing a lot of The Saboteur lately and I heard this one song that just grabbed me by the ears, it’s called ‘Feeling Good’ by Nina Simone. I’ve been spending a lot more time driving cars in-game just so I can listen to this one.

edit: Whoa, Damien! Jinx!