Skepticism

Afternoon Inquisition 9.20

Hello, all. It’s once again my turn to ask an entertaining and/or thought provoking question for you all to answer in your entertaining and/or thought provoking ways. So here goes.

What’s your favorite song?

I’m especially interested in anything science-y, geeky, or skeptical that you enjoy, but just plain old good songs are fine too.

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71 Comments

  1. I can’t possibly have a favorite song, mainly because my tastes in music cycle every three or four months. For instance: right now I’m REALLY in a Beatles/Brit rock type of mood. About a month ago I was listening to symphonic metal like Nightwish and Kamelot. Next month I could be in my classical music phase.

    I generally have favorite songs of each artist/group.

    …but for the sake of answering the question, my favorite song right now is “Rocky Raccoon” by The Beatles.

  2. Ohh such a tough one.

    For sciency type songs I really like “Particle Man” and “Why does the sun shine” by They Might be Giants. Then there is the “Solar System” by the Animaniacs. Also fun is the “Galaxy Song” by Monty Python.

    Other good ones. “Freewill” and “Tom Sawyer” by Rush. Hell anything by Rush.

    “When you were mine.” “Hello” and “Walking with the Ghost” by Tegan and Sara

    “We’re going to be friends” by the White Stripes

    “Wake me up when September Ends” “American Idiot” “Longview” by Green Day

    “Blackhole Sun”

    Oh I think that is enough.

  3. My favorite songs about science are Science And Honor by The Phenomenauts and The Spells DNA by Jonathan Coulton.

    Oh and ya can’t forget The Elements and New Math by Tom Lehrer.

    But my favorite band at the moment is the World/Inferno Friendship Society.

    Here’s them playing Me V. Angry Mob

  4. Mr. Dante Fontana,” by Piero Piccioni, from the soundtrack to the movie Fumo di Londra (1966).

    (I’ve never seen the movie, and according to all the reviews I’ve seen, it’s not very good, but this is the most addictive song I’ve ever heard. It never gets old. Oh, look! Here’s a clip I just found of the song in the context of the movie. It’s about an Italian peasant who believes he’s trapped in the body of London investment banker. I can’t understand why this movie gets bad reviews.)

  5. My favourite song is “Ripple” by the Grateful Dead, though I’m a big Neil Young fan too and have several other favs of his including “Cowgirl in the Sand” but “Star of Bethlehem” or “Love in Mind” do have a skeptic twist to them. “Will to Love” is one of the great love songs of all time, though relating to spawning salmon. ;)

    As a guy who teaches chemistry and geology, one of my favourite “geeky” songs is Warren Zevon’s “Run Straight Down”. It goes along with my darker moods and has a mantra of toxic chemicals that repeat behind the main lyric. They just don’t make ’em like that anymore.

  6. Oh heck, you’re asking what my favorite song is? I don’t think it is possible for me to choose just one, hell I can’t even choose just one from some of my favorite artists/bands. So here’s a short list:
    “Shipping up to Boston”, “Famous for Nothing”, “Spicy McHaggis Jig” and just about anything else my the Dropkick Murphys,
    “Nymphetamine”, Gothic Romance, Rape and Ruin of Angels (Hosannas in Extremis) By Cradle of Filth,
    Anything by Alestorm especially Wenches and Meade, Captain Morgan’s Revenge, Huntmaster,
    Opeth’s Black Rose Immortal, Demon of the Fall, and currently Face of Melinda,
    Swordfish Trombone, Going out West, Murder in the Red Barn, In the Colosseum, Hoist that Rag, Bottom of the World, Big in Japan, Get Behind the Mule, Singapore, Tango till they’re sore, and a host of others by Tom Waits,
    Cold Last Supper, Cain by Tiamat,
    Butterfly by Tapping the Vein,
    City of New Orleans, Alice’s Restaurant Massacre by Arlo Guthrie,
    Just about anything by the Gogol Bordellos, especially American Wedding, Supertheory of Supereverything, and Tribal Connection,
    Heathen Tribes by Primordial,
    Lord of Lies, Hammer of Thor, Torstein’s Kvaeld(sp?) Hail to the Hammer and some others by Tyr,
    Paranoid, Iron Man by Black Sabbath,
    Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones,
    I kill Children, Holiday in Cambodia, Too Drunk to Fuck, Holloween by Dead Kennedys,
    Punk Rock Girl, Bitchin’ Camaro and others by the Dead Milkmen,
    Puritanical Misanthropy by Dimmu Borgir,
    Re: Your Brains, Code Monkey, Still Alive by Johnathan Coultan,
    Father Lucifer by Tori Amos,
    Pixie, Little Plastic Castles, and several others by Ani Difranco,
    Cassandra Cries, The Citadel, Birthday, Ariadne, Memorare, Eye of the Storm by the Cruxshadows,
    Just about anything by Flogging Molly, especially Queen Ann’s Revenge, Salty Dog, Devil’s Dance Floor, Another Bag of Bricks,
    Materialist, Fields of Mars, Struck a Nerve, Stranger than Fiction, American Jesus and others by Bad Religion,
    You will Lose Faith, the Marxist Brothers, Bottles to the Ground, Dad’s bad news by NoFX,
    The Nobodies, Cruci-Fiction in Space, Angel with the Scabbed Wings by Marilyn Manson,
    Anything by Corvus Corax, especially Filii neidhardi, and Douce Dame Joliet,
    Lies, Your God by Pennywise,
    Kodo by the Yoshida Brothers,
    And a host of others from bands like the Ramones, Jefferson Airplane, and on and on and on…

    I really need to listen to more classical though, cause though I enjoy it, I can’t come up with any songs that rank as my favorites (except a few that are pretty much a part of popular culture).

  7. My favorite atheist song is “Faithless” by Rush off their Snakes and Arrows album.

    The chorus is
    “I don’t have faith in faith
    I don’t believe in belief
    You can call me faithless
    You can call me faithless
    I still cling to hope
    And I believe in love
    And that’s faith enough for me”

  8. Yay for metal!! Nice to see others here too.
    I have to go for a list, bear with me.

    Bleed by Angel Dust
    Mute by Moonspell
    Hate Me! by Children of Bodom
    Head Up High by Firewind
    Save Me From Myself by Sirenia
    Go’n Breakdown by Suicidal Tendencies
    Jesus Saves by Slayer
    The Evil That Men Do by Iron Maiden
    My Spirit Will Go On by DragonForce
    Progenies of the Great Apocalypse by Dimmu Borgir
    Die Young by Black Sabbath
    Burn In Hell by Twisted Sister
    Emerald by Thin Lizzy
    Doctor, Doctor by UFO
    The Zoo by Scorpions
    I Surrender by Rainbow
    Stormbringer by Deep Purple
    After Dark I Feel by Rotting Christ
    No Warning Shot by Six Feet Under
    Low Life by Death
    Desperado by Alice Cooper
    Save Yourself by MSG
    Meanstreak by Y & T
    In My Darkest Hour by Megadeth
    The Rage by Judas Priest
    And All The Fools Sailed Away by Dio

    Now, here’s the truly horrifying:

    Making Love Out Of Nothing At All by Air Supply (I can’t lie. I love this song and I am ashamed.)

    To wrap up the list, I adore my school’s fight song, Mighty Oregon.
    Go Ducks!

  9. “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All by Air Supply (I can’t lie. I love this song and I am ashamed.)”

    Too true, Lambchop. Right there with ya.

    I’m truly diggin’ It Hurt So Bad (Susan Tedeschi), Give Me One Reason (Tracy Chapman), anything by Rush, Prince or Blues Traveler.

    And… wait for it… don’t hate me…

    I Want It That Way – Backstreet Boys
    my favorite karaoke tune, has always been in my top five songs

  10. @nighean_ruaidhe:
    I’m with Nig – too many to list, and often changing. However, 3 songs I never tire of listening to on the radio are (showing my age here…):
    Bohemian Rhapsody, performed by Queen
    Frankenstein, performed by the Edgar Winter Group
    Sing, Sing, Sing, performed by Benny Goodman’s orchestra

  11. Could never, ever, ever pick just one. There are a few I always come back to when I’m sitting down at a piano, others that I love listening to, others that have sentimental value … here are a few I like.

    * Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach)

    * the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth (the choral section is often heard with the religious words of “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” but the original text is actually a magnificent ode to the human spirit)

    * “Come Away With Me”, Norah Jones (I love her music!)

    * “Dead” from TMBG “Flood”

    * “There’s a Place”, Opera Babes

    * really enjoying the NIN “Ghosts I-IV” album right now

    * the lament from the battlefield scene in Kenneth Branagh’s “Henry V”

    * the second movement of Paul Creston’s Sonata for Saxophone and Piano, Op. 19, which is basically aural sex — one of the most disconcertingly intimate classical pieces I’ve ever performed

    * when I’m in the mood for some of my old Christian stuff, I like Chris Rice … he thinks way outside the box and I like him a lot (one of my favorite lines about God: “Sometimes finding you is just like trying to smell the color nine.”)

    * I really liked the version of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” that Jack Nicholson’s character played in “As Good As It Gets” — hmmm, wonder if there’s more of that somewhere …

    That’s all I can think of off the top of my head, and I’ll probably think of as many more by tomorrow. :P

  12. She Blinded me with Science! Thomas Dolby :-D

    Considering that I like almost everything except most Rap and Opera, it would take me months to list them all. I bounce around on my Sirius radio so much that I’m wearing the numbers off of the keys.

    Just a partial list that comes to mind:
    Boston, Carlos Santana (One of the two gods of the guitar), Eric Clapton (The other god of the guitar), Jimmy Buffett (Two Fins UP!),
    Sonny Landreth, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, The Beatles (together and solo), The Stones, The Moody Blues, Beck, Elton John, Billy Joel, Enya, Andreas Wollenrider, Clannad (Moire Brennan is Enya’s sister), Most classical works, Scott Joplin rags, most St. Louis, Chicago, and New Orleans Jazz, David Arkenstone, The Travelling Wilburys (together and solo works),
    The Eagles (together and solo works), Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Well-played bagpipe music (It taps into my Irish/Scots blood), Men at Work (Where’s me Vegemite sandwich?!), Steely Dan (together and solo), , Dire Straits, Steve Winwood,
    …and on and on and… :-D

  13. @Any and all Skepchicks

    Your Afternoon Inquisitions are easily the best feature you have come up with recently.

    I look forward to a light hearted chat once a day,

    Even though no one is supposed to expect
    ” The Afternoon Inquisition!!! ”
    (Cue grand entrance)

  14. I feel so gifted of being able to appreciate songs in Spanish that you wouldn’t dream of, like “The Pitagoras Theorem” (Les Luthiers).

    Anyway, I gave up years ago trying to identify just one song, so here are two favorites:

    “She left me for Jesus” – Hayes Caryll
    “Yakko’s universe” – Animaniacs

    Dead serious.

  15. London Calling, by The Clash. It is skeptic-y insofar as it is mocking the doomsday headlines of the British tabloids.

    Trilobite by Robyn Hitchcock. Mostly for the way he introduced it at the Mercury Lounge in NYC when I saw him there, oh, ten or so years ago. He just thought it was funny that we get to give names to creatures we’ve never actually met. The trilobite in the song is named Dwight, but he can’t tell anybody that, so he has to be called a trilobite. Yeah, anthropomorphising of the worst kind, but hey, it’s Hitchcock.

  16. @JakeL: “can’t say I have a specific favourite song, but for sciencey/geeky anything with the digits of pi set to music.”

    Ya mean “Pi” by Kate Bush? That would be my favorite sci/math-related song. As for in general, I’m with a lot of people here – impossible to say, but at this very moment it’s :

  17. Oh, I’m sorry, I DO have a favorite all-time song,I forgot. It would be “Claire de Lune” by Claude Debussy.

    My bad. Oh, and that one song in “Amadeus” (one of the handful not by W.A.M.) toward the beginning when young Salieri is in church secretly praying for his father’s demise? It causes my skin to move around and contract like ghosts are massaging me. Then tears come out of my eyes.

  18. “Dirty Work” by Steely Dan, “That’s all For Everyone” by Fleetwood Mac, “Mountains of The Moon” by the Dead, “For the Love Of God” by Steve Vai (I know, hardy har, but seriously, it rules)…I will stop now.

  19. Wow…too many to identify. I was going to say it changes daily, but I really think it’s more like hourly.
    In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel
    Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush
    Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding – Elton John
    Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles
    And way too many more to list.

  20. I write my own music, and I would say “Geonosian Advance” is probably my best work. It’s the most complex and professional-sounding. But you probably meant someone else’s music.

    So I’ll have to say “live at the sundance music festival” by badloop and recue. It’s certainly gotten the most plays on my iPod… which is saying a lot for an hour-long track. But you probably meant music with words.

    So I’ll have to say “Me, I’m Not” by Nine Inch Nails. Man I love that track. But you probably meant music I wouldn’t mind my mother listening to.

    So I’ll have to say “Butterflies” by Toad the Wet Sprocket. Not really sciency or skeptical (though collecting butterflies should be considered science), but I think it expresses an appreciation for nature, and it’s clearly snarky about close-minded hicks.

  21. If forced to choose just one, it’s MOONDANCE by the great Van Morrison.

    For mushy sentimentality, it’s Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World, because I played it for both of my sons when they came home from the hospital as a newborn. I wanted to start them out on an optimistic note and Armstrong is simply great. My feeling was that they could acquire cynicism in due time, as they evolved.

    Second mushy, sentimental song: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, again by Van Morrison. That one’s for my wife.

    Beach Song: Sloop John B, Beachboys.

    Rap: Stan by Eminem.

    Metal: D’Yer Mak’er by Led Zepplin.

    Young man angst song: Todd Rungren’s We Gotta Get You a Woman.

    Teenage Rebellion: We’re Not Gonna Take it by Twisted Sister

    Rock with a touch of Classical: Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody

    Alternative: Gogol Bordello’s Start Wearing Purple or Through The Roof n’ Undergoround

    But ask me on another day and I’ll probably tell you something different … except for Moondance. :)

  22. That’s an interesting question… Any answer I give would probably be misleading, since I’m about 80% metal-head, but relatively few of the thing I’d consider my “favorites” fall into that category.

    Much as I like sciencey and geeky music, few of those qualify either, really.

    Best song ever written: “Here Comes the Sun” George Harrison hands down, no contest, no other contenders in sight.

    Rystefn’s personal favorite song: “Aroania” by E Muzeki

    Close second on both counts: “Fur Elise” by Beethoven

  23. There are tens of great songs that could be considered favorite songs, from a wide range of categories. Everything from “Finlandia” by Jean Sibelius to “Still Loving You” by Scorpions

    But my all time favorite is Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”

  24. I really cannot nominate any particular song, as I love anything that’s not rap or self-indulgent But from a ‘skeptical’ POV, I love “The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum” (especially the remix).

    Dang it PopeCoyote, you beat me to it! Geekiness would be well covered by Tom Lehrer’s (?)rendition of the periodic table to the Tune of G and S’s Modern Major General. You can see a hawsome animated version here http://www.privatehand.com/flash/elements.html

    Ah Mr Lehrer, poisoning pigeons in the park!!

  25. It would be quite impossible for me to pick a favorite song, or even make a list of favorite songs, because there are so many. But in general, almost anything by Yoko Kanno or Hitoshi Sakimoto would rank very high on my list.

  26. One favourite song? Oh dear…

    I thing I have to do as many others have done, and list some of my all-time favourites. ;)

    Demons and Wizards – Fiddler on the Green
    W.A.S.P. – Hallowed Ground
    Blind Guardian – Nightfall
    Barber’s Adagio
    Apocalyptica – Bittersweet
    Apocalyptica – Farewell
    Carl Orff – O Fortuna

    Think that’ll do for now.

    No, not quite done…
    Favourite atheism (oh, all right: agnosticism ;)) song: John Lennon – Imagine
    Favourite science song – Portal – Still Alive. :D

  27. Oh MAN…Thank you guys so much for cluing me into some really awesome songs!

    @ Solitas: Oh I LOVE Apocalyptica! I particularly love Bittersweet because it has the lead singer from The Rasmus… and I love that guy’s voice.

    Also, for Marching Band this year, we are playing O Fortuna as the opening song…followed by Dvorak’s New World Symphony. Not gonna lie…our repetoire this year is impressive.

    … also!! Our next show that we will be playing selections by Earth, Wind, and Fire.

    …AND…we are also going to be performing at this year’s Macy’s Day Parade!! Watch for the Marching Royal Dukes on TV!

    *coughshamelessplugcough*

  28. Ah!! Late entry:

    My children have requested the “Boom De Ada” promo for Discovery channel be put up as the best geek song.

    Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch and Future Weapons very much get the lions share of kiddy TV (along with Avatar and uuuurrrkkkk SpongeBob Square Pants).

    Matthew (almost 9) will frequently pipe up with “The world is an awesome place, isn’t it Mum!” Both he and Gracie (7) love the fact that science is being promoted as ‘cool’, something which we SO actively encourage…

  29. Like others, my tastes and favorites shift all over the place, often from day to day.

    And since don’t believe in the concept of an absolute favorite song, I must list several…

    Opeth – The Grand Conjuration
    MOFRO – Brighter Days
    Clutch – The Incomparable Mr. Flannery
    Shane MacGowan and the Popes – B&I Ferry*
    Steely Dan – Kid Charlemagne
    Black Label Society – 13 Years of Grief
    God Forbid – The End of the World
    Liquid Tension Experiment – Biaxident
    Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – Hawai’i ’78
    Primus – Over the Electric Grapevine

    And an obligatory mention of Mike Patton, since he’s probably the most underrated singer alive…

    Mr. Bungle – Stubb (A Dubb)
    Faith No More – Be Aggressive
    Faith No More – Just a Man
    Faith No More – Stripsearch
    Peeping Tom – Mojo
    Tomahawk – God Hates a Coward

    *Irish Reggae. Seriously.

  30. “Tempus Fugit,” by Yes. It’s on the Drama album. Mind you, there are a LOT of songs I adore, but this one has consistently been at or near the top of my “must tell other people about” list for years.

    ~Wordplayer

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