Nearly two weeks ago, I turned 40. That milestone naturally prompted some nostalgia. To me, nothing evokes the past more than the music of days gone by. Accordingly, about forty days before my birthday, I took to Facebook and posted one song per day for each year that I’ve lived. Using the hashtag #40Songs40Days40Years, I offered a bit of commentary on each song (an example of which you can find in the screenshot above). I timed the project such that I would post my final selection – a song from  this year, 2015 – on my actual birthday in mid-December. Today, on the last day of the year, I’ve assembled a list of all of the songs in one place.

For each year, I scoured the contents of my iTunes library and record collection for the perfect choice. For many years, I easily identified the perfect song (usually one which I remembered fondly or which I felt perfectly captured the spirit of that particular year). Other years proved far more difficult, particularly the dreaded 2013. Throughout the endeavor, I was ever mindful of the words of Rob Gordon, the character played by John Cusack in High Fidelity, who analogously remarked in that film:

. . . [T]he making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do’s and don’ts. First of all, you ‘re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.

Wise words. Thus, I established some rules for the project. I followed most of them (including the very strict requirement that only one song could appear per year, making the choice for 1991 an extraordinary dilemma). I did, however, break the self-imposed rule that a particular band could only appear once on the list. In the end, I even created a three hour Spotify playlist collecting all of the songs I chose (which I hope you will enjoy).

Without further ado, the complete #40Songs40Days40Years list is below.

The 1970’s

  • “Thunder Road,” by Bruce Springsteen, from the album Born To Run (Columbia Records, 1975).
  • “Blitzkrieg Bop,” by the Ramones, from the album Ramones (Sire, 1976).
  • “Heroes,” by David Bowie, from the album “Heroes” (RCA, 1977).
  • “Radio, Radio,” by Elvis Costello, from the album This Year’s Model (Radar, 1978).
  • “Suspect Device,” by Stiff Little Fingers, from the album Inflammable Material (Rough Trade, 1979).

The 1980’s

  • “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” by Joy Division, from the single of the same name (Factory, 1980).
  • “Ceremony,” by New Order, from the single of the same name (Factory, 1981).
  • “Tell Me When It’s Over,” by The Dream Syndicate, from the album The Days of Wine and Roses (Ruby Records/Slash, 1982).
  • “Kiss Off,” by Violent Femmes, from the album Violent Femmes (Slash, 1983).
  • “The Killing Moon,” by Echo & The Bunnymen, from the album Ocean Rain (Korova, 1984).
  • “Bastards of Young,” by The Replacements, from the album Tim (Sire, 1985).
  • “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out,” by The Smiths, from the album The Queen Is Dead (Rough Trade, 1986).
  • “Where The Streets Have No Name,” by U2, from the album The Joshua Tree (Island, 1987).
  • “Where Is My Mind?” by the Pixies, from the album Surfer Rosa (4AD, 1988).
  • “Strange,” by Galaxie 500, from the album On Fire (Rough Trade, 1989).

The 1990’s

  • “Candy,” by Iggy Pop, from the album Brick by Brick (Virgin, 1990).
  • “Black,” by Pearl Jam, from the album Ten (Epic, 1991).
  • “Sweetness Follows,” by R.E.M., from the album Automatic for the People (Warner Bros., 1992).
  • “Soma,” by Smashing Pumpkins, from the album Siamese Dream (Virgin, 1993).
  • “Pay No Mind (Snoozer),” by Beck, from the album Mellow Gold (DGC, 1994).
  • “Fake Plastic Trees,” by Radiohead, from the album The Bends (Capitol Records, 1995).
  • “Don’t Look Back In Anger,” by Oasis, from the single of the same name (Creation, 1996).
  • “No Surprises,” by Radiohead, from the album OK Computer (Capitol Records, 1997).
  • “Oh, Comely,” by Neutral Milk Hotel, from the album In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (Merge Records, 1998).
  • “Wise Up,” by Aimee Mann, from the original motion picture soundtrack to the film, Magnolia (Warner Music, 1999).

The 2000’s

  • “The Night,” by Morphine, from the album The Night (DreamWorks Records, 2000).
  • “Fell In Love With A Girl,” by The White Stripes, from the album White Blood Cells (Sympathy, 2001).
  • “Dear Chicago,” by Ryan Adams, from the album Demolition (Lost Highway, 2002).
  • “Maps,” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, from the album Fever To Tell (Interscope, 2003).
  • “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels),” by Arcade Fire, from the album Funeral (Merge, 2004).
  • “Mr. November,” by The National, from the album Alligator (Beggars Banquet, 2005).
  • “The Funeral,” by Band of Horses, from the album Everything All The Time (Sub Pop, 2006).
  • “Intervention,” by Arcade Fire, from the album Neon Bible (Merge, 2007).
  • “For Today,” by Jessica Lea Mayfield, from the album With Blasphemy So Heartfelt (Polymer Records, 2008).
  • “You and I,” by Wilco, from the album Wilco (The Album) (Nonesuch, 2009).

The 2010’s

  • “I Think Ur A Contra,” by Vampire Weekend, from the album Contra (XL, 2010).
  • “If It’s Alive, I Will,” by Angel Olsen, from the album Strange Cacti (Bathetic Records, 2011).
  • “Continuous Thunder,” by Japandroids, from the album Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl Record Co., 2012).
  • “Spring Break (Birthday Song),” by Ex Cops, from the album True Hallucinations (Other Music Recording Co., 2013).
  • “Archie, Marry Me,” by Alvvays, from the album Alvvays (Polyvinyl Records, 2014).
  • “The Only Thing Worth Fighting For,” by Lera Lynn, from the digital single of the same name (Harvest Records, 2015).

3 thoughts on “#40Songs40Days40Years

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