Here's the new list. I'm noting which ones are holdovers and sketching why the new ones have been added.
- Enya's Watermark is a lovely and restful interlude, which I believe is exactly what she was aiming for.
- Bridge Over Troubled Water is a holdover. It's one of my beacons of hope.
- The Eagles were always at their best when the song was downbeat, both lyrically and in tempo. After the Thrill is Gone fits the bill on both those counts. Glenn Frey and Don Henley share lead vocals, and the instrumental arrangement, especially the steel guitar, heightens the lonely emotional affect. This is a seriously melancholy song, which really fit me when I was a teenager, and it's now a reminder of who I was, of where my life has taken me.
- John Fogerty's Centerfield is a celebration of playing for love of the game.
- Tattoos and Scars is about the difference between choosing to mark yourself and accepting that life is going to leave its mark on you, between acting like you have experience and actually having it. Listening to Montgomery Gentry singing "You've been around but you're still green" is an act of grace in and of itself.
- When You Come Back Down is a holdover. I'd like to think I'm someone's solid ground.
- The Lucky One is an ode to a happy-go-lucky guy, and Alison Krauss' wistful vocal captures the character of the song perfectly...To you, the next best thing to playing and winning is playing and losing...
- Anything But Mine is a holdover. I never tire of its Hillbilly Rockstar vibe.
- Waitin' On A Woman has been my favorite Brad Paisley song for quite a while, because it captures a lot of my relationship with my wife Lisa. Sorry, honey, but remember how the song ends: When it finally comes my time, and I get to the other side, I'll find myself a bench, if they have any. I hope she takes her time, cause I don't mind, waitin' on a woman. Honey, take your time, cause I don't mind, waitin' on a woman. I waited on you, my woman, most of my life, and it's been the most worthwhile thing in the world.
The video, with Andy Griffith as the old man, is just rich, creamy icing on the cake.
- Nothing characterizes the human spirit better than sheer cussed persistence. I know of no other song that captures this like Sugarland's Stand Back Up. It's a gorgeous number, and it means all the more because it's a quiet, simple declaration that the singer will be pushed only so far and not one bit further.
- Faint of Heart is a holdover, and it's a master class from Vince Gill and Diana Krall on just how intensely passion can be expressed through restraint.
- All of the songs in this list so far are supremely melodic, mid or slow tempo, and while often musically virtuosic, definitely on the quiet side. It seemed appropriate to end a bit more raucously with 38 Special's Wild Eyed Southern Boys.