I heard a 2006 Jon Brion interview today in which the composer recalls his first impression of Nirvana’s “Lithium”:
I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard “Lithium”: back of a friend’s car, it came on, and…I just freaked out. I mean, I was nearly in tears. […] It’s absolutely as good as Gershwin or Thelonious Monk.
That got me thinking about songs that left a memorable impression on me the first time I heard them.
For many of the songs, my first listen was also an introduction to an album and artist I’d eventually love (Belle & Sebastian’s “Get Me Away from Here, I’m Dying”, The xx’s “Crystalised”, Youth Lagoon’s “17”). Others, I marveled at the sound or composition, as it was like nothing I’ve heard before up to that point (“Airbag”, “Runaway”, “Royals”). All of them, I remember exactly where I was. Sadly, you can only hear a song for the first time once. These ones were special.
- “Get Me Away from Here, I’m Dying” by Belle & Sebastian
- “Airbag” by Radiohead
- “Shelter Two” by The Evens
- “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel
- “I’ve Got Your Number” by Passion Pit
- “Crystalised” by The xx
- “Runaway” by Kanye West, Pusha T
- “17” by Youth Lagoon
- “Royals” by Lorde
- “Adorn” by Miguel
- “Falling” by HAIM
- “Planez” by Jeremih, J. Cole